Reacting to the news…


Seeing his wife Monica fighting back the tears, Eric grabbed her by the ponytails and held her head gently. He’d been dying to get home ever since he’d heard the news. “Can you believe it Monica?” he whispered to her.

“I can’t,” Monica sniffed, dabbing at her eyes. “Ever since they made the announcement, the world just doesn’t seem real anymore.”

“How did you hear about it?” Eric asked. He couldn’t quite believe it himself. No one seemed happy by the news; no one had ever truly wanted such a thing to happen.

“In the canteen at work,” Monica replied. “I don’t know why it affected me so much, but I just had to come home.”

“I don’t blame you,” Eric mused. “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that this truly feels like the end of the world.” He held his face in his hands for a minute, before rubbing his eyes as he stared at his TV. There was nothing on, just a blank screen. “How do you think people will react?”

“There’ll be revolts up and down the country,” Monica replied without hesitation. “No shadow of a doubt. People won’t stand for it. No one ever thought it actually would happen in the first place. To be honest, I think it would be a good idea for us to stop doing anything until we can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Eric was on his feet now, pacing the room as if trying to diffuse some great bundle of energy inside him. “Perhaps…” he pondered, as though what he was trying to say was bold and daring, and he was hesitant to speak it. “Perhaps it might be a good thing. Change can be good for the world.”

“Not like this,” said Monica flatly. “This feels like the wrong kind of change to me. I mean, think what this could inspire within people. They see this happening, they suddenly think that their radical notions aren’t quite so radical anymore. Where do we go from there?”

“I don’t know what we’ll tell the kids,” sighed Eric. “Do well at school, by the book that binds us all… and for what reward? When something like this can happen?”

Monica gripped him by the hands and stared deep into her eyes. “Don’t worry my love,” he reassured her. “We’ll still teach them what is right. This won’t change them one bit.”

They both sat down and stared straight ahead, still taking it all in. “I still can’t believe it though,” Eric wandered aloud.

“Yeah. Whoever thought they’d reduce the size of Toblerone? What kind of world do we live in where such a thing is possible?”

“Whatever happens, we’ll always have the Quality Street. They can’t take that away from us.”

Hoping for a change of tone, Eric reached for the remote. On flicked the latest news.

“Holy shit,” he gasped.

“I can’t believe it,” Monica’s hands were covering her eyes.

“The John Lewis Christmas advert,” they said together.


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The Royal Baby: why be so cynical?

royal baby

The marvels of an ever expanding population; on average, 360,000 babies are born across the world each day, with 2,200 babies delivered in the United Kingdom itself. As inherently fascinating as your life may be, fifteen thousand join the competition every hour. Take a minute to think about that; there, that’s another 250 born. It’s staggering to comprehend. But today, the focus has switched to one bundle of joy in particular: the arrival of a royal baby girl, the fourth in line to the British throne.

And what a world she has been born into! She had not even been alive for more than twenty four hours before she made her first public appearance. Yet despite the frenzy of flashing cameras (and the inevitable scrutiny from some quarters of the outfit she wore), the whole affair has been quite subdued- in fact, it was as calm as she was as her parents emerged from the Lindo Wing, sleeping peacefully in her mother’s arms.

Some have smiled at the news, others have scorned, and a few have even used the opportunity to have a wager. Charlotte? Victoria? Elizabeth? Diana? Names that might otherwise be a source of affection, with all kinds of meanings ravelled into them, could be the source of a financial boost for some over this bank holiday weekend. Who do you place your bets on, Chelsea beating Crystal Palace or a usually more private affair of parents choosing a name for their new arrival?

Already the parents have an array of anecdotes to tell their daughter about their birth at a later date! “Oh, the fuss people made about your name dear! You would think they were analyzing a philosophical belief!” Others will be jealous that they never had a town crier to announce their birth outside the hospital, or an easel outside the family home proclaiming the news. If life’s a competition, the royal baby’s certainly winning at the moment.
Some will decry that the royal baby will never work a day in her life; she will have an income from tax, rather than income tax. Many will not care she has even been born. And why should they? We’ll never know her on a personal level, and it’s highly unlikely she will even take the crown. As William and Kate wave to the crowds, protests continue in Baltimore about the lack of equality, and the relief effort in Nepal struggles on… how can the birth of a child really be considered news?

Maybe Republicanism has a point sometimes. But greater danger bubbles away in cynicism; sure, she might be royal, but the essence of the story is something that is truly worth celebrating; the birth of a baby girl. If it was in your network of family or friends, congratulations would be in order; heck, if a stranger told you they’d just become a parent, you would have to have a heart of stone not to raise a smile. So why is it different with the royal family? It might not be what you consider “news,” but there’s no denying it’s a wonderful announcement.