I was talking to a very close friend late last night, and she was incredibly upset. After hearing what was wrong, I felt so physically cross and mentally crabby I would have relished the opportunity to have a young Cassius Clay (or possibly Tony Abbott) materialise in front of me so that I could have a ding-dong punch up.
Make that definitely Tony Abbott. A Rumble In The Jungle is far more satisfying when it's against someone you actively feel would benefit from a good seven punch combo.
What was behind the reasoning for my rage? As often seems to happen, someone who had no personal knowledge of another individual - who was motivated by jealousy, or an inability to achieve, or simply that most destructive of all human behaviours - malice - had decided to make someone dear to me's life hell.
Because they could. And because they wanted to.
Why is this acceptable?
I can be nasty. I am not immune to having a bitch about others - if someone gives me the irrits, then yes, the temptation is always there to express said irrits in less than flattering terms.
See above re our current Prime Minister.
But I have never understood the need that some people seem to feel of taking down others they don't even know. I'm not talking about the lionising and then the destruction of celebrities who do 'the wrong thing' - or what the general public determines is the wrong thing, which in itself can be scary as hell. I'm talking about those individuals who feel they have a right to be careless with people's lives; without consequence and without conscience.
To ascribe feelings, thoughts and behaviour to someone whom you've never met - to actively state that they are 'this' person - it's just wrong.
'X is only going out with Y for their money/looks/position'.
'How do you know? Did they tell you?'
'No, I've never met them. I just know.'
This mysterious ability to reach inside another person's head is obviously something which security forces across the world should be tapping in on. Forget phone and interwebs screening, forget careful surveillance; just pick up a few of these superheroes and put them in front of your most wanted.
'Yep, he's a terrorist alright.'
'What are you basing that on? Psychological analysis? Predictive behaviour? Past actions?'
'Nope. I just don't like the look of them. And once someone who looked like him kicked my cat'.
Analysis through ignorance is one of the nastiest things we humans do. To impact on another person's life simply because you feel you have the right to say what you think about them - with no knowledge or understanding of who they are - no. Not acceptable.
I hope that every person who reads this has a great Sunday. That your day involves sunshine, and lazy brekky, and being with people you care about. And that maybe - just maybe - if someone says 'I heard this about X' and starts pulling them down, you don't just listen and nod, and maybe even repeat it, because you assume that they know what they're talking about.
Instead, give the gossip what it deserves.
That seven punch combo.