Thursday, 3 May 2018

Trolls


When I was little I remember hearing and then reading the story of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”. They had to cross a bridge to get to their grazing pasture. A troll lived under the bridge and wanted to eat them. The story, though a bit gory, was a message of good flouting evil as the troll was bested by the goats.

Trolls were normally pictured as weird, ugly, misshapen beings who wanted to eat everything in sight. They were prevalent in Norwegian fairy tales as far as I can remember.

Let us now take a step forward in history to the present day. As with a lot of things in life the computer age has taken over words and given them new meaning so why should the word “troll” escape?

In the fairy stories trolls were always pictured as mean, horrible creatures. In computers a troll is just that. It is a mean, horrible person who is looking for a fight.

A troll’s modus operandi is to visit social sites and post inflammatory comments to a post. The sole purpose of this seems to be to get a rise out of the followers of the post.

I’m sure you know some people like that. Many years ago a member of our social group would introduce a controversial topic with seemingly no agenda. As the conversation around the topic developed it usually became clear that all were united in their opinion either for or against. As soon as that happened this guy would fling in a comment that was the exact opposite of the common trend. His purpose? To get a rise out of the group, to cause disharmony while he sat back with a satisfied smile and watched the ensuing fiasco.

© Vera Alexander

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Cap


When I saw the title for today’s writing prompt I did not think of the cloth type. Being a computer teacher my mind went to bandwidth cap. The thing that puzzles me is why is it called cap?

My imagination conjures up a picture of an unidentifiable mass of something with a cloth cap sitting where its head should be. As all minds go, mine wandered off a little from this picture and thought of the saying “Put a sock in it.” Could I rather say “Put a cap on it?” This would then signify that is it – the discussion is over; the top of the discussion has been reached.

Ah! This begins to clarify the word cap. Cap signifies the end of something – the end of your head has a cap on it. The conversation has reached its end so put a cap on it. Your data has reached an end so put a cap on it!

The horror of it! In this day and age when we are cut off from our Internet of Things our world seems to grind to a halt. When we have reached our cap and there are still days to go before it is renewed we can no longer use the internet and all the doors that it opens.

Facebook! Oh no! Who is having birthdays? Who is sharing what? Who is saying what about whatever? Where are the jokes? The pictures of cute animals? The wise saying? How can I live?

Showmax? Netflix? No movies – my entertainment gone!

WhatsApp! No messages, no cancellations, no invitations!

Instagram! Pinterest!

Google! How can I find things out? Use books you say? How? Why?

Our lives have become so immersed in this digital source of everything that we shudder to have to come to a grinding halt. So we strive to never run out of our Internet Cap. We hold on to each and every last Megabyte and breathe a sigh of relief when our data is renewed.

© Vera Alexander

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Style


I have my own fashion style. I am not one to be dictated by common trends and I have never been.
Now that I am old I can see through all this hype about style and the latest fashion trends. All you are doing when you follow this style is to line someone else’s pockets while possibly making a fool of yourself.
Todays trends seem to be manipulated by supposed big name in show business. It seems hedged in by crudity – the more skin you show the better it is - but woe betide any man who gets turned on by it and attempts to take it a step further.
And men what is this with prancing down a runway in some scrappy clothing that a few years ago would have had you the laughing stock of the whole community – all in deference to fashion.
Style is something innate. Style is something you are born with or not. Style is something that makes you stand out no matter what you are wearing. Style can be learned but can never be imitated.
I have honed in on one meaning of style. The website www.thefreedictionery.com  gives 19 definitions – knock yourself out and learn some new meanings of he word style.
© Vera Alexander

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Unseen Disabilities


I teach at the Open Air School in Durban. This is a very special place where children with all sorts of disabilities can be educated within (or to) their limitations. While most of the disabilities can be seen – the wheelchair, the white cane, the walker, the crutches etc. there are many disabilities that cannot be seen. These are the children who have Aspergers, diabetes or cancer to name a few.

Recently I have become reacquainted with an ex-pupil from way back. She has posted many items on Facebook where her spelling and grammar have been suspect. During one of her recent posts, she confessed to be a victim of Dyslexia – yet another unseen disability. I applaud her for her ability to look her disability in the face, publicly acknowledge it and tackle it. Immediately her lack of supposed writing skill became very unimportant and I was able to see a remarkable lady who has a keen perception of life and its vagaries.

She is appalled that people judge her and others like her because of a preconceived notion of what is acceptable in the written word. But yes we do and it is up to you, Amada, and others like you to make us understand what your condition means.

Personally, I cannot conceive what it means to have any disability. I suppose for us to understand what a person is about we would have to walk a mile in their shoes.
While I can’t conceive what it is like to live with their problem I am empathetic about it. I can empathise with them and the more I learn about their problem the greater my understanding and empathy will be. In order for this to happen, I need to have a broad mind and be ready to accept whatever knowledge I can and the person with the disability needs to do all they can to make us aware of what it is like to live with it.

Fortunately, in our age and time, there is more knowledge and there are many things that can be done for a person with a disability. Just look at what the late Stephen Hawkin achieved – things that would have been unheard of in another time.

Nowadays Dyslexics can write – there are spell and grammar checks that help them overcome this condition and free them to be as expressive as their inner being is screaming for them to be.
I salute all with disabilities – “You are a better man than I am. Gunga Din!” (Rudyard Kipling)
© Vera Alexander

Friday, 6 April 2018

And now there are no more tomorrows…



Our children grew up together, you were there for me when it mattered. We did many things together – you helped me in so many ways and now…
As the children grew up their paths diverged and as happens in life, our paths diverged. I often saw your name on my phone and thought  “I must contact you… tomorrow, next week, next month, next holidays…”
The time drifted until we reached today. You are sitting looking into the light and I am sitting here full of regrets.
Why do we postpone things? Why is there this procrastination in life? Why are we always too busy so it will have to wait until tomorrow? Well now for you and me there can be no tomorrow.
© Vera Alexander

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Let your positive side shine through



A mirror has two sides. The one side hides everything in its path, the other side reveals the truth about you.
We, politicians and many of our acquaintances, do not want to see both sides of a story, they are not interested in the glass side of the mirror. They want to hide the reality so that they can build their own reality to fit their facts. They are too tired or disinterested to see things as they are, they want to see things within their own perspective. The back of the mirror enables them to plant and nurture their own perspective as everyone who looks at the back of the mirror sees their belief.
The back of the mirror allows them to be ultra-sensitive and encourages them to try to convert all to their way of thinking.
Let’s take this instance of the hooded coat “Cutest Monkey in the Jungle” A black child from a Scandinavian country wore it. His mother thought it was cute, I thought it was cute and so did many others. Hover some were looking at the dark side and took issue with it and took it the extent of rioting, pillaging and destroying.
When did we become so horribly sensitive? Can I not call a mischievous a child a little monkey anymore? Or is it only derogatory if the child is black. I often called my kids and cousin’s kids and my grandchildren monkeys – so when does it become an insult and when is it a playful observation.
People, there are so many HUGE issues that need our attention. Let’s soothe our ruffled feathers and use that energy to solve the many sad, dangerous or problematic issues.
Really? When did we become so sensitive? Stop peeling the scabs off the sores of the past and let’s find a way to help these sores heal.
Madiba wants a rainbow nation – a nation of people who will work together to achieve a great country.
Whites stop being derogatory, blacks start looking for the good in the whites you come across. Please let our pride not destroy our wonderful land. I am taking a step towards you knowing that together we can do marvellous things.                                                                                       © Vera Alexander.