Over the last few weeks I’ve felt like a football fan who doesn’t own all the fancy telly channels, trying to dodge the final score of last night’s match. Creating a local media blackout amidst a general election is not an easy thing to manage but I’ve got pretty close. On Saturday though someone, went and spoilt it and told me all about the impending, down with the kids, extravaganza…
Oh dear! You know, there are so many times in life when I pray that I have got something wrong, sadly, I rarely do, well except for romance and money where I’m the village idiot. The great, mostly well meaning, event turned into exactly what I predicted, another back slapping exercise for the people doing it and yet another case of people preaching to the mostly converted. A couple of genuinely talented people were there but mostly it was the usually pathetic attention seekers in search of yet another platform to make an exhibition of themselves. The stuff I know about some of those show offs would make your toes curl, and yet there they are again… doing their bit for the community. And there is that word again, community, in this case it’s the same definition as it usually is, them (whichever them it is) and their mates. The hearts and minds that are needed, the kids on the estates, the ones working for piss all in supermarkets, the ones whose horizons don’t include higher education beyond the vindictive teenage play pens to corral the niets, the people and votes they need aren’t here, they took one look at the kids playing, the old sods dragging out their usual stuff and, Christ on a bike! Poetry!!!!! They look at this self indulgent wank and think…. Well, something very rude and dismissive. And so, there is a bit of a crowd, maybe bit of a buzz, and the planners feel dead chuffed with themselves. But, and how many times do I need to repeat this? IT’S THE WRONG PEOPLE! That lot, they were going to vote anyway, you need the ones who don’t.
Now the first thing any these people aways say to me is something along the lines of, “you think you are so clever, you do something” (well actually I do plenty but they are all too self absorded to notice) The simple answer to that is the first thing to do is to get the whole lot of them to fuck off and stay fucked off and that, unsurpringly, is where you lose them. One of the big problems come when people fail to understand when their help is neither wanted nor needed because the people they are really doing whatever for, deep down, is themselves. If you want to help, find an expert and give them the money, if you want to put on a show, do it for yourself and let it stand or fail on its own merits without hiding behind a cause. If you are feeling bad about yourself, find a decent psychotherapist, if you are bored, buy a jigsaw puzzle. If you sit in a room with a bunch of poorly adjusted people trying to sort out their problems vicariously through ‘unfortunates’ of some kind and tell them they mustn’t show off or attract any attention to themselves, see what you get. It won’t be pleasant.
Sadly, there is a running theme amongst those who gravitate towards the community and social work spheres and that is that they are choc full of people whose lives are a complete and utter disaster. I’m not sure if it’s because they are so busy trying to fix other people’s lives that they don’t sort out their own trainwrecks of existences or because they can’t face dealing with their own messed up lives and find it easier to try and fix those of others. They become addicted to getting involved, they can’t stop themselves, even when it is the last thing that they should be doing.
After the predictable first question above comes the statement, you are so…. (Delete as applicable) negative/cynical/pessimistic. In truth, I am the exact opposite. I am continually expecting that people will act in a selfless, thoughtful, considerate, polite and decent manner. The problem is that they so rarely do, which is what upsets me. Whether it is people making a nuisance of themselves, being antisocial, causing hurt, causing harm, demeaning or patronising other people, I keep expecting them to stop, realise what they are doing and act like decent, grown up, people… but they never, ever, do. There is always an excuse, always a deflection always a smart arsed reply or even an out and out bare faced lie. Yet, despite of that, I am always expecting people to be better than they really are, if that’s not optimistic, I don’t know what it.
So, if you feel the urge to do something, anything, to help whoever or whatever, then please think long and hard about what you are doing. Is it helping, will it hurt anyone, will it distract from something more important? If all you truly want is for people to like you or think you are a good person, then stop right now. If you need a pat on the back, go and crawl under a cow’s arse and wait.