|RANT 'N' RAVE
Little old ladies
OK, I know what I'm talking about? I mean,
I've played rugby for years, I've coached it for years, too. I know good tackling
technique and good body position when I see it.
And so I stand in awe of some of the little old ladies who muscle their way into and out
of crowded trains. Not only is their timing impeccable, they show all the brutality and
ruthlessness you'd hope for in a test-match prop. They may be diminutive, they may not
possess the sheer bulk of an international rugby player - but they could teach the All
Black forwards a thing or two about body position when entering a ruck. They can get you
right under the ribs, from the most unexpected angles, sending you reeling, wondering what
hit you. They can headbutt you in the elbow, elbow you in the knees. They can slip from
behind you, through the door and away in the time it takes you to lift a foot to step
through the door. They move with such speed, skill and deadly aggression that it's a
wonder the CIA hasn't recruited all of them to be covert assassins. Perhaps they have.
And it's not just on trains. In a throng of people visiting a shrine for a recent
festival, who were bumping off the citizenry right and left? You guessed it - little old
lades (LOL's). Impassively, with only the slightest wrinkling of the brow to belie the
concentration needed to inflict the most accidental injury, they would -
"bulldoze" is too large and clumsy a word - incise their way like little
scalpels through the crowd. And with their lethally hard shoes, no toes were safe.
Even when visiting a museum exhibition, with lots of people milling around the main
exhibits, I was agog as the throng of LOL's elbowed me aside and kicked my heels and
calves. It was amazing. With great aplomb, and completely ignoring the existence of anyone
else, the LOL's went blithely along, colliding with one another with the regularity and
lack of emotion of fairground dodgems. It was like human pinball, ancient bodies careening
off each other in all directions. Of course, this substantially increased the likelihood
of being battered.
The difference, in this instance, from being ribbed by a LOL stepping off a train, was
that there were dozens of them, all moving in different directions. Walking the length of
a single museum room was like doing Niagara in a barrel - but without the protection of
the barrel. A nudge here, a knee there, a cranium to the funny bone. NO matter how much I
dodged and hopped, sidestepped and swerved, I couldn't avoid continual impact. I reached
the far end of the room, bruised and disoriented, thinking seriously of abandoning the
whole exhibition and going to find an emergency ward somewhere.
What's my point? Well, I figure, with Japan's aging population, I read recently that 25
percent of the populace will be over 65 in a few years' time, that such talent should be
harnessed in some way. I challenge anyone out there in readerland to come up with a scheme
in which such completely disinterested violence can be put to good use.
Many thanks to Martin Jones for this Rant.