Sunday, 17 February 2013

Different

We are all different. Now, you've read that first sentence and accepted it. Little do you realise that you probably disagree with it. How do I know this? From an experience I had when I admitted that I don't like live concerts. Instantly I was labelled as odd. I wasn't entitled to that opinion without being ridiculed, despite me explaining my reasons. Well, I don't care, I'm different and I'm okay with that.

I don't like live concerts.
I have been to quite a few concerts. The concerts have ranged to smaller venues, for bands like Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy, to huge arenas, for Metallica and Beastie Boys. Now I am not a huge music fan but when I like a song, I want it to sound good, not raw. I find a studio recording, listened to in the comfort of my car to be more enjoyable than listening to the ropey performance on a stage, as members of the audience inadvertently assault me by being overly exuberant. I get that people prefer the live concert because of the experience but I haven't enjoyed a single live concert I've been to.

I don't like dancing.
I used to dance all the time. This was because when I was young, I found dancing awkward and people would see it as their goal to bully me out of my seat and onto the dance floor. I danced for years, thinking that everyone else did it, so I would. It was only when I looked at it in retrospect that I realised that I never enjoyed it. I just did it to fit in. I realised how little I thought of myself that I would rather do something I hated instead of standing up for myself. So now, I just decline when people ask me to dance. When they nag, I respond in a similarly rude way. I have asked people why they enjoy dancing but no one has given me a good answer. I appreciate dancing as a great art when done by genuinely talented people but otherwise, I find it stupid.

I don't like cake.
I'll eat it at a push but I find the fluffy consistency to be really odd. It's like I am eating a cloud! Give me cheese on toast or crisps over cake any day.

I don't like travelling.
I have been to various countries in Europe, Africa and America. I've seen many sights, from the Statue of Liberty to Table Mountain. Yet, it wasn't the scenery that interested me. It was the company. Every holiday I've been on, I was more glad to be home than excited to go on holiday. For years now, I have stayed home for my holidays, enjoying long lie ins, DVD days and days out. I have found them to be less stressful, cheaper and safer. 

I don't like pets.
I'm not allergic to them. I just find them an irritation, a financial burden that offer nothing but decoration. I don't know why people get attached to animals. People have told me that they like having a dog because it is an excuse to go walking regularly. How weak is their willpower?! Cats, fish, hamsters, even Tamagotchis leave me cold and I find them pointless.

I list those five to illustrate my initial point. At the beginning, I said that we are all different. You accepted it but I would bet that you've read one of those five points and thought I was an idiot for having that opinion. You've seen my reasoning and dismissed it, probably citing that it is a stupid excuse. Why? I may not like those things but I wouldn't stop someone else doing them. If you really believe everyone is different, you'll also believe that people are entitled to their opinion. Difference isn't a sign of conflict. It is a sign of freedom, a sign of individuality and a sign that we value everyone for who they are. The world would be a less pleasant place if we weren't different, so don't destroy it.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Euthanasia - The Unspoken Argument

This is a highly sensitive topic. Taking a life, under any circumstances, is a horrendous thing to do, even if it is out of mercy. It is the end of a relationship, a connection and an experience that can never be replaced. So if you read this and take offence, I apologise but I do believe this should be said.

The arguments for and against euthanasia have been made very clear. Those who are for it consider it to be humane and respectful. Those who are against it thinks it endangers the sanctity of life and a law change would be open to abuse. However, there is an argument that has gone unspoken for too long.

That would be because those who would speak it are no longer with us. They are those who were ripped away from this world in an untimely manner. We all know of an incident where a loved one passed away in a tragic accident, freak medical incident or as the victim of a heinous crime. Now I am speculating but I venture that those who have passed away would gladly accept weeks, months, even years of pain and agony in exchange for a solitary thing. One more day with the people who matter.

I am not kidding myself that if I was suffering a huge amount of pain or was reduced to condition that I couldn't care for myself that I wouldn't want it to end. I'm a coward. I would want the escape. I'm sure I'm not alone in that but I'd also want the chance to tell my loved ones what they mean to me. I'd love to hear them tell me how much I mean to them. I'd want to hold their hand, give them a hug, I'd want all that. I'd want one more day.

I have seen a man gripped by dementia lovingly looked after by his wife. He may seem like he is gone but he is inside there and while he can't tell his wife how much she means to him, I get the feeling he treasures every day with her. Not by what he says or does because he can't any more. It is because I know the man before this awful disease entombed his mind.

Think about it. If you were about to be taken from this world in a flash and I offered you a year of pain for one more day with your loved ones, would you take it? Unfortunately fate doesn't make deals in such a clear cut manner. The unspoken argument against euthanasia is that why would you cut any life short, when those who have had to endure an untimely demise would gladly switch places with those who crave a scheduled end.