If nothing changes, nothing changes

“There came boom and bust, bankruptcy, depression.  Great public thieves came along and picked the pockets of everyone who had a pocket.”  John Steinbeck about the year 1900 in East of Eden (1952)

Nothing changes if nothing changes, and if I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got, and will keep feeling what I always felt.  All things being whatever there are, it turns out what you’re looking for just isn’t here anymore. Maybe it was deleted; possibly it was renamed, removed, re written, or lost somewhere under my desk… Things are always changing. As hard as I try to keep a decent record of things, sometimes it’s best to just let it go. That’s what I think anyhow. You will no doubt find your own way to find if its really new and improved.

It’s an interesting and useful expression even if it’s completely and utterly bogus. The reality of the matter is everything is changing all the time and there is no way to stop that. Its part of life and the fact that most people resist change and feel uncomfortable with it is just one in a long line of life’s ironies.  In the time you have taken to read this paragraph people have been born and some other people have died. Somebody somewhere has just lost their job whereas somebody else has received the letter telling them they got the new one they wanted.  However whereas things are changing on a rapid and permanent basis and there is nothing we can do about that,  we can at least positively influence much of the change process by the way we act, rather than letting it happen by default.

How many times in my long life have I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did.  Anthony Eden involved me in the Suez debacle and Harold Macmillan took over.  I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did.  Alec Douglas Hume wasn’t there long enough to do any damage but he was followed by Harold Wilson I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did, they really did.  Even with a short interval of Ted Heath when I told myself that now things will improve and they didn’t and Darling Harold Wilson came back to abolish the death penalty, legalise abortion and homosexuality.  Then he devalued the pound trying to convince us that the pound in our pocket would stay the same.  I groaned and thought that thing can get no worse but they did.

We got James Callaghan and his winter of discontent, rat riddled rubbish in the streets and bodies lying unburied in mortuaries.  I told myself that things cannot get any worse I breathed a sigh of relief.  We got Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands war, the Miners strike, the Westland Affair, the Brighton Bombing, Poll Tax Riots and the Lockerbie bombing.  The Tories decided to make a change and we got John Major and the Maastricht Treaty, Black Wednesday, the National Lottery and the ill thought out Dangerous Dogs Act.  I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did.

We got Tony Blair.  He gave us the Human Rights Act, the Bernie Ecclestone controversy;  Devolution to Scotland and Wales;  the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Weapons of Mass Destruction, War in Iraq, War in Afghanistan, the mishandling of the Foot and Mouth Crisis, Mayoralty of London, introduced student fees;  Cash for Honours scandal  and I honestly thought, things really cannot get any worse but then we got Gordon Brown, OMG, we had child benefit data misplaced.; Donorgate scandal;; Northern Rock and other Banks nationalised; Treaty of Lisbon ratified; the 10p Tax rate abolished; the Financial Crisis of 2007 – 2010; Cannabis moved back to Class B; the Parliamentary expenses scandal; the Release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi; and the Chilcot inquiry established.  I breathed such a sigh of relief when the electorate threw him out.  And then we got David Cameron with the mishmash of a coalition of U turners Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, et al, I’m sure that things cannot get worse.  Oh Yes They Can . . . . . . . . . . . . “There came boom and bust, bankruptcy, depression.  Great public thieves came along and picked the pockets of everyone who had a pocket.” 

What hasn’t changed is the old homily ‘Shit happens.’ In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, it was suggested that Forrest Gump created the slang. When he was running across the country and a bumper sticker designer asked him about whatever Gump wanted to say so that he could put it on a bumper sticker and sell it; at the time, Forrest stepped on dog excrement, as the other guy said to him “Whoa! Man, you just ran through a big pile of dogshit!”, then Gump said “It happens”, the guy replied, “What, shit?” Gump replied “Sometimes”; and the slang was created.  Maybe it does owe its origin to the 1994 film but it is as true today as it was in 1900 and even before Magna Carta.  It was probably just called Murphy’s Law in those days.


About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.
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