I think it’s time for a whinge: I’ve not blogged a whinge for a while. So here’s one I threw together a couple of days ago.

People aren’t attracted to me; they aren’t intimidated by me; they expect nothing from me. Realising this, I must choose who will control my life: will others, because I enslave myself to winning their respect and acceptance; or will I, because I refuse to allow my feelings of rejection to overcome my desire to reach my goals? When you feel that you’re unloved and a failure, it’s easy to choose the first. At the moment – another Friday night after dancing – I’m swaying between the two.

In a song by Phil Collins, Both sides of the story, a middle-class man strays into a ghetto, and is confronted by a youth with a firearm, who says, ‘Would you respect me if I didn’t have this gun? / Without it, I don’t get it [respect], and that’s why I carry one.’ In fact he would only get obedience, but not respect; although Niccolo Machiavelli would say that obedience was sufficient. If his writings are anything to go by, Machivelli’s ethics wouldn’t win him any awards for humanitarianism, but he knew that there were two ways to get people’s attention – by making them love you or fear you. ‘If you cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved.’ Considering he lived contemporary with the Borgias, no doubt he gained first-hand experience of the latter.

At the moment, I’m venting – doing what I do – and once I’m back to normal operating temperature, I’m more likely to choose wisely because I’ll see more clearly. Nonetheless, I’d still like to improve my skills with projectile weapons and unarmed combat. Being able to casually mention that I can put a bullet through a twelve-inch target from a kilometre away would be an ego boost. A maleficent one, but any port in a storm…

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