Pinch and a Punch

When I was at primary school – many years ago – there was a nasty custom whereby someone would shout out …. A pinch and a punch for the first of the month and no return whatsoever….. all the while administering the said pinch and punch to the hapless victim. I never seemed to be the o­ne to know when it was the first of the month, so developed a nifty way of dodging the perpetrators. The… return whatsoever…. was supposed to protect the perpetrator from retaliation, so I suppose there must have been a code of conduct that had some kind of honour in it.

Why do I think of this when reading of the latest atrocities in Iraq? The mutilation of bodies and mob-hysteria is anathema to most of us, but then I like to think that it is horrific to most of the Iraqi people as well. As a minister, my job is to preach love, forgiveness, tolerance, compassion and truth, and that is hard in the climate of terrorism and a war that is not supposed to be a war. I suppose I am saying that there is the root of violence and self-preservation in all of us, and we simply have to plod o­n trying to become the best that we can.

By the way, the 1st of April always caught me unawares at school, and still continues to do so. I am o­ne of the gullible, who finds it hard to distinguish fact from fiction, especially when it appears in national newspapers. Perhaps that is because the older I become, the stranger the world seems – and the more believable.

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