Je regrette tout


Whenever a young person comes to me and says “Listen, wise old man, what career should I think about? What occupations are going to be most needed in the next twenty years?” I am always happy to help.

“Young Person” I say “you have come to the right man. There are just three occupations you should consider:

1. Plastic Surgeon specialising in tattoo removal. There are going to be hundreds of thousands of Australians, millions perhaps, who are going to reach the age of, say, sixty, and say to themselves ‘What the hell was I thinking? What is all this rubbish on my arms and legs and back and neck? Who is this person whose name is on my arm in big letters? And are those Chinese characters? Really? A tiger, a motor bike, the Southern Cross? FFS’ And then they will be desperately searching for someone who can remove all this rubbish, which once seemed like a good idea (perhaps under influence of alcohol) when they were younger and smoother, from their now wrinkly skin.

2. Financial Guru specialising in the return of privatised companies to public ownership. Australia, like a number of other countries, tattooed its economy with once public utilities turned into glossy private companies. What seemed like a good idea (under the influence of neocon think tanks) in those carefree days of the 1980s and 1990s now is revealed as a terrible error of judgement. Smart people are going to be needed to undo the thatcherite damage, and return railways, water, telecommunications, airports, wharves, hospitals, schools, energy, to public ownership.

3. Landscape ecologist specialising in revegetation. Australia has tattooed its landscape (under the influence of agribusinesses, forestry companies, coastal developers) with the scars of bulldozers and fires and chain saws. What seemed like a good idea thirty years ago has left a barren landscape, erosion, loss of biodiversity and species, and contributed to the terrible consequences of climate change, and the public will soon be demanding that sand dunes, water courses, grasslands, ruined farmland be returned as far as now possible, to the habitats they once contained (not totally possible of course, land, like skin, loses its elasticity).”

So there you have it. Where once, devil-may-care about future consequences, singing along with Edith “Je ne regrette rien”, young people and politicians gaily jumped into decisions with little thought for how hard they would be to later reverse, soon all of us will be trying to undo them now the consequences are clear. And there will be plenty of jobs for young persons.

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6 comments on “Je regrette tout

  1. Eric Snyder says:

    So I take it your not a big fan of tattoos; neither am I. When we were quite young, it was only the primitives that covered their bodies with ink (circus sideshows & stoneage societies). Interesting how savage behavior has infected all strata of today’s culture.


  2. David, I see you’ve omitted an occupation I would have seen as front-runner for those seeking continuous, lucrative work in days to come. That job is Audiologist, specialising in hearing loss.

    Young folk are lining up to buy doof-doof stereos, and pumping seriously high levels of sound into their closed ear-canals via those ubiquitous white earbud thingies. Once damaged by high sound pressure, hearing doesn’t recover.

    It’s going to be a goldmine.


  3. Reblogged this on 8degreesoflatitude and commented:
    Prime career choices!


  4. Colin Samundsett says:

    David, I expect I am pretty much in agreement with, but not in manner of expression of number 2.
    It is not so much a realisation of erroneous tatooing of the economic landscape with privatisation of utilities, as being the normal course of action for the change you predict.
    In Australia, from the Hawke Government onwards, the rush to sell Government utilities cheaply to the private sector satisfied two urges:
    First, it made the face value of Government accounts look good.
    Second, it enhanced the financial well-being of the Captains of Industry whose support was/is needed for electoral success in our version of the late Bung-Karno’s Indonesian “Guided Democracy”.
    Third, the change will be part of that long-standing convention : “Private profit at Government risk” – Governments taking over essential facilities when the money no longer keeps rolling in.
    Cheers? Colin


  5. Buff McMenis says:

    If there is still enough atmosphere, water, lands capable of growing foodstuffs which do not look like Monsanto monstrosities gone wrong, lack of weapons being used to guard “their” own little patch .. I am certainly more pessimistic than you are, my friend. Or maybe just older and they will not ask me. :-(


  6. Trev says:

    “Financial Guru specialising in the return of privatised companies to public ownership”. David, it seems to me that such well trained and qualified personnel may have to wait for a prolonged world-wide depression or something equally catastrophic before leaping into action.


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