Day 66(6)

To Do

Do you have a To-Do List? If so, my strong advice is that you rip it up immediately.  In fact, put that at number 1 on your list. Not only is the act of actually writing out such a list a waste of your valueless time, the finished product can then be used in evidence against you, in a court of law in extremis, but also, and more dangerously and with more potential detriment to your mental health and well-being, in the court of matrimonial nagging. This last court sits at irregular times, but usually can be relied upon to make an appearance between the second and third glass of wine. Wee hint here for the men watching: try as hard as you can to hurry your wife through her third glass of wine and into the happy stage; those twenty minutes between her finishing the second one and deciding to set the World to rights while sipping at the third one, but doing too much talking to actually make any headway into the wine, are dangerous territory for you, and it is vital that you shorten the time she spends there. Use force-feeding if necessary.

My use of the terms ‘mental health’ and ‘well-being’ up there should be understood ironically, of course. I had no idea just how psychotic my employer deemed all its employees to be until the start of this Kerfuffle when we all upped sticks from the building we used to be encased in and started working from home. Excuse me for a minute here while I address those viewers who can speak Irish on a matter of linguistic urgency. Make a cup of coffee or something.

Anois, a fheara agus a bhean beir leat mo léine, cad é an frása a thagann chun cinn daoibhse lena chur in iúl nach in oifig lárnach a bheidh sibh ag obair inniu ach fá scread asail do bhur dtinteán féin? Déanaigí dearmad ar a bhfuil in NEID agus in FGB, le bhur dtoil, agus ná gabhaigí a chuartú Dineen ach oiread – i bhfad uainn an drochrud! Is minice ná a mhalairt a chluinim ó mo chomhghleacaithe leithéid, “Beidh mé ag obair ón bhaile amárach.” Ní túisce na focail sin as a mbéal, áfach, ná an cheist seo ó mo bhéal féin: cá fhad ón bhaile a bheidh tú ag obair, agus cá háit, go díreach? Agus bheadh ceist ar aon dul leis an cheann sin uaim dá ndéarfaidís gur ‘as baile’ a bheidís ag obair. Sa bhaile, nó ag baile, a bheidh an té ag obair. Imigí agus déanaigí amhlaidh.

That’s that cleared up, buíochas le Dia. Yeah, from the amount of emails on the subject of mental health during lockdown spamming my way from the Human Resources Department of my employer, one could not fail to get the impression that they consider we are all potential mentalists and constantly on the brink of losing it because of a few weeks not turning up in a central building at designated hours to complete our completely unnecessary and bureaucratic tasks. Or maybe the Human Resources Department has that opinion of us all the time, and when we all used to be herded into the work-pen, they were keeping us all under 9-5 surveillance because they thought we all might flip over the mental age at any point? Or maybe, just maybe – and stay with me on this one – the Human Resources Department has nothing to do, never has anything to do and should not actually exist at all apart from hiring and firing duties?

Because when they are not spamming me about mental health, they are spamming me about the latest crackpot, snake-oil con-job that is well-being. This seems now to have overtaken Mindfulness (please!) as the sine qua non of middle-class hobbies in the Western World (most of which is in the East, as I have pointed out before). And, no, I have no idea either why I am being so kind to our Latinly-challenged brethren this morning with all these free links instead of making them do their own research: maybe I got out of the wrong side of the bed today because yer woman was not in it again hogging all the good bits? Both well-being and mental health are to be properly classed as First World Problems, that is, not problems at all. Have you ever heard of any starving Ethiopians who were concerned about the detrimental effects on their mental health and well-being of the fact that they are starving to death in the latest capitalist-induced famine in their country? Come to think of it, have you ever heard of a lactose-intolerant Ethiopian?

Man: the only mammal to have developed one of its organs beyond his capacity to control it. But it is actually possible to control your brain: all it takes is a bit of work, and a good guru. For the special knockdown lockdown price of £14.97, I will send you my pamphlet on the subject, and then you can laugh in the face of mental health and well-being like the rest of us enlightened one(s). And, by the way, HumanResourceHeads, I am not now and never have been, a ‘human resource’: for a start, I am from Pluto, and for an end, I am a free man, not a resource for my employer to use up like a pen, or something.

But back to that to-do list. I actually do have a long list of things I have to do, but I never write it down, and I never do them. Often I will retrieve the list from the left-upper recess of my massive cranium where I store it for administrative purposes and examine the items on it one by one, as that is the only safe way of examining them. More often, this examination will leave me so knackered that it will be my only achievement that day, and will, more often than not, induce an immediate siesta followed by an afternoon nap and an early night. Occasionally, other inhabitants of the hacienda attempt to add to my private list, but, as it is a mental list, I brusquely invite them to get the fruck out of my personal head and close the door after them. At other times, they will gently enquire about one of the items they have been informed is actually on the list and that they have a personal interest in. Unfortunately for them, and for the task in question, this results in the task moving from whatever hypothetical position of priority it held on the list and going right to the bottom of the list, there to attempt to work itself up into a position where it actually features in any of my ruminations about the things I am not going to do that day. The residents have been informed countless times about this rule, but they never seem to remember it. Maybe they should write out a To-Do List and enscribe in their own blood at Number 1: Do not mention any of the things yer man said he would do sometime. That would keep everybody happy, in good mental health and well-beed.

Clothes? Tattered, Arthur Dent dressing gown all day until I have to get properly showered and dressed for the white tie event I am being forced to attend tonight.

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