Man, born free and yet everywhere in kecks

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Three lovely days on the spin last week, eh?

Maybe you glimpsed a few fragments of them, through a window in the far corner of your sprawling air-conditioned open-plan nightmare, the warehouse door you infrequently pass, that grubby skylight in the toilets...

Yes, little lays quite so bare the true nature of our victory over free will like a spell of exceptional weather in the working week.

Somehow, some way, we almost always overcome the demands of free will. Even as our every fibre screams to dash outside, fling aside restrictive clothing, kick off shoes, lay in grass, eat party pies, suck up what few crumbs of summer are spared us in this dark, damp corner of sod, we trudge in the opposite direction. Assume the position. Get to work.

From Wednesday last most of the working age population took part in just such a remarkable and yet seldom remarked upon act of mass selflessness.

Why? Well, we reluctantly make a trade. Because while the exercise of free will might bring us many and varied delights – a decent sun-tan being near the top of the list – it is no way to keep the wolf from the door. Mouths to feed, roofs to keep over heads, bills to pay, etc.

Free will for security, a straight swap. One of many such swaps upon which this fragile thing we refer to as civilisation depends. The covering of our nakedness, for yet further example.

This latter also springs to mind whenever the sun sees fit to beat down on urban Lancashire, mainly as any number of our fellow male citizens take this as a cue to doff their tops up town.

I must admit it is tempting to join them. After all, why should I endure the sweaty stifling heat even the thinnest shirt entails in such climes when I could have the breeze blowing freely about my pits?

Indeed, why stop there? Nothing stifles one’s creativity quite so much as trousers, underpants and the like when Old Sol is doing his best.

And yet there more or less all of us are, thwarting our natural desire for freedom and ease of movement.

Thank goodness. Imagine the things you’d see. Imagine.

So we swap. Free will for the sure and certain knowledge we will be able to eat a hot dog anywhere in the conurbation without lapsing into the dry heaves.

Besides, we can always go to the beach. If only it wasn’t raining all weekend...