Telling It Straight

This is my second response to the Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were given Operator by Jim Croce and asked:

If you could call anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?

I did my main response to this prompt yesterday, but before I thought of my sci-fi piece I thought of a straighter answer to the question. I’ll start with a small poem:

When choosing who to speak to,
I ended in a fix,
Just who on earth to seek out,
To bring into the mix.

I think a politician,
Desire to change their lot,
The David fought Goliath,
Defeated with slingshot.

About the conversation,
I would have to reflect,
One thing, though, that is certain,
I’d place my call collect.

Okay, first off, I’d have to choose what type of person I’d call.

  • Family?

Well, I would always have liked to have had a grown-up chat with my dad. He was around all through my childhood but I left home, he got early-onset dementia… So we never just had any man-to-man talks.

But I guess we would all like to speak to relatives we lost, to have some chat or other. And I wanted to maybe look for a more unique answer.

  • Singer / Songwriter?

Musicians have been very influential to me. Head and shoulders above them all is Bob Marley, who was very political. In fact, it was because Bob sang about such important issues that he was that cut above.

But I can’t help wondering with a musician, once you’ve had that “I really like your music” conversation, where does it go? I have a funny feeling that conversations with most musicians would be disappointing.

  • Politician?

I’m on much more fertile ground with politics. In fact there rapidly become too many to pick. Somebody who had a vision to change the world. My shortlist would include

Nelson Mandela.

I think when I’m on my deathbed I’ll look back at apartheid as the biggest struggle in my lifetime. Maybe alternatively, someone like Steve Biko, although I know a lot less about him.

Malcolm X

I think of Malcolm and Martin Luther King in the same breath, as centrepieces in the Civil Rights movement. But Malcolm was far more to my way of thinking. If a guy starts beating me, I’m not gonna turn around and say “please stop”. I’m gonna go get a gun, and shoot the motherfucker dead. But that’s just me.

Mahatma Gandhi

What more to say?

Michael Collins

This could be the name you never heard of. He was a main player in Ireland’s struggles to be free from the UK. The struggle that was finally successful. If I really had to narrow to one, Collins is probably the person I’d choose simply because I have a more personal connection with Ireland than I do with the USA, India or South Africa.

But Collins was more of a soldier than a politician. Do soldiers have much interesting to say? I don’t know. Maybe in that conflict, better one of the great Republican thinkers? But that conflict lasted hundreds of years so if I really had to say “who”, I’d be stumped. Many of these people were writers anyhow so there’s another shared interest.

I think one things for sure, you’d almost have to be forensic in your preparation. Just so as not to be tongue-tied in their presence. So they don’t end up looking at you, thinking “who is this idiot?”

Lastly, did you notice how none of my shortlist are women? I did. I racked my brains to think of a woman in the same league as these people, but they all eluded me. While that’s mainly my fault, I guess it’s also because history has been written by men. Part of me would like to speak to any woman who successfully raised a family, and just ask them how they did it. Especially in the days when raising a family was essentially a woman’s job, and the man was off writing history books.


  1. I had to google to make sure I am not reading it wrong. Michael Collins was the one of the three astronauts who flew to the moon and back. So I guess I was stuck on believing the fact that their was another Michael Collins an Irish civil war leader.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. It’s quite difficult, I find, so find someone to really look up to. I bet Aus must have some admirable characters who fought for undependence at the time, although I don’t know any.


  2. Good choices, and yes, it is sad that women’s history was left out of the mainstream for so long, but what about Margaret Sanger (activist) or Amelia Earhart? Could be interesting to speak to Katherine G. Johnson-her mathematical calculations sent the first ‘man’ to space.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The other thing, when I typed “Sanger” into Google, I got a commercial hit (several)plus a guy called Frederick Sanger. Kinda illustrates my observation, don’t you think? But yeah, can you imagine a time when even contraception was illegal?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, because it’s still not accepted by the Catholic church which makes up 16% of people worldwide. Earhart definitely has a side to tell that isn’t known, at least I think.


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