Q: When is bullying not really bullying?
A: When it's being done FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!
This is a philosophy with which I'm painfully familiar. Blame seven years spent in a girls' boarding school in the 1970s.
Every so often one would encounter a fellow pupil, sometimes but by no means always older than oneself, who would feel morally obliged to point out in a spirit of concerned frankness that one was a fat, useless, boss-eyed freak. This information was offered merely in a spirit of concern that without intervention this state of fat, useless, boss-eyed freakiness would extend to adulthood. However, armed with the knowledge of one's mental, physical and spiritual inferiority one might feel moved to effect improvements.
This is pretty much what one might expect of a group of bitchy teenage girls. Yet this week cancer campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood revealed that she has begun to approach lardies in the street and ask them whether they are aware that their vast bulk will shorten their lives by 10 years. I am loath to have too much of a go at the otherwise wholly admirable Faulds Wood, but there is something of the school prefect about her and I can well imagine her treading the streets of Edinburgh or Glasgow to upbraid innocent passers-by with her brisk schtick.
My first thought was that she had chosen her victims carefully. My experience of my fellow lardies is that we are generally quite a meek and shame-faced bunch, ground down by a lifetime of being bullied at school and thereafter absorbing quite horrific abuse from family members, ersatz friends and various members of the medical profession, not to mention the constant bombardment of unattainable – or at least unsustainable - media images. No doubt Faulds Wood considers us to be a burden on the NHS, but most lardies that I know (myself included) would sooner die quietly at home than go to a doctor's surgery. One specialist to whom I was referred in the 1980s (for a suspected kidney infection, in case you're wondering) suggested that I seriously consider a stomach-stapling operation, a procedure which at that time had already resulted in the deaths of several women by septicaemia. When I pointed out its dangers he said, “But surely it would be better to be dead than to look the way you do.”
So, Faulds Wood, I know your game. You are picking on the already ground-down and dispirited rather than tackling people whose lifestyles really are harming their communities. I note that she is not promising to hang out with street gangs in South-East London to warn them of the folly of using guns and knives, or approaching lairy teenage girls falling out of pubs and suggesting that they give up the booze that could well result in chlamydia, unwanted pregnancies and exploding livers by the age of 30. Why doesn't she spend her time sorting out the drug addicts that keep local dealers busy and also do a roaring trade for the neighbourhood pimp, whose “girls” are obliged to sell themselves to pay for their heroin habits? This would really be doing a valuable service. I could also name scores of families whose lives have been ruined by the troops of feral youths that roam inner-city areas and create havoc. What about rounding them up?
The truth is that Faulds Wood's cojones ain't that big. She might have the chutzpah to collar Tracy Turnblad, but I bet she would blanch at the thought of bearding Wayne and Waynetta Slob.
On a more positive note I think that this is a campaign that we could all join; just choose your special interest group and start doorstepping. I'm thinking of tackling the appalling problem of mingers on the street. I'll hang around until I see someone who looks like Jimmy Nail or Mick Hucknall, then I'll go up to them and say, “Did you know that with looks like yours you could probably get cosmetic surgery on the NHS?”
So here's my challenge: why not come to Estepona, Lynn? I can promise you that if you try any of your evangelical crap with me I'll cut your life short by considerably more than 10 years.