My Nana always told me, “Stop pulling faces kiddo. If the wind changes your face will stick like that”. But it didn’t, not even when the wind changed. I like pulling faces: I did then and I do now. Nana was the kindest of the people I want to talk about: the people who say ‘stop’.
“Stop doing that or you’ll go blind”: Well I never stopped and I never went blind (and my palms are utterly devoid of hair). What motivated you to foist this untruth on me? Did an adolescent’s sexuality intimidate you?
“Stop after that one, you’re getting drunk”: Before I was 16 years old this might have been a fair warning, these things creep up on the inexperienced. But as an adult I think you can assume that if I keep ordering drinks it’s not because I am fascinated by the different flavours.
Special mention must be made of the commonest stop phrase. I’ve been told this by close friends and utter strangers, scholars and beggars: “Stop smoking it’s bad for you”. People like you passed legislation that all cigarette boxes have warnings on them, just in case there was someone like me, who had by some miracle, missed decades of public information programs addressing the dangers of smoking. Do you really believe that my decision to smoke is rooted in ignorance of the health risks?
For all of these people, those who choose to instruct me, I have a simple message: “Stop!”