This Monday, Tony’s not so much moaning, as musing on fear and being frightened …
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time”
Frightened to Death?
Last Sunday evening, around midnight, I was scared witless. Reception at my base in Jerusalem had ordered my car and they told me there would be a fee of three hundred shekels (£60) .The drive to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv would last around forty minutes.
As we left, the enormous driver asked me if I had the money. After confirming that I did, he said “cash or card?”. My response of cash led to him saying, “three hundred and fifty shekels.” Whereupon, despite the fact we were hitting the desert roads and he was driving rapidly, we had a debate on the price. And then he began to get angry. The issue for me was that I had run out of money because Jerusalem has very few cash machines. I was staying at a private club which offered no cash facilities.
He now informed me he was Jordanian. I decided to commit the forty shekels I was keeping for airport fees to my safety and said I would pay three hundred and forty shekels. He just seemed to be getting more worked-up. As we neared the outskirts of Tel Aviv, we reached a Toll station wherein a number of heavily armed Israeli police were positioned. The car slowed and I seriously considered throwing myself out of the vehicle. I didn’t. We reached terminal three, out I jumped, handed him the three hundred shekels and was searching for the forty extra, when he said “thank you, Sir,” and drove off!
Different Types Of Fear
As we flew back to Luton I pondered about fear. How many times had I been scared? Many years ago, I was captaining a rugby side, Midland Colts against Leicestershire. They had a huge brute playing at number eight. He had put one of our players off the pitch and kicked another in the head. My team looked to me to act. At a line-out the chance came and I hit him with probably the best punch I ever landed on the rugby pitch. He just shook his head and carried on. I spent the remaining thirty minutes of the game trying to avoid him.
Foreign lorry drivers scare me. Travelling south down the M1 in a fifty mile an hour restricted section, I was in the middle lane travelling at 49mph when a lorry behind me touched my back bumper. Both the other lanes were congested. He literally pushed me along and there was nothing I could do. Finally, I was finally able to escape him. It was a Polish driver.
My generation escaped conscription and so I have never had to fight in a war. The above are examples of physical fear. Far worse have been psychological tensions. When working in a Government based office many years ago there was a woman called Pam. She was frighteningly intelligent, verbal and had extreme mood swings. You never knew who was coming through the door. She just didn’t care. One day I had put a personal stamped letter in the post try. Having recognised my hand-writing, she picked it up, tore it in half, threw it at me and said to the whole office, “don’t use the post for personal items.” I began to lose sleep worrying about her.
In business, cashflow management is pretty scary. The collapse of British Steel this week will have left huge numbers of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) calculating their problems as they are not paid. It always amuses me that every newly appointed Government business minister announces that they will sort out late payment of bills. They never do which is no surprise as Government departments are some of the worst offenders.
The other seriously scary person is the editor of this column: Kathryn. Early on in our growing relationship, she emailed me and asked if I could make my Monday Moan column more interesting.
So now I write, press ‘send’, wait and worry myself witless as to whether I will be published on the Monday.
Off to take the pills…..
Editor’s Note: Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman…….