You shouldn’t worry about what others think

It only affects every aspect of your life.

Often, we are told not to spend so much time worrying what others think about us. It only matters what you (the person in question) thinks. Unfortunately, this is yet another thing that doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny. You should definitely worry what others think of you. What others think will decide how you progress in your chosen career (or more likely the career that you tripped and fell face first into and now have to live with forever). What others think of you will determine your relationships and subsequently your family life. Every aspect of your future is reliant on the whims and thoughts of others.

Which brings me onto my point.

We spend our entire lives forced to prove ourselves. First, it’s fairly easy, we must learn to control our bladders. Strangely, we’re the only creature on the planet that does this except for maybe the domesticated dog, but that’s only because we’ve forced it on them. Around the same time, it’s walking and talking.

Then comes school. This is the first of an endless string of proving grounds. You must prove your academic prowess…

*Side note* for those that are interested, the following paragraph is very much a message in one of the amazing short stories written by the great Watergipridget.

You must constantly prove your ability to read words and then to write words. Then you must prove you can grasp the arbitrary rules that surround the notion of words. Let’s be frank. Grammar is shit. For any self-confessed Grammar Nazis out there: not only are you a twat, but the very thing you hold dear was laid down by old dead men and subject to the whims of humanity. The rules of grammar are dictated by use. If we all decided the semi-colon belonged after an ‘n’, then by god this blog would look preposterous.

As you strive to prove you’ve obtained the basics of pedantry, you must simultaneously prove you’ve grasped the deliberately confusing world of numbers and their relationships. “A stall at the fair is selling punnets of strawberries containing 15 strawberries for £2.40 each. How much is each individual strawberry?” – What kind of fair is this? If they’re being sold by the punnet, what’s the point in knowing how much each individual strawberry is? No one’s going to try and by three strawberries.

You must prove yourselves in high pressured exams where you are awarded with letters that follow you around for the rest of your days.

But it doesn’t stop there. If your letters are good you can’t relax after losing your childhood to school. Then it’s the real world’s turn to run you through the ringer and then take a steaming hot turd on your chest. You must constantly prove that you are worthy of those letters against other people with similar or better letters.

You must prove yourself through job applications and then prove yourself in an interview. You must sit opposite strangers as they evaluate your life choices, your looks and your personality. What they think about those will determine whether you’re allowed the job. If you can prove you are better than others, then you can finally become a valued member of society and start earning money.

But it doesn’t stop there.

You can’t relax and think, ‘finally, I can let go of this anxiety and start enjoying life.’ No, then you must constantly prove that it was not a mistake that the powers that be employed you. You have to prove that you deserve to be paid over the thousands of other humans and fairly intelligent lemurs that can do your job. You must work hard. Put the effort in. Put the hours in. You must succeed. It’s not enough to just turn up, which in itself is a challenge.

At this particularly gruelling stage, the fatigue starts to kick in. Your muscles burn (figuratively if it’s an office job, literally if your job is laborious) and your soul starts to weep (always figuratively, otherwise I recommend seeing a doctor). It’s here you start to realise the futility of it all. The criteria on which you are judged becomes arbitrary or downright insane.

Then there’s that weird quirk of humanity. Often, we dwell upon and remember the negative events of our pasts and lightly skim the positive. In the world of work this is turned up to the n;th degree, by which I mean to the point of absurdity. One day you could leap out the window and fall several stories in order to provide a soft landing for a baby dropped from a slightly higher floor. You’ll receive barely more than a nod of approval before receiving an email stating that the time spent saving babies will be taken out of your lunch break. A few weeks later you might fall foul of simple human error and you’re pulled into a disciplinary. ‘but I saved a baby?’ you will cry. ‘We can all save babies!’ they’ll respond.

You’ll start to question why you bother. There’s no benefit to this endless proving. You’ll be unable to explain why the people ahead of are ahead of you. They’re no less deserving than you, but nor are they calculably less competent. You’ll become despondent and even be tempted to slack. But you can’t. The minute you slow down you’ll be overtaken by those behind you.

