There's good and bad seats in the theatre of life

PERSPECTIVE: How much we know or understand a situation has a great deal to do with where we are viewing it from.
PERSPECTIVE: How much we know or understand a situation has a great deal to do with where we are viewing it from.

Three elderly women booked perfect seats at the opera; together in the middle, not too far back, and not too close to the stage either.

However, when they got to the opera, they found a man laying across their seats.

One of the ladies bends down and says to the man: “Excuse me sir, these seats you are laying across are reserved.”

The man looks up with bloodshot eyes and simply replies “aghhhh.” Another of the women asks: “Where did you come from and what are you doing at the opera, you bum?” Again, the man simply replies “aghhhh” and rolls over.

The three women go off and come back with a security guard. The guard taps the man on the shoulder and says: “What are you doing lying across three seats you didn’t pay for?”

“Aghhhh,” the man replies.

After much effort, the security guard finally says: “Listen, this is a serious matter. If you do not co-operate, we will be forced to get the police. Now, for the last time, where did you come from?”

The man laying across the seats, looks up at the guard and says in a weak voice: “Aghhhh ... the balcony!”

Sometimes in life, you get a good seat – a good view of things.

Other times, you get a bad seat. You get a bad view of things, you can’t clearly see the stage and, chances are, your judgement is poor in that case.

Muse on a time you were at the footy. Something happens on the other side of the ground.

You hear the crowd over that side cheering and/or moaning or even booing.

You ask the people sitting with you what happened.

When you eventually find out the truth (maybe the truth) you start cheering or moaning according to which team you’re supporting, even though you yourself didn’t see the play.

While watching the rugby on Saturday night, I found myself frustratingly complaining and appealing to an inanimate and coldly indifferent television broadcasting the All Blacks’ slaughter of our Wallabies, 36-13. What a kick in the pouch!

If we were to be brutally honest while watching just about any sport, what would we really be shouting at the players at the top of our lungs?

Probably: “YOU MISSED THAT TACKLE! BUT I WOULD HAVE MISSED IT, TOO!” or “YOU ONLY GOT A BEHIND? I WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN GOT THAT! IN FACT… I WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN BEEN GIVEN A SHOT AT GOAL BECAUSE I WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CATCH THE BALL AND TAKE THAT MARK IN THE FIRST PLACE!”

I’ve been musing recently, and having a bit of a laugh, about those “good” Catholics criticising Pope Francis’ recent decision to declare the death penalty inadmissible in all circumstances.

I’m not talking about non-Catholics and non-believers who criticise the pope – I am never offended by this and they should be allowed to express their criticisms and objections. Yet it’s amazing how rarely you hear non-Catholics and non-believers criticise Pope Francis, particularly in such a secular society as modern Australia.

However, I find it interesting, and yes, a little humorous, that so-called “good” Catholics think they’ve got a better view on the worldwide theatre of redemption than their pope.

And their presumed infallibility is offended because he wants to stop the death penalty? That’s not very charitable.

The recent, almost unbelievable, discovery of Britain’s Ophelia Morgan-Dew – a three-year-old with an IQ of 171 – is a sobering reminder that you never know who out there might process reality better than you do. Depending on the subject, or the time-period in our life, we are all in good and bad seats at the same time, but at different games and different operas.

The recent, almost unbelievable, discovery of Britain’s Ophelia Morgan-Dew – a three-year-old with an IQ of 171 – is a sobering reminder that you never know who out there might process reality better than you do.

There are subjects and situations in life in which we have a very good seat, a good view, good insight, perspective, knowledge or position of authority and responsibility.

And then there are other subjects and situations in which we really have not much knowledge, say or influence at all. And that’s all right.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee