Folk Like Us

The setting: St James Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The date: Saturday 21 January 1989. 

The mood: Ugly.

Any hope of The Lads redeeming themselves in the eyes of their madly patriotic Geordie fans has long vanished, but that hasn’t stopped them turning up in droves to add their two pence worth as they face up against the towering footballing might of Charlton Athletic.  As the moon peeks over the Gallowgate end and Charlton score the first of their two goals to The Toon’s nil, all desperate cries of “Howay the Lads” vanish and the chant goes up: “Sack the board, sack the board, sack the board…”

Up in the nice bit of the stands, the bit nearest the visitor end where they put the family folk and people with funny accents (“nart fram roond ‘eah, loik”), it all gets too much for one Geordie gent. Despite the pleas of his wife and kids, he explodes from his seat and hurls himself onto the central stairway and proceeds to tell the team, the management, the coaching staff and the plethora of security personnel standing with arms linked and backs to the game (lucky them!) just what he thinks of it all.  There is much arm pointing and gesticulating; so much in fact, that it propels him down the stairs where he ends up nose to hi viz vest with the mountain of a security person, right next to where The Milk Maid and Bean Counter sit.  Twice he is calmly escorted back to his cringing family.  The third time. his arm is pushed up behind his back and he is told he is going to be evicted; chucked out, like.  

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“Why?” he demands incredulously, “what did’us do wrong, then?” He is told that he is intimidating the crowd with his oafish behaviour (or words to that effect) and his reaction is wide eyed, bewildered disbelief.  He looks wildly around the stand, up to his family where his kids are now howling, and then his gaze falls on the Milk Maid sitting not a metre away from him.  

“Woir nit intimidating you, are we, hinny?” He demands, eyes burning, spittle flying.  He is, of course, assured that the Milk Maid has indeed never felt more comfortable.  Well, she shakes her head and attempts a smile, at least.

In hindsight, it’s all rather funny and gave us a good story to weave into our family folklore but at the time is was…well, it was scary.

Intimidating.

This wander down memory lane has been prompted by an incident at The Bean Counter’s workplace earlier this week, by chance witnessed by The Milk Maid and Goat Herd.  The Bean Counter (an affable chap, as I am sure any of our readers who know him will attest) was subjected to a surprise attack of verbal barrage by a swaggering, posturing young man sporting mirror sunglasses and a fistful of chunky rings.  The three even got to admire these close up when The Bean Counter was invited to “make an issue of it”.  All this because this angry soul hankered after a cup of coffee, but wasn’t that eager to stump up the required dosh.  

What makes some humans feel comfortable behaving like this? 

After much pondering we have figured that the world is split into Intimidators, those who are happy to chuck their weight around a bit either physically or verbally to get what they want, and folk like us (FLUs).

Kermit's an Intimidator?!
Kermit’s an Intimidator?!

We FLUs are pretty easy to spot; we’re the ones allowing the car that roared up the well signposted,closed lane into the traffic in front of us, the wait staff prolifically apologising (and throwing in a free round of drinks) for the supposed substandard meal when only a  morsel is left languishing on the plate, or the parent shushing our kids when they point out that it was their turn next on the bouncy castle, not the children of the man who has just thrown the required coinage at the attendant and lifted their kids over the boundary rope.

Mostly, though, we’re quite happy being FLUs.  We don’t suffer the vein popping, eye bulging anger that surely has to test the circulatory systems of our pushier counterparts.  We also enjoy the smiles and friendly camaraderie experienced in the wake of an Intimidators self-centred bulsh-displays.  Do they really think we’re outsmarted?

FLUs unite, we say!

Here on the farm there’s very little intimidation unless you count Clank keeping the Delia’s in line, or Nessie ensuring she gets first mouthful of breakfast.  

Actually, the mood in the goat paddock has been interesting to observe of late. Leia, who has suddenly become the paragon of goatie contentment, appears to have ascended the hierarchical ranking which leads us to believe, hopefully, fingers crossed, that the happenings outlined in Leia’s Week of It may have been fruitful.  On the downside, there is no more goat milk in our morning coffee, but this is easier to bear if viewed as only a temporary situation for which a solution is in sight.

Leia seeks some treats in the compost bin
Leia seeks some treats in the compost bin

One of our number, however, has been busted indulging in a bit of bulshiness of their own.  Driven by frustration at the lack of duck eggs despite providing the pinnacle of quality care and attention (including the weekly distasteful chore of cleaning and refilling the duckpond), one of us was heard to emulate the most infamous Kiwi Intimidator of all: Jake the Muss of Alan Duff’s Once Were Warriors.

"Cook the man some eggs"
“Cook the man some eggs”

“Lay the Man Some Eggs”, they growled menacingly.

Ducks, uneffected by menacing demands, wonder when someone's going to clean out their pond
Ducks, unaffected by menacing demands, wonder when someone’s going to clean out their pond

Seems intimidation doesn’t work on ducks. 

© Copyright Union Homestead, 2014. All Rights Reserved. 

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