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The fine art of scarpering

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"Scarper" is a word not commonly used in Australia.  Its etymology may be from the Italian "scappare" (to escape), but my familiarity with it derives from U.K. television where "scarpering" means to rapidly decamp ones self from the scene of a felony and/or misdemeanor.  
The word sounds so beautiful to my ear that I would like to promulgate its usage over a much wider spectrum of human activity. Indeed, lets apply it to any situation where the present position in which we find ourselves becomes untenable, and we recognise that it is time to leave.

I have scarpered twice in my life. On neither occasion was criminal activity involved. No felony. No misdemeanor.
An ill-advised youthful marriage became terminally unsustainable and I made the decision to rapidly scarper, but (I hasten to add) as responsibly as the circumstances prevailing at the time would allow.
I also found it necessary to scarper from a job I had enjoyed for 12 years, when unnecessary petty bureaucracy seriously limited my ability to do effective work.

On both occasions I could perhaps have conducted my scarpering with considerably more panache.  In retrospect, my scarpering was an act of defiance, a refusal to become a lifelong victim of anyone who deliberately chose to make my life miserable.
It was also an intellectual acknowledgement that I was not excelling in either of these areas of my life, and that it was time for a fresh start.

I have since chosen to be self employed for the past 25 years, and have rarely had cause to complain about my employer.
My partner of the last 28 years continues to give me great happiness and an understanding that there could be no greener pasture  to which I should scarper.

Indeed, so successful were my two scarpering events that I would like to encourage others to adopt the practice.  I herewith supply some modest examples.

Elite athletes;   gymnasts who head butt the vaulting horse instead of sproinging over it, or slip off the high beam causing damage to genitalia or other body parts……DO NOT be a hero and resume your routine.  Finishing is not everything.  Seek retribution.  Abuse the equipment by all means, but, most importantly, simply walk out of the arena with a smile on your face.  Confuse the critics.  Scarper with class.

Iceskaters;   When you miscalculate your position on the surface of the Earth and propel yourself backwards into the fence at 60 kph, accept the moment of public humiliation as a necessary alternative to glory.  Acknowledge the pain you feel.  Whine, wail, howl for however long it is necessary for you to be long remembered in the annals of ice skating.  Gold medal performances will be forgotten in time.  Yours will not.  Then just scarper.  Accept the financial rewards forthcoming from the media.  Just go and do something more suited to your talents.

Current Olympic bicycle road racers;  If you run off the side of the road into a ditch so deep it probably goes all the way to China, recognise that it was an inherently unstable, two wheeled crappy velocipede which brought you to this point in your life.  Leave it where it is. The garbage truck will collect it.  Make your way on foot, directly to the nearest purveyor of alcoholic beverages.  Enjoy some rice wine, and plan what sort of FOUR wheeled machinery you will race next time.

For the remainder of us.  Never be afraid to scarper.
Walk now.  Walk with dignity and head held high, for life is too short to complete an inept routine, and then sit around waiting for sympathetic applause.

Heroism is best left for the real heroes.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

2 responses »

  1. scarpering – the idea has potential. Yes, indeed, it does have legs.
    I am glad you like your boss so much. Be a sad situation if you didn't!
    Loved this – made me laugh for the first time today!

  2. Thank you. Sometimes I think my boss is nuts, but I am tolerant of character deficiencies. 🙂


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