Last night I watched a bit of a programme about the illegal trade in body parts (as you do) and G phoned me while the programme was on and I mentioned I was watching it. G said “I was just wondering… which of my body parts would you want to keep if I was dead”. “Er…” I replied and decided that this would not be the moment to say “well, as you’d be a decomposing corpse, I’m not sure I’d be desperate to hang on to any of your body parts”. After a quick calculation I decided that saying I would keep G’s hands was the most appropriate response – but then said “but to be honest you would actually be dead, so I could so any body part that I liked and in reality keep none of them”. Somehow, I think the authorities would generally frown upon people retaining body parts.
I’m reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult at the moment, which is quite good. It’s about a US high school shooting and its aftermath. Kind of morbid reading I suppose but a fairly speedy (but lengthy) read. It has made me think back to my time at school and to be honest, I can’t really remember much by way of bullying or name calling or other such things at school. There were some people who were really popular, but on the whole they were also pretty nice and I don’t really remember there being this massive hierarchy at school of people who were popular and those that weren’t. I’m sure some people felt left out, but that was probably more due to academic ability rather than anything else. Maybe the years have changed my perception because I know that I certainly didn’t like school and wouldn’t ever want to go back, but I made some good friends at school and when I went to a school reunions a few years ago it was just nice to catch up with a few people.
Having said that, I know that there is horrible bullying that goes on and that some people have a horrible time at school that was just unbearable. The boy who carried out the shooting in the book was a big ball of rage because no-one would listen to him and he was the butt of everyone’s jokes and left out of everything. Sometimes you forget how horrible (some) teenagers can be and how they can pick up on the most insignificant things and make someone’s life a misery over it. I suppose the book has made me think that if you take away someone’s voice (whatever age they are) that sometimes they find new and more extreme ways to express it and you cannot always predict what that will be. I sometimes think that if we just gave people the opportunity to say what is on their mind, to be heard, that there would be a lot less pain and frustration in this world. But then we also have to make the time to listen and I’m not sure that people are always willing to do that. I read somewhere a while ago that in a conversation instead of listening to what they are saying, we are actually thinking about our own response. So instead of focussing on them, we are instead thinking about ourselves and what we are going to say next. I guess maybe that’s human nature, but maybe we should just try and listen a bit more.