Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Perversion of the Law of Supply and Demand

My younger brother who knows a fair bit about economics and finance and government spending etc. has said to me on a few occasions when he and I have witnessed some anti-social or stupid behaviour: "There is one thing that defies the Law of Supply and Demand: idiots. There is no demand for idiots and yet there is an over-supply."

Sadly, I often have occasion to recall this sage observation in the suburb in which I live.

Last Sunday morning, while most if not all of our street's residents were fast asleep, at 5am we were awoken by a drunken argument on the footpath outside our house. It seems that the very loud participants in this argument had a very limited vocabulary. Most of their sentences revolved around that sturdy Anglo-Saxon expletive: "Fuck". Or variations thereon. The word that can be used in service of the noun, the verb, the adverb and the adjective. A handy word at times, I'll grant you, but not at 5am!

My two primary school aged children were awoken from their pleasant dreams by this unpleasant rant. The word is not foreign to them, it rings out in many a playground, but they too didn't want to hear it at 5am!

As it happened that same morning I had decided to go for what is known in surfing slang as a "dawnie". I knew there would be waves and I wanted to get into them before the onshore wind got up and turned them into a white washing machine.

At first light, I paddled out and enjoyed a solid 3 to 4 feet swell with a light offshore grooming the faces of the waves to a smooth perfection. A good surf will always fill me up with the milk of human kindness and so it was that the 5am morons were pushed to a distant recess of my memory.

After a couple of hours, I came in, sated by my fill of waves. When I went to rinse the sand off me and my surfboard under one of the Council-provided outdoor showers, I discovered that some of my charming fellow citizens had smashed beer bottles all over the concrete. I had to gingerly make my way to the shower, stepping around the shards of glass. The amount of broken glass indicated it was more than one bottle that they had smashed.

I don't suppose these idiots experience empathy or fellow-feeling because when they vandalise and destroy and pollute public spaces, the people they hurt most are the ordinary citizens just trying to live their lives as best they can. If they think they are striking a blow against "The Man" or some such pseudo-revolutionary drivel, they are sadly mistaken.

Anyone short of idiots where they live? Supply running low? No, I didn't think so.

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