The Strongest Medicine

Smile. It may cause more trouble than you think. I got told off for smiling recently, well actually for sniggering. Thinking about it now, I think this has to be the most outrageously unjust telling off I've ever received. I got told off for laughing at the appalling incompetence of my captors. And these were the self same people who'd been all laughs and smiles when I'd bought my ticket, no mention then about the plane being full. No mention then about the plane getting smaller (yes, really). Not a whisper about a confirmed seat reservation not actually meaning that you could get a seat. Oh no. And lets get this straight. I was the wronged party. The only one with any right to get upset. But still they were most definitely put out when I started cheering myself up by giggling at their incompetence. "Excuse me sir, you're not being very helpful, we have a situation here."

Well as it turned out, standing at the desk and ridiculing the flustered staff worked, it got me on the plane (although I suspect were airline ground crew allowed to carry firearms it would have got me shot). The full power of derisive laughter should never be underestimated. It reminded me of an article I read this week about a computer security conference. Hey no! Please! Wait! Nope, no good. Half my audience have just passed into a tedium coma (see now why I don't talk about my work much). Ah well, as those of you who haven't already dropped off to sleep at the very mention of this subject will guess, this isn't normally the kind of conference which provokes much hilarity, yes of course occasionally some bod gets up and says "And I thought Kevin was sieving for prime numbers, but in fact he was using elliptic curves!" Yes well of course THEN there's some hilarity, or at least a few muffled titters (I didn't get it either) but normally they're quite sober affairs. Except when a government minister turns up to address them about the most draconian security bill since... well, ever. And proceeds to go through the nasty list of pathetic attempts at flattery of his eminent audience, obfuscation of civil rights issues with fear of drugs and terrorism and ends up by saying and anyway, it isn't that draconian really, I mean we are supposed to be the nice party and ooh look fluffy bunnies. What did they do? They started to giggle. Little did the poor minister know that they'd all been down the boozer the night before and made a list of the things they thought he might say. This had turned the poor Minister of the Crown into nothing much more than a garrulous bingo caller. Poor bugger stumbled bravely through everything on their list. It's a wonder nobody shouted "House!"