At the end of these endless trials, when we have eventually ‘proven’ ourselves (with varying degrees of success) as much as we can, we are rewarded with death. It’s at this point you stop wondering if it’s worth all the fuss and realise that it definitely isn’t.

I’m a simple man. I’d quite like to spend my life sitting on a chair in contemplative silence (and the occasional scream of existential despair), every so often, I’d like to look out a window and maybe see a pigeon, though I could happily live without. I am denied that life as that would be too simple. No, I have to go out and ‘try my best’ as the television shows I watched as a child would tell me. You can do no more than your best. We’re all just trying our best and sometimes, our best just ain’t good enough.

I often wonder if I could be one of those people who reject modern life. Who gives up all material things and lives a life of quiet meditation. Then I realise that that’s impossible and the only people that truly manage it are eccentric rich men and odd monks who live in remote locations anyway, so they may as well reject the material because the nearest Apple shop is an expensive flight away.

We humans struggled with evolution. Really, we’re stuck in the tribal phase where ‘survival of the fittest’ meant just that. Those intent on proving themselves would charge around waving spears and bringing death and destruction to those that couldn’t prove anything. I’d have let them get on with it. I’d say ‘no more of this madness’ and sit down and look out a window. Those that could prove themselves did, and those that couldn’t died.

On the surface, we’re civilised now. Those that can’t don’t die. Instead, we linger on.

We keep going,

Hoping for the best

Think not too deeply on these words

I say them just in jest

Don’t let them tell you, you ain’t worth spit

because you failed their test,

After all, we’re all the same

Just some are better dressed.

Note: I have no internet, so had to tether to my phone. To save precious data I didn’t go looking for funny pictures.

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Time is somewhat shorter

Tomorrow is the 30th, which theoretically means the next day will be the first of May. May is a month I always forget, in my mind it goes: January, February, March, April, June, July…. May interrupts the flow. We should just get rid of it and pad February and August out a bit. However, that would make it seem as time is going even quicker than it currently is, which brings me on to my point: time is going too fast.

Tuesday will herald in the start of the fifth month. We’ll bid a tearful farewell to April and plunge head first into whatever shit May brings our way. It’s utterly terrifying. Just yesterday it was Christmas. The week before I was sixteen and my band had just won Hertfordshire’s under 18s Battle of the Bands. I had written a novel I was sure was going to be a best seller and could say with some degree of confidence that I was definitely going to star in a few blockbuster movies.

This year I turn twenty-seven. The band’s guitarist is putting on weight at an alarming rate, the drummer is having a child and I’m fairly certain the bassist died… perhaps in some sort of unexpected golfing accident. I realised my novel was shit so wrote some other, decidedly less shit ones which got rejected by multiple agents, and I was an extra in the Theory of Everything. It’s a film I have yet to actually watch and have no intention of watching. I don’t understand biopics. They’re either embellished to the point of pure fantasy or boringly accurate. Ultimately, we know how they’re going to end. Also, since watching Game of Thrones I can rarely get into anything that doesn’t involve a sword fight or gratuitous nudity. I doubt a biopic of the late great Stephen Hawking has any of that.

The point is, none of my dreams show the remotest chance of coming true. Which is fine, if we all achieved our dreams the economy would be in a state of disarray. But my next ‘big birthday’ is 30. We all know this is where the clock really starts ticking if you’ve not achieved anything interesting and/or don’t have a partner or indeed any sign of finding one (all of those are true for me). People in their forties might shake their head and tut at this, but that’s only because they’re living in denial. 30s is the beginning of the end. It’s all just a matter of waiting for death by that stage.

Having started a job (a fairly good one, but it’s too early to claim it’s a career yet), time is rocketing by at such a pace I am destined to wake up one morning and catch a glimpse of a haggard, heavily bearded man clad in ragged and rotting clothes. I’ll look into his worn and dead eyes and see me as a youthful man trapped inside, weeping. I will then scream and run outside and get hit by the bus of the future, which still won’t be flying, and a single will cost £450 in future money.

