Satire Fiction

Saying 'no' halts progress and kills hope

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Cartoon by Mark David/@markdavidcartoons

Opposing progress ensures that we stay stuck in the past, writes John Longhurst.

“NO… NO… Ron. No bloody way. Not on!”

Ron pursed his lips.

“Just think about it, Mick. It makes sense. Give it a go at least. If it does not work out, no harm done.”

Mick rubbed his bald head, wiped a film of perspiration from his brow and adjusted his new black-framed glasses:

“I’m saying No, Ron. I expect better, from at least you blokes. It starts off with a little "yes" here and there or even a "maybe" and before you know it, everything starts changing.”

Mick shook his head repeatedly and openly sighed when Bazza joined the group.

Bazza took a sip of the offered schooner and screwed his eyes:

“Best you stay out of this one, Bazza. You will be no help. Ron wants to change the morning tea roster down at the men’s shed.”

Ron bit his bottom lip:

“It just makes sense, Mick. You see if we change the roster, we can have fresh scones on a Monday, as opposed to day old scones on Tuesday.”

Mick leaned in:

“I hate to pull rank on you Ron, but I am the elected President of the Men’s Shed and my word is final. It’s a bloody big No. Now let’s move on.”

Bazza rubbed his chin:

“By gee you say "no" a lot, Mick.”

Murmurs of agreement.

Mick straightened his back and eyeballed Bazza:

No, I don’t, Bazza. I am just opposed to changing things when they are working well. A good "no" here and there keeps things intact. Otherwise, every new-fangled idea will be up and running, and before you know it, society falls apart. Tradition is at stake if we keep chopping and changing things.


If anything, Bazza, you say "yes" too often and that is why you are always in a minority in this pub. You make people nervous with the hare-brained ideas you obviously say "yes" to in fact, the less gracious amongst us call them "Bazzos". We just do not know what to expect from one week to the next.

More murmurs of agreement as Bazza half smiled:

Ah, Mick, you are like a one-person audience screaming back at an Angels Concert when they sing "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again". Saying "yes" a bit more often opens you up to opportunities and new experiences. It can lead to doing things in a more considered or even more efficient manner. We would still be living in caves if we said "no" to venturing outside.

A long silence before Bazza finished his schooner.

"Ah, my shout. How about we try one of these new craft beers Bella has put on tap?”

Saucepan eyes at Bazza.

“No way, get ******!”

John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.

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