The first time I ever saw a drug addict was at a Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park – a long time ago. There were actually two of them, and I remember how awful they looked, but I also remember thinking “Nutters!” As years passed, I saw many more and I have to admit that I felt total disdain for them – they were nothings, and were not to be trusted as they would rob and steal. Time went by, though, and I started to see them in the chemists waiting disconsolately for their methadone. My heart started to change.
There is a belief or custom in many societies that age brings wisdom. This gave rise to the role of Elder, where the older members of the family or society are in a position of leadership, and this has been incorporated into church life, though here spiritual maturity is normally the qualifying factor rather than physical age. Note that I have said the age brings wisdom, not intelligence or knowledge. I am sure that we have all met someone who is incredibly clever, but who shouldn’t really be allowed out on their own!
Do you like a bargain? Do you feel really good when you find one? Earlier this year, Libby and I were in Lytham. We passed a very up-market shop which sells women’s, or perhaps I should say ladies, clothes. It is a very expensive shop, and normally we always pass it, but this time I noticed that a sale had just started about an hour earlier. Libby decided it might be worth a look, so we went in. Libby found a tee shirt was reduced to a slightly less than extortionate price, but then I noticed a coat. It was a very special, very different raincoat, and it really was reduced – 80% off. Libby looked great in it, so we bought it. It was so different and such a bargain that Libby tells everyone about it.
They say that what you are is what you eat. I have never really understood that. OK, I can see that if you do not eat meat you can be called a vegetarian or a vegan, but that is really as far as it goes – it puts you into a category, but that is only part of what you are, part of what you do.
So, what else can define what you are? Your fashion or your taste in music can suggest what age group you fall into. Your accent can suggest where you come from. The car you drive, or your lack of a car, can point to your income group, but not necessarily. The way your children behave can possibly show how good a parent you are. How you behave might point to what you have been through earlier in life. But all these things only show a bit of you – they are not what you are, who you are. Like nationality or political affiliation, they might classify part of you, but they don’t define you.
We read a lot these days about identity theft. In the last year it cost Â£1.9bn in the UK, affecting an estimated 1.8 million people.
Wikipedia states that “the victim of identity theft (here meaning the person whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if he or she is held accountable for the perpetrator’s actions. Organizations and individuals who are duped or defrauded by the identity thief can also suffer adverse consequences and losses, and to that extent are also victims.”