Keep calm and carry that pint away for some peace
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Keep calm and carry that pint away for some peace

The latest terror attack in London was horrific.

The exploitation of the attack by all the usual suspects was depressing.

But at least we have Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man to inspire us and to remind us that in the midst of horror, there is always humanity. And humanity would really like to be left alone to finish a quiet pint.

Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man was caught on somebody's phone cam in the moments after three deeply inadequate losers drove a van into Saturday-night revellers and got stabby with kitchen knives to prove that their invisible friend was the most awesome invisible friend of all.

Pint-clutching man has become a symbol of London's defiance.

Pint-clutching man has become a symbol of London's defiance.

Photo: Sky News
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Look out for people rushing into danger, wanting to help, they tell us after events like this. It reminds us that we're not savages, that even in the worst moments we're attended by the better angels of our nature.

But I think that Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man does something just as important. He speaks, or rather walks and carefully minds what's left of his beer, for all of us who are pretty much over this shit.

In the image that went viral in the hours following the atrocity, it looks like Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man is not so much fleeing the murderous attack, as simply leaving, because he's over it.

He's had enough of this rubbish and he'll be on his way, if you don't mind, but he's not missing out on his drink. As I write this, we don't yet know the identity of Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man and it would be a wonderful thing if he stayed an international man of mystery … who really just wants to be left alone with his beer.

Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man is important because he knows what's important. Neither jihadi violence nor reactionary morons will keep him from his appointed round.

I'll bet he didn't care whether ISIS were just bigging themselves up by claiming responsibility for this shitshow. And he probably didn't even check Twitter for the inevitable frothing of the gigantic orange man baby in the White House.

Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man wouldn't even know who Pauline Hanson was, or why she's such a dangerous idiot in moments like this.

If he intends to vote in the British election later week, he'll probably cast his ballot for someone who doesn't try to turn this outrage to their own advantage. Because of that, he might not vote at all.

We can all learn something from Careful, Don't Spill My Beer Man.

John Birmingham

John Birmingham is a columnist and blogger for the Brisbane Times. He is also an award winning magazine writer and the author of Leviathan, the Unauthorised Biography of Sydney, which won the National Award for Non-Fiction. He amuses himself in his down time by writing novels which improve with altitude.

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