Not all witches are ugly. That may sound like an odd thing to say, but it carries a certain truth. When we were young, it was easy to tell the good from bad. Villains were easy to spot. Witches were ugly, robbers wore a mask and monsters looked like monsters. Con men would invariably sport a long thin moustache, constantly sharpening the tips between finger and thumb. The people we could trust were just as easy to find. Policemen, doctors, bank managers, politicians, and the like. Their job was to look after our safety, well-being, the laws, and our money.
As long as these people held close to their stereotype, we were safe. If an ugly witch offered you a delicious-looking apple, you didn’t take it. The world appeared black and white with simple to understand rules. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we find that the world isn’t so simple after all. The lines between good and bad have become blurred. Who can we trust? That question is becoming more and more difficult to answer. Sometimes, doctors can do more harm than good. Politicians can steal our money whilst at the same time standing behind a podium telling us that we’ve never had it so good. Bank managers will only give money to people who don’t need it.
I watch newsreaders tell me that a riot is mostly peaceful whilst the world burns around them. I find that my version of reality is constantly being challenged. Up is down and down is up. The history I learned in school is constantly being rewritten. Many of my heroes have been renamed as villains. It has become my job to carry the burden of guilt for people born many hundreds of years ago. In some ways I am guilty. In Victorian days, young children were put to work in the mills and cleaning chimneys. As appalling as that sounds, I have a phone whose battery is made of minerals mined by children. Even some of the clothes and shoes I wear were probably made by children. Perhaps it’s about time for a reset. A time to make witches ugly again.