The assumption of success (or why I never do the lottery)

There is this amusing little theory floating around that one day I shall be incredibly rich and successful. I must say, it is one that I find laughable at best and soul crushingly depressing at worst. The irony is, for everything I’ve been asked to sign, for every prep sketch that has been whisked away, for every wall of Chris paintings or drawer full of pristine Chris merchandise that even I don’t own one of any more, there are an equal or greater number of paintings with feet through, drawings torn up, art show props smashed up and binned and even a mural painted over. It’s probably a good job I don’t take any of this old wank seriously or It would probably send me mad(der). On this cold and lonely Saturday evening as I sit frantically making bears, looking like a lop sided hamster due to an impacted wisdom tooth, contemplating the obligatory six month wait to get it extracted on the national health, I must admit that I wish the theoretical success would hurry up and arrive. I’ve never been one of those people who had anything handed to them, quite the opposite in fact, with a deeply poor and working class background of parents and circumstance that acted like millstones upon shackles around each proverbial limb I had to fight and claw every inch of the way against the inertia of a family that wanted me to leave school at 16 and work in a bank. (Oh boo hoo pass the hanky). I do work bloody hard though and people do seem to appreciate that, particularly in a town full of big mouths and little talent but, really, what does that mean? I gave up on any notion of fairness a long time ago. There is no natural justice in the world and from Tony Blair down to the shitbag gossips who caused me grief a few years back, they never get the smiting that they so richly deserve. It is not out of bitterness or envy that I say any of this but pragmatism, any fortune or good luck I have has been made for myself. It would be foolish to rely on anything else. 

There was a joke I heard many years ago and it went something like this…

A man was walking along by the edge of a cliff when he slid on a patch of wet grass and went over. Luckily for him, he grabbed on to a clump of root poking out of the cliff face and managed to hang on. After a short while a face peeked over the cliff top and a passing hiker stuck out his hand to pull up the dangling man, “oi mate! Take my hand and I will pull you up” The man on the cliff face shook his head and shouted ” it’s ok, the Lord will save and protect me” The hiker scratched his head in disbelief and eventually shrugged his shoulders and went on his way. A similar thing happened with a lady walking her dog and then a young couple but the man hanging on still refused maintaining that the Lord would protect him. Then, along flew a helicopter, one of those big yellow ones the rescue services use and they hovered right in front of him but he refused to let the rescue services pick him up. After many hours of refusing assistant, the tree root finally tore away and the man fell to his death on the rocks below… When he reached heaven, he was really pissed off and he complained loudly. “Why didn’t the Lord save me?” A mystified St Peter replied ” well… God sent you a clump of tree root, a hiker, a dog walker, a young couple…..”

Crap joke but there is a point to it, help often doesn’t come from where you expect it to and you have to make the best of what you have. You have to also be a bit brave because, whatever anyone says to the contrary, many people don’t want others to succeed, certainly not more than they do anyway. They want you stuck in the mire with them where you don’t make them look or feel bad, there are the odd gem of a person who isn’t like that and if you find one of them you are truly lucky, treat them with the preciousness they deserve. Others though should be kept well away before their needs swamp yours and they have taken everything from you and left you flailing in the dirt.

I remember when the national lottery first started in the uk in the mid nineties. It was the first time anyone could win life changing amounts of money. I tried doing it maybe three times and then stopped.  I had spent the millions in my head getting myself out of the miserable situation I was in before the draw even started. So that when it dawned on me that I had not won, that fool’s hope ate away at me. Hope is such a dangerous thing if it is not tethered to any form of reality. With every idea I have and every thing I make a point of not hoping, I just keep my head down and move on tot the next thing on the list to do. 

Maybe one day  I will hit on something to create that will allow me to tale a deep breath and relax a little, knowing that the money will start rolling in, but until that day I have no choice but to keep plodding on.


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