"But I didn't think that . . . . . . . . "
How often do you hear the phrase these days? To me it seems that hardly a day passes without hearing someone say it on television or reading about someone who said it in the newspaper.
Typical in recent weeks were the two Australian DJs who phoned the King Edward VII Hospital, "We didn't think that we'd actually get through . . . . . . ". Or the interviewer who passed a list of alleged paedophiles to David Cameron, "I didn't think that anyone would be able to read it . . . . . ". The list seems endless, maybe a slight variation of the words, but always the same general idea.
It is time people learnt that "not thinking" is not a valid excuse for doing something stupid. Our maker provided us with brains and the general idea is that we should use them at all times! Certainly I was taught from a very young age (when I burnt my hand in the open fire) to think before doing anything and as a result I rarely do anything significant on impulse. This of course means that in this modern era that I am terribly dull, if not worse. It means, of course, that I could never have gone into politics, as, were I confronted by an interviewer with a difficult question, my reaction would be that I would need to think about it before replying!
What has brought these thoughts to mind is a piece in today's Telegraph reporting that students have been warned that on-line boasts could harm their job prospects. Seemingly, there are "Student Confession" web pages which accept anonymous details of various exploits. But no-one seems to know who runs these, and although submissions are anonymous, it would take little effort by the equally anonymous administrator to locate their source and use the information elsewhere.
The Swansea University Registrar, and the Students' Union President have actually had to warn students that "Irresponsible use of social media can damage their future employment
prospects as companies are increasingly searching for information on job
applicants." The question that I ask myself is how can any student possess so little common sense as to boast about his exploits on a public forum where they will be stored away for the indefinite future? Particularly one with an anonymous administrator who might have an idea about future blackmail? How did they get into University in the first place?
The answer, is as usual these days, they just don't think.
This of course follow hot on the heals of the report on television about young teenage girls sending naked photos of themselves to boyfriends, again apparently quite common practice. Do none of them think about what might happen in twenty or so years when they have got into, say, a newsworthy occupation, and an ex-boyfriend produces these photos for sale to the media? Alternatively, have the boys thought about the long term implications of keeping these pictures, which when they are in their twenties could suddenly become indecent images of under aged children?
Then of course there is Facebook, where again, judging by some pages that my daughter has shown me, people simply post things without any thought. Perhaps the younger generation might reflect that in America, prospective employers are asking applicants for access to their Facebook pages and take the attitude that refusal means that the candidate has something to hide!
What we need is a lot more good old fashioned reticence where people keep themselves to themselves and don't reveal personal details to anyone without good reason, but in these days of instant social networking, I suppose that is too much to ask.