Risk is Part of Life

It seems that the police in Norwich – bless ‘em – have spoken severely to a teenager for going round the suburbs in a 17th century plague doctor’s mask, like a huge crow’s head and a long black cloak.

Citizens are said to have claimed he was frightening people. I can understand that very young children might be a little worried, but adults – surely not?

After all, people have been photographed wearing diving gear instead of facemasks in supermarkets and let’s at least try to inject a wee bit of humour into the sad hysteria of what currently passes as normal life in Britain.

Mind you, it is interesting to note that our new state militia think it’s a matter for them. Is it the law that only the Government are allowed to frighten people? 

And is the thing they fear most of all that we might laugh at them? I used to enjoy watching the evening news on BBC but the programme would now be laughable if it was not so pathetic and I certainly won’t watch the ‘bug briefing’ that takes place for interminable hours just before it. It does give me time to enjoy the garden in Spring sunshine but I really do feel that the Media in general have gone overboard in their desire to frighten us all out of our wits.

Because let’s face it, from the moment we take our first breath, death – or the prospect of death – sits on our shoulders. Yet we don’t let it stop us from living normally. We ride bikes, climb trees, smoke, drink, swim in the sea, drive cars, talk to strangers. And most of the time we get away with it.

Life is all a bit of a gamble and part of growing up is learning to balance the potential for gainful living against the prospect of disaster.

Coronavirus has changed all that. Faced with this threat, we have responded by trying to eliminate all risk from our lives. The elderly (that includes myself) and vulnerable have been told to imprison themselves indefinitely. Children have been taken out of schools, the economy has been shut down, life has been put on hold. Fear is a prison of the mind, and we are all behind bars.

I can vaguely understand the reasoning behind this. Stay home, save lives, protect the NHS. That was the original government mantra and to do anything else would probably – by no means certainly – have resulted in a far greater death toll. But it is not and cannot become ‘the new norm’ damnit! Unless the government is prepared to accept complete financial, cultural and social ruin, we the ordinary people have to be allowed to re-acquaint ourselves with risk.

Let’s face it risk and man’s willingness to undertake it is the source of some of humanity’s greatest achievements.

From the electric light to the Moon landings, via almost every technological and medical advance you can think of, risk lies at the root. Risk is inherent in our greatest works of fashion, art, music and literature, expressions of our human desire to push boundaries in pursuit of discovery.

To be alive is to confront risk. To be really alive is to push one’s boundaries to the limit. If no one ever left their home or entered a place of work without a hundred per cent assurance of safety, no one would go anywhere and the world would be a very boring place to be.

Of course, there is a difference between diving into obvious danger and taking a managed risk, but surely it is time to start living again. Slowly, cautiously and with every precaution we must get on with our lives because none of us can cheat death. It is there on our shoulders throughout our lives so surely we must try and enjoy every moment that we are still alive. After a while, locking ourselves away takes away the will to live and the future for all of us seems horribly bleak. Man is a social animal and even loners like me need to occasionally meet up with our friends and family. We need our own chunks of normality back.

What we must have now from Bunter Johnson and his squabbling, buck-passing team of no hopers is a simple message advising us all, young and old alike to use our common sense. Yes, we must shield those with health conditions or other frailties but otherwise let us do whatever we can to get life back to normal and get the country moving again.

This general negativity has gone on far too long and we are all suffering now.

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