The weekdays zoom by, despite being at work, which is a notoriously dull place (again I quite like my job, but still). The weekends are gone in an instant. I go for a poo on a Friday evening and when I emerge it’s Sunday afternoon, Monday’s looming over me and I haven’t topped the electricity meter up.

Soon it will be summer, the worst of all the seasons and then it’ll me Christmas again, the worst of all the celebrations. I will have no more time to write shit unpublished novels, having time to find a love interest and then devoting time to the unnecessary convoluted human mating ritual will be but a mere fantasy and before I know it, I’ll be writing another half arsed blog about how my next birthday is 28, and things still annoy me.

Then one day, I’ll realise I’m 86 and that it’s time to die. Death will come wandering in, I’ll get up to try and nut him, but dislocate a hip. And he’ll say, ‘You know, it only feels like last week I saw you being born when I was passing through the hospital to geriatric wards.’

I’ll ask him if I’ve led a good life.

He’ll say I’ve led a distinctly average one.

 

 

 

 

Movies and Their Overcompensating Sound!

I both love and hate watching movies. Interesting characters, thrilling plots and fine acting are all well and good, but whoever’s in charge of the sound ruins it for me. Those fucking sound guys.

Movies have been around for ages, so why hasn’t this aspect been perfected for home viewing? What I’m saying is, why is every sound effect and blast of music so damn loud and the dialogue mumbled? To get important character development and integral plot points I have to turn my TV up to about a million at which point the sound track kicks in and one of the guys who lives up stairs falls through the ceiling. Admittedly, they’re really fat and loud and are as heavy footed as a T-Rex wearing platform boots made of lead, so they’re always falling through the ceiling, but that’s not the point.

Why are the words of various protagonists delivered in barely audible whispers, but the creaking of a door loud enough to make my ears bleed? There doesn’t seem to be a setting to balance this, and by setting I mean a number, I’m not fucking about with overly complex sound systems, I just want to watch movie late at night without convincing the town that WWIII has finally kicked off, but still be able to hear what’s going on. I mean, I know realistically that a gunshot will be significantly louder than someone muttering exposition to someone else and many gunshots will create a bigger racket, but I’m watching Robert Downy Jr. flying around in a metal suit powered by some sort of reactor in his chest and punching a metal armed mopey kid who has been brain washed by Nazis, so realism has pretty much gone out the window.

It’s fine when you’re in a cinema with lots of other people who have paid to see a film so some noise is expected, but what about us people who can’t sleep at night and have angry neighbours?

This is not a flaw evident in action flicks either. I was watching The Truman Show last night at roughly 11:43 PM. Whilst this is unquestionably one of the best films ever made and I’ll fight anyone that says otherwise, it suffers the same flaw. Unable to hear the dialogue, I turned it up until I could just about hear the dialogue, at which point young Truman and his fake dad were caught in a storm, possibly the loudest storm ever. It was a manufactured storm yes, but the point still stands. With each flash of lighting and subsequent bark of thunder I felt the floor shake and my innards vibrate with such intensity my kidneys exploded.

So, I hastily turned it down. Then once the storm was over, I couldn’t hear what the fuck anyone was saying, so I turned it up again. At which point the soundtrack made itself known and the army turned up looking for Godzilla.

I know the composer of the soundtrack and the sound effects guys don’t actually get to appear in the films, so need to make their mark some how, but come on guys, you’re in the credits, is that not enough? We know you’re there and you do a good job, just… shhh.

Why? Why is this so? Why can’t we get sub-settings on films like you get on video games, where you can turn the dialogue up, whilst turning the rest of the shit way down where it belongs? I get that it all adds to the adrenaline pounding experience, but I’m very unlikely to miss important pieces of information if I miss one gunshot. Stop it movies! We get it, you like loud noises, but I tend to watch my films late at night where no one likes loud noises, so I want you to change everything just for me.

Good, now that’s out of my system I should probably go look for a job.