I missed an important announcement when it was my birthday last week*
The refectory at work posted a message on the work intranet. It (the message) was an announcement of a cutlery amnesty. Allow, for a moment, be to be pedantic when I define an amnesty as an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offence(s). I have (not) scoured the Human Resources department’s terms and conditions of employment and at not stage can I see the removal of cutlery from the refectory to other parts of the building listed as a crime or infringement of the rules of the employer. Surely it’s a misdemeanour at best?
Well let’s not judge this statement to harshly…yeah I know it’s me questioning the overstating of the statement in the first place; let me just have a moment eh?
The important word, of course, is convicted. Because it’s not to say someone has to be charged by the police to be convicted of something. No higher power than dictionary.com defines conviction as:
to prove or declare guilty of an offense, especially after a legal trial
So, you could say that someone has been convicted of taking canteen cutlery if it can be proved that it has been taken. Is this a political offence? Wikipedia (I am using all the best sources of irrefutable legal definitions) defines a possible reading as:
States will define as political crimes any behaviour perceived as a threat, real or imagined, to the state’s survival including both violent and non-violent oppositional crimes.
If we accept that the canteen is a state, which I am prepared to do in this case (so that I can stop just defining one word and then go into the definitions of part of that definition, as this could never end if I did that), then the lack of cutlery could be seen as a threat to its survival. COULD. So, the removal (and non-return) of cutlery from the canteen is definitely a political offence against the continued survival of the state that is the canteen. As such the recognition of the cutlery being returned with impunity from any act of revenge or prosecution could be fairly described as an amnesty.
But is this a world where we want to live? Where a works canteen is trying to wilfully empower itself as a state? And what if this so-called amnesty had NOT been declared? Would member of the canteen staff be dragging people into dark corridors before torturing them? Perhaps displaying their mutilated corpses as some kind of monument to the authoritarian cutlery fascism that fuels the dictator behind all this? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Yes, there is a place for sensible cutlery education. Yes, there is a place for instilling some respect and fear for a canteen without cutlery: pictures of men beating their fists against the wall with a full plate of spaghetti on a table by him with a slogan that says “YOU CAN’T EAT YOUR FORKING FOOD WITHOUT CUTLERY YOU FORKING CUNT”; A woman sobbing while trying to eat/drink soup with the slogan “YOU MANAGING THAT WITHOUT A SPOON YOU DAFT TWAT?”; a pile of dead babies all with knives, forks and – bloody hell – spoons stabbed in their heads with the slogan “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO CUTLERY YOU DON’T RETURN TO THE CANTEEN”.
But no, no and no again. We should not stand for the slaughter, persecution and – possibly – light mimicry of people who find themselves with canteen cutlery outside the canteen. This sensible, just world allows for the few who are stealing knives, forks and spoons to fund wars and drug cartels to be caught, tried and executed by gunfire. We can have it all: cutlery education AND the wilful slaughter of shameless cutlery criminals.
Yes we can.
*I know it’s still my birthday-month, Boots, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about my birthday-month, it’s just that I am talking about the day of my birth and not the month in that the day of my birth falls. There is a very real chance that Boots, the chemist/pharmacy, is not stalking my output to ensure that I am acknowledging their email when they wished me a happy birthday month. I am not making a big deal out of Boots wishing me a happy birthday-month just because my birthday was universally ignored**.
**Ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I bought myself a lot of presents.