At a certain point in a man’s life he begins to seriously look at himself. I say man because women have been looking at themselves, and then crying, years before men. Okay, okay a person begins to look at themselves. We realise we are no longer the strong, confident teenagers we once were, the teenagers who knew exactly what the world was all about, how it worked, where to get served despite being underage and who exactly to avoid as a result of that fabled rummage round the back of a local community centre. As we get just a little bit older we begin to notice how little things make sense, we notice all the things that maybe irritated us before now seem like massive, sweary, disgusting monsters shitting on our values. You analyse how you fit into all this madness, how you react to it and thus how it has shaped you and if you’re very lucky you’ll find the answer and rest assured that you’re not a horrible little man. Alas, I cannot say the same.
Yes I have become what I can only deem a wholly unpleasant human being. Don’t get me wrong I’m a perfectly nice person to have as a friend, I hold my friends in the highest possible regard. The only problem is there are only two categories in life now, friend and bastard. There’s no middle ground any more, everyone you love is a saint, everyone else in the entire world is a ballbag. You can notice the tell tale signs of becoming an embittered unpleasant human being you just can’t do anything about it. Have you ever found yourself wishing death on people in the street? Not just going “oo that’s a bit irritating” when someone comes to a dead halt for no apparent reason on the high street but actually fervently and earnestly willing some terrible fate to befall them. Have you perfected a sneer, incorporating it unknowingly into your every day so that you don’t even realise you’re doing it anymore? You know, when friends and family members ask you what’s wrong or if something has happened when you thought you were smiling. Do you start envisioning screaming children as oversized footballs and shop windows as goal mouths? If the answer to any or all of these questions is a ‘yes’ then join the miserable ranks my friend.
At least if these things have only just occurred to you, you can take solace in the fact that it’s the years wearing you down and that maturity has finally kicked you up the arse (not much solace but you get the message). For myself, and many others like me I would imagine, this is a world view we have been cultivating and suffering from for many years. Even as a child I was considered to be a miserable old bastard. I distinctly remember my violin teacher telling me when scales were mentioned I would shoot her a look that suggested I wouldn’t mind seeing her in bits. It’s an ugly thing to have to confront at such a tender age. It’s not easy to hate everything you know. It’s not easy to nearly come to blows over a Beatles song over dinner. It’s not easy to earn the nickname Grandad at the age of 14. Please be patient with me World, scorn is all I know!
The best part is when new friends or colleagues begin to notice the depths of your squinty-eyed rage. At first they won’t quite believe how things that are supposed to niggle at a person have actually taken root in your very soul and are slowly poisoning you. Then they start to wonder how a person can conduct their lives when they seem to be unable to extract joy from anything. It’s not that bad new friends and colleagues, it just looks it! The thing is, for us unpleasant angry types, in a world where banks and mobile phone adverts want to be your friend (Shut up T-Mobile we’re not going to go for a drink or anything. You don’t know me!) it’s hard to imagine a saner reaction. It seems to me that bitterly finding the faults in every little thing makes the world go round. You never see vast, sweeping changes in world governance or human rights come about as the result of grinning positive thinkers. If you did hippies would still exist. No political party ever won anything on a manifesto of “Everything’s cool but wouldn’t it be nice if…” No, no ,no. By seething and gnashing our teeth while tearing apart every little thing we are keeping this world on its toes. Through our unrelenting refusal to be satisfied we are actually the purist idealists of all. No dangerous ideals can buy or sell the united forces of miserable bastards (or UFMB) because we were born world-weary. We’ll one day change the world through the sheer power of complaining, where will your wide-eyed optimism get you? Hmm? HMM?
Either believe all that nonsense or accept that such unpleasant human beings exist just for the sake of it. That one’s up to you.