Thursday, 22 February 2007

ye olde smugness

There are certain things that prove that a person is smug. Personalized number plates. The need to announce that you are saving the environment more than the person you are talking to. But these are very modern things. Smugness has been around for as long as humans have been. Clearly personalised number plates and the environment have only existed in the recent years (unless the Flinstones are to be believed). So what did olden people have?

This problem remained unsolved until yesterday evening, whilst driving home from work. On my route through town I have to stop at a multitude of traffic lights, and as a result, I get many opportunities to let my eyes and mind wander. I spotted an old factory looking building that proudly read across the top "Mitchell Factory Build 1860 AD". Now I'm not having a go at the '& sons' bit, though that may be worthy of a rant at a later point, but instead it’s the inclusion of when the building was built.

As an old building, the date of construction can be seen as a neat piece of interest. But that's because its old. Clearly this hasn't always been the case. For many years, it must have sat there with a date of construction that was just a few years from the current date. At this point, this piece of nostalgia must have served another purpose.

Given that the only use of a date on a building is to impress upon the local landscape just how antiquey it is, the builders must have added this as a sort of rather risky bet. "I believe that this is such a good building, that it will stand up for fifty years or more, and certainly won't get bombed, or earthquaked, or anything accidentally happening to it that is beyond our control. Smugness. Pure, undiluted smugness.

It should be remembered though that there is one redeeming feature of smugness, and that is rubbing in the faces of the smuggers whenever they are proved wrong. This quite often is an opportunity that never arises, so when it does it should be grabbed with both hands.

It is a possible hobby that I advise you to join in with, of every time you see a building that's built date is flaunted and is within the last 50 years, find out who built it, where they live and what their pet hates are. Sooner or later, one of your catalogued buildings will fall. It is then a simple matter of going to their house and spend the weekend shouting something like "HAHAHA YOU STUPID SMUG BASTARD! IT DIDN'T EVEN LAST 50 YEARS! TEACH YOU FOR BEING SO SMUG!". Or at least words to that affect.

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