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Smoke signals

8 June 2010

Don’t think you can escape that easily. When you retire from the stress of the office to tend your roses do not expect a peaceful life, for the anxiety caused by a sick rose causes no less angst than the managing partner visiting you with a crocodile smile and telling you that for the third month running you failed to meet your target. So, what is it like if you have not retired and still have to tend your roses?

It is therapeutic to experience the suffering of others. That is why we always slow down to rubber neck the aftermath of a road accident (and some of us of course take the opportunity to toss out a few business cards to the victims as they sit on the road side). Similarly, it is fun at election time to see the politicians you loved to hate being made to walk away into the sunset. As we are British our emotions are complex: although we revel in the suffering of others, our sense of fair play cuts in and we are just as likely to develop strong sympathy for the victim...

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