Where there’s a Yin …

The first time I heard somebody on TV speak of the “Dark Web” I thought it referred to the big web in which Bilbo Baggins was entrapped in Tolkien’s classic tales. But I slowly came to realise that the term had nothing whatsoever to do with spiders but referred instead to the much bigger and much more complex World Wide Web, aka the internet.

It appears that, these days there are two of them. There is the normal one, the vast complex internet that enables so much information and assistance to be available to those of us slowly weaning ourselves off such bad habits as talking and listening to each other, or writing letters to people (one must be of a certain demographic to remember these quaint old-fashioned ways of communicating).

And then there is the “Dark Web”. All the experts talk about it, but they keep it to themselves and none of them ever tell you where it is. There is no convenient app that can be downloaded to allow easy access to it. The “Dark Web” seems to be a bit like Purgatory, Limbo, or Hades! One of those places everybody has heard about but nobody is quite sure where it is - or even if it really exists at all.

If the www has enabled an acceleration of progress, enlightenment and learning in the world, the dark www is apparently its alter ego, where zealots of the darker side of human nature can indulge in their own murky excesses – on the internet of the Underworld! The IT Ying and Yang!

In that regard, the two world-wide-webs simply reflect basic human nature. We all have a swirling mixture of good and bad in us. We are all a bit Jekyll and Hyde. We all must, from time to time, overcome a base instinct to indulge ourselves in something we know is contra to normal decent behaviour and most of us, thank goodness, succeed in resisting such urges.

And then there are the Neanderthals. The arrogant, thoughtless but mercifully small segment of our own Lanark community who constitute “Dark Lanark”. These are the types - to call them people would be exaggerating - who instantly act on whatever urges beset them, without a thought or care in the world for anybody or anything.    

Fortunately for Lanark, most of the offences against decency in the town are, though illegal, just thoughtless, cheap and incredibly anti-social. Just before Winterfest last year someone, presumably full of the Christmas Spirit, broke into the Big Shed and stole the fairy-lights purchased to decorate one of the lorries being prepared for the Christmas Light Parade.
A little later, also before Christmas and just as the little Christmas trees were being installed on shop premises, one criminal mastermind (you think?) reached up and stole one of them! How full of “peace and goodwill to all” does a person need to be to steal Christmas decorations from somebody else?

Even more bizarre, somebody more recently stole one of the Wallace Trail display boards installed on the Royal Oak windows by the Development Trust.

Literally dozens of our local community, greatly aided and abetted by South Lanarkshire Council, have for several years now, been undertaking the work required to restore Castlebank Park to being the iconic garden showpiece that it once was. In an effort, presumably, to show their absolute contempt for such a magnificent community effort, some low-life chose to dump nearly 100 old vehicle tyres into the gully there. How desensitised to common decency is it possible to get?

And then, there is that bane of ramblers, hikers and lovers of the great outdoors everywhere, the zombie dog-walkers who believe they have an inalienable human right to leave the steaming turds left by their beloved canines exactly where it landed, because as everyone knows, it is very good for the grass – and the road – and the pavement – and the weans should know better than to step on it anyway! Even worse, if anything worse is possible, there are the ‘thoughtful’ dog-owners who DO pick up their pooch’s poo in a plastic poke, and then toss it into the nearest bush or tree to hang there until doomsday!

It was my intention to say a few words about the chewing-gum and fag-ends that do so much to make our town look so endearing, but I grew so depressed just thinking about it and had to take a paracetamol and have a lie down. Maybe another time!

… there’s a Yang!


Frank Gunning shares his views on various local issues in his Let's Be Frank column.