“So let us instruct you in the art of vengeance.
Vengeance should never be seen as that.
It should always be unexpected
And it should rarely be public
Vengeance is patient.
It can wait a lifetime if necessary.”
From the TV series “The Borgias” starring Jeremy Irons; Season 2, Episode 4: Stray Dogs
In the famous study by Walter Mischel from the 1960s, kids left alone in a room to contemplate the yummy prospect of the single marshmallow placed in front of them were promised two marshmallows if they could wait until an adult returned to the room before eating. The children who waited patiently were later found to have achieved higher exam scores and to have earned higher salaries blah blah blah and by extrapolation I suspect to have been happier and more fulfilled than the kids who took to their gastric pleasures instantly.
So, is this a trusted principle for living? Waiting. Patience. Delayed gratification. The right bus. The right job. The right love. The right word. The right home. Does life promise rewards such as our dreams? At least in the study cited above the kids knew they would have their extra marshmallow. But in life we simply do not know for certain that the reward we have dreamed will be ours. What we do know is that the pleasure that we do see is in the here and now. And it is oh so easy to reach out and partake of the dopamine that awaits the brain. Afterall, a bird in hand …
But if the waiting itself could be made pleasurable, the journey and not the destination, then a whole new ball game opens up. Labour rather than delivery could become a raison d’etre. It’s like the high that comes after a good workout session even though you had not wanted the sweaty grind in the first place. And if one should die before the prize is given it wouldn’t matter in the least for the fun was in the doing and not in the getting. But perhaps I am, like The Borgias, being too dramatic and the wreath of gold waiting at the limit of our forbearance is like a chimaera, a mirage, a phantasm, an illusion. There is just one way to find out.
Daytime television as seen on Jeremy Kyle
(Look away now for I am going to be politically incorrect)
Black father attempts to reunite with his three estranged children. He abandoned them 20 years ago, reconciled and then abandoned them again. Man was high on something. Children are visibly upset but the man, being highly strung, kept interrupting them, telling them to shut up while he was talking because he’s their father. The disciplinarian. Yes, he was an ass. He wouldn’t shut up and listen to his distraught children.
Two enormous black hogs – one the mother, the other the daughter. Daughter craves to be loved as she is. Mother’s having none of that. She’s screaming at daughter: you’re too fat, you keep eating, you can’t get a man, on and on. Can’t stop the bitch if you slapped her. Yes but mother you’re not just fat, you’re grotesque. If you really love your daughter set an example. But no, piggy knew best.
That set me thinking why people go on national television to wash their filthy laundry. A problem that cannot be solved in private is not going to be solved on telly screaming abuse at each other. Or is it – do they get paid for this? [Why was I watching this? I was on the treadmill at the gym and subtitles was on]. Later that night I was Maximus Interruptor during an engaging conversation with friends. I had a point to make you know. The other guy kept asking me to let him finish. I bit my lip. The thought was gone. It’s not so easy to just shut up and let someone else speak. Yes, but … can you let me finish …ok, but … aw, shut up!