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Tuesday 9 October 2018

Backscratchers Inc.

Ever experienced an itch on your back, just beyond your arm's reach? Oh, how it irritates, tingles and distracts you! You rub your back against a rough wall, snagging your favorite jacket, but you cannot be bothered about such trivialities when that particular spot on your back is the center of all your focus. The wall helped temporarily but the itch is back again. Neither your pen nor the longest kitchen ladle helps reach that exact spot of annoyance.
And along comes a messiah, it could be your spouse, kid, parent, best pal and you beg for that wave of magic to alleviate the itch - a good, long back scratch! 
The involuntary sigh of relief that escapes you makes you understand exactly how a flea-ridden dog would feel when he is given a good scratch! You feel indebted and you promise to return the favor if the need ever arises.
You also decide to order yourself a back up, the tool back scratcher. Somehow it slips your mind as other matters take precedence once the itch is diverted. Anyway you could always misplace a back scratcher even if you bought one, just like a working pen or a scrap of paper that you can never find when you need them most.

Well, after beating about the bush, let me come to my point, which is, never underestimate the power of a back scratching associate or being a back scratcher yourself
I don't know but there might even be some kind of ground-breaking research going on at Ivy league colleges on how back scratching is a basic human instinct for self-preservation and growth.
When the great king XYZ was feeling low, the courtiers cheered him up with paeans sung in his honor and soon the king was happy - bags of gold flung at the courtiers! That's back scratching with perks! 
Remember how as a kid if you had to make new friends, you spoke nicely and shared your special lunch with them? Those kids reciprocated when they learned you were a nerd with flair for math or maybe because your mum made really yummy lunch! 
Not much changes when you get older. 
Are you bending backwards on your job and that too to no yield? Talent, hard work, sincerity, integrity, honesty...blah, blah are keys to success no doubt but a li'l knack with this talent may give you that extra push. Back scratching helps you break the ice in a new office, elevates your equation with your boss. 

All you have to do is scratch the right back, the right way...too little and it aggravates the itch, too much and you're scratching the skin off the back.

I'd regard back scratching as an art in itself. There are amateur back scratchers who will go about their task blatantly, making it all too obvious and over the top. And there are masters of the craft, going about the act with subtlety. You must be an au naturel back scratcher, do it so suavely that you get the desired results with none the wiser of your tact. THAT is pure artistry!

If you thought that this gratifying process was limited only to corridors of corporate or political power, you are mistaken. At every corner, at every stage of your life you'll encounter this. It could be the maid buttering you up with that extra bit of elbow grease in the hope of better pay and you praising her to get that extra shine on your brassware. A lady waxing lyrical about how she finds the teacher so intellectually stimulating and inspiring in the hope that her child can win some brownie points in that teacher's class. It could be a couple manipulating each other to get the best out of their relation...back scratching is omnipotent.

I don't get the negativity associated with the term, "back-scratching". Being called a back scratcher, a suck-up, a chamcha, a butterer, is so hypocritical! Hey, no one stopped the person next to you from doing nice things to get a leg-up, now did they? Any one and everyone is free to join the back scratching venture. 
If you think about it, it is a kind of barter system, after all. Didn't they say, "As you sow, so shall you reap," yeah, so you are doing nice things for someone in the hope that the favor will be returned. Overall a positive outcome, a means to an end, I'd say.

Of course consistency is key here. You've got to sustain the same level of indulgence and enthusiasm that you started out with throughout the back scratching process, that has special points you see. Abruptly withdrawing from the scheme you set rolling, just proves detrimental in the long run. (Again imagine, someone who started giving you a good back scratch stopped suddenly, not a nice feeling, is it?)

The beneficiary or scratchee (my dictionary points out there is no such word, oh well, indulge me!) in this process, enjoys a good massage to his ego and confidence. How many people out there to boost you and how many out there to pull you down? Do the math. 
Obviously the scratchee wants, no needs, a scratcher
Scratcher-Scratchee, a totally symbiotic relationship. (My 7th grade science teacher would be so proud I still remember that term!) 

I shall also hasten to warn you that the relationship between fellow scratchers is generally far from cordial. It is just like any other competition, he who scratches best bags the trophy
Beware of back-stabbers while you are in the back-scratching competition, watch your back. Funny how this part of the anatomy is always in contention.

To summarize, 
Back scratching at the most basic level, say between friends can be a mutually profitable activity. 
Back scratching in a competitive environment can be beneficial too if the concerned parties negotiate to work in tandem towards a greater cause.
Back scratching the superior or one in power could work in your favor provided you do it the right way.

Now, armed with all this back up, get back into the game with your best back scratchin' mode on and reap the benefits of your new found wisdom. And while you're at it, make sure you watch your back.


Disclaimer: The above post has been authored on a lighter vein for literary purposes only. All the opinions expressed are the author's own and should not be taken as expert advice!

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