Richard Moore: Grim end for friend a sign of the times

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A friend of mine died at the weekend.

He'd been around for quite a while - six years - but had been sick. Very sick.

You don't like to see things living on in pain and his passing was a relief that ended three years of a terminal condition.

When pets are suffering we put them down, my friend lingered until he became a millstone around my neck. I became fed up with dealing with him and the effort of keeping him going that ate into my very limited, precious spare time.

High pressure was one of the leading causes of his demise - the high NZ dollar and the high costs of just being around.

My mate was my shop and I borrow from Emile Zola when I say to the internet "J'accuse".

For the internet is a killer. Untaxed, unhamstrung by the costs retail stores cannot avoid, the troglodytes of the web suck the lifeblood out of bricks and mortar stores and give little back in return.

They pay no tax and they employ no one.

Hell, they even avoid paying GST - that catch-all levy that is supposed to eradicate the black economy.

When the shop went, so did someone's job. Three years ago it would have been two jobs.

It also hits our insurance company, suppliers, landlord - who has to try to find someone else to fit the premises - electricity company, telco and internet provider.

I met many good people through the shop, made some terrific friends who I will stay in regular contact with, but also dealt with too many tossers.

The best thing about the closure is that I regain at least two days in my week to focus on the important things in life.

Would I ever get into retail again in this country?

I'm more likely to vote for the Mana Party.


***

You have to wonder just how disinterested some parents are in the welfare of their children.

And I'm not talking about the sediment dwellers at the far depths of society, but those within the normal parameters of human existence.

A major Auckland school is having to ask parents to ensure their little kiddiewinkies are showering every day and wearing anti-perspirant so they don't pong out the classrooms.

The body odour issues have been raised by Mt Albert Grammar but you can bet your bottom dollar it is in most secondary schools during summer.

When teens' bodies change, they do whiff a bit and personal hygiene can seem a little too much for them. No wonder they call them "high" schools.

The head of Mt Albert Grammar, Dale Burden, emailed parents on how to avoid unpleasant smells. Apart from the sensible advice of showering, putting on deodorant and washing uniforms regularly, he also pointed to some students' desire to leave woollen jumpers on in summer or wear rainjackets on sunny days.

One direction I will take exception to is this one - and I quote: "The unnecessary wearing of shoes and socks - even though they are advised to wear sandals."

Now Dale, it may be hard for a male teacher to understand this, but real boys - who will grow up to be real men - do not wear sandals.

Please limit male sandal wearers to your staffroom.


***

I went along to see Les Miserables the other week and thought it was a magnificent musical. Okay, it was long, but the performances were very powerful. Hugh Jackman gets my vote for an Oscar, while Anne Hathaway was just stunning. And to those who scoffed at Russell Crowe's singing, I say piffle.

There were many highlights, but one moment had me wanting to stand up and yell out to the cast.

It was when the idealistic students are on the barricade facing death.

The French soldiers are coming to quash the revolt, and the Parisians the students are nobly trying to fight for don't show up on the frontlines to lend support. In fact, they scurry away back to their rats' nests and bolt the windows and doors.

The students looked surprised and shocked. But why?

The people were French!

Did the students not know that le francais for attack is retreat? That the French word for fight on is surrender and the one for resist is collaborate?

Can you hear the people sing? "Non, let's bugger off before it gets dangereuse."

richard@richardmoore.com

- Bay of Plenty Times

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