Tobe Frank: I went up and down but never off the rails....what is happening to this world?

To be frank I have lead a privileged life. Not one of opulence, extravagance or even great luxury, but one of privilege…and sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact.

I am privileged to still have both my parents alive…happily married after what seems like an eternity – certainly since ‘the olden days’ as my grandchildren would say. My own grandparents lived long fulfilled lives.

I am privileged to be married to my missus after 35 years (particularly given all my flaws and f’ups). All but my childhood memories are ones we carved together. We continue to create new ones each and every day.

I am privileged to have three gorgeous kids (they’re always our kids right!) of whom I am exceptionally proud, five beautiful grandchildren, my health, my friends, a nice roof over my head, a car and a caravan that I struggle to set up in the designated order, but the opportunity to set it up in the first place is enough for me.

O.K., so I was never afforded the privilege of a rock star body or being handy with a hammer, but hey – now I’m nit-picking.

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In short, my life has been blessed. Sure, I’ve experienced the ups and downs of life’s rollercoaster, but whenever I went through the loop-de-loop, I always came down the other side; I never shot off the tracks.

But to be honest, this world is scaring me more and more each day. I simply can’t begin to understand what drives and motivates some people. How can I? I’ve never had to contemplate anything other than what most people would consider normal.

I watch the news with increasing disbelief. People killing people, then cooking them, before killing themselves. The blood curdling fanaticism and barbaric brutality of ISIL; punch-happy drunks; brazen, fearless young thugs assaulting anyone who crosses their path, stealing anything not bolted down (sometimes even the bolts too); three-year-old children simply disappearing without a trace; fully laden jumbo jets disappearing without a trace; the list goes on.

It’s scary. It’s depressing. It’s completely bewildering. It requires me to turn the TV off when the grandkids are around, sometimes when they’re not. It just seems so far removed from reality – at least the reality that is my life.

What is it that causes people to do these things?

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Is it nothing between the ears? Is it the thrill, the adrenalin rush, the desire to push the limits of what they can do and still get away with? Is it a hell bent attitude towards the overriding law of the land? Is it genuine belief in a cause that we simply don’t, won’t, can’t understand, however much we try? What appears fanatical to us might seem completely logical and normal to others.

And me, from my shielded, sanitised life, just doesn’t get it. When it becomes too much, I simply turn off the TV, put the paper down and go for a walk down the beach, hand-in-hand with the missus. Whilst feeling the cool white sand between my toes, I can pretend that it was all a bad dream…

…but it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the obvious fact that it’s not.


Do you agree with Tobe? Do you have to switch off the news when it all becomes too much? What is it that makes you feel privileged?