Wouldn’t it be great if people, like bottles of liquid, came with ready-made warning labels already emblazoned upon them? If those who represented danger, or potential poison, had the skull and crossbones label slapped upon them as soon as their malign natures began to show…
Yes, I am aware that labelling others is deemed politically incorrect – and, to a large extent, I would go along with this view, having been labelled myself all too often – but, on the other hand, there is the hidden danger of harm hidden behind a benign appearance, and we could protect ourselves more readily if that metaphorical danger label were, like a dog chip, implanted under the skin.
Of course, this is turning people into one-dimensional beings – little more than paper dolls with their clothes, carefully cut out and coloured, affixed to the shoulders by rough tags – and implying that true evil is an incontrovertible fact, as opposed to just one stage along a hotly-debated spectrum of moral, emotional and spiritual order-disorder.
This is implying that it is right, or desirable, to identify, and label – and, thus, fix, butterfly-like, to an unchanging rigid memory board – another human being based, perhaps, on one fleeting moment of moon-calf madness. To label a minor misdemeanour as a life-long malignant habit.
I know all the good, very good, reasons why labelling people is wrong. I can see, with total clarity, the damage such an act can cause – and, as a teacher, have seen the ghastly reality many a time…
…but, there are, without a shadow of a doubt, those who look angelic, and are more demonic inside, wandering around our world, wreaking havoc wherever they fetch up, whose careers would be cut short by the simple expedient of a neatly-applied label visible to everyone: These Dorian Grays whose self-absorbed beauty and dangerous, snake-like, seduction techniques would be cut very short indeed if the label included the command: ‘See the picture in the attic first!’
We do not, as a species, wear our souls on our sleeves, as it were, more’s the pity! You know where you are with a charging rhino (many miles away, if you have any sense) or a roaring lioness (inside the vehicle with the window closed tight); they do not pretend, or aspire, to be anything but themselves. Nature may very well be red and tooth and claw, but at least it is not pretending to be charm personified and lamb-like gentleness.
Yes, I think the old chip and pin system would work a treat with the more egregious of our brethren and sistren, with little warnings, easily accessed, giving the summarised version of chapter and verse: ‘Cannibal: Do not bend over the freezer or turn your back near a heat source…’ or, Partial to younger women: If he says, “Have some Madeira, M’dear…” run like the blazes!’ or, ‘Werewolf: Collect the silver in a circle and stand clear…’ or, ‘Psychopath/Narcissist: Lies for the Known Universe: Avoid!’
The clever part of the above is that it becomes entirely optional, one’s own power and choice. There is no label showing on the surface – and it is, therefore, up to the individual to decide whether to activate the hidden chip or not.
Labels for unreconstructed wrong’uns? Yes, why not!