Sunday, 21 October 2012

35. I was using it as an example

"But I wouldn't want to be famous for the sake of it," argues Gin. "You ought to be famous for something, because you've contributed something to the human race, whether it's a song or you saved someone's life or discovered a new element in the periodic table -"

"Elements in the periodic table?" Amanda says. "What are you talking about? There's like a million elements and no-one is famous for discovering any of them. And why would you be famous for discovering something that is basically a rock anyway? Who's interested?"

Gin draws herself up to her full height of five feet three inches and says, with dignity: "I did not necessarily mean exactly discovering elements. I meant making a scientific discovery of benefit to mankind. I was using it as an example."

"Look, I've discovered Bourbonium," says Amanda, pouring another drink.

"How about if someone invented a teleporter? They'd be bloody famous for that. That's a scientific discovery that would benefit humankind. Steve Jobs is famous and all he basically did was make computers white and put an apple logo on them."

"How is it going to benefit humankind when Jeff Goldblum gets trapped in one with a fly? Because you know that's going to happen."

I sip my drink and think about being famous. I don't want fame. I would rather be anonymous. The idea of being a public figure, recognised wherever I go, scares and depresses me.

But I do want money. Money, money, money, like an invisible protective blanket, buying me time and freedom and safety. Buying me people to deal with unpleasantness so I don't have to look, and cleaners to clean up the shit so I never have to touch it again, and big men and steel doors to protect me. Buying me plane tickets at a moment's notice whenever I felt like running away and hotels wherever I want to go. Bringing all the physical and mental comfort and pleasure I need. Absolving me of the need to work every day. Life could be clean and simple and beautiful.

It's the same instinct, the avoidant instinct, that leads me to lie sometimes.

Most people lie, at least to some extent. In my opinion, people who say they don't lie are generally liars.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think of lying as a positive thing. I try not to do it. When I do do it, I feel guilty when I get away with it and embarrassed when I'm caught.

But you can learn a lot about yourself - about who you are, what you want, and what scares you - by looking at when and how you lie.

So when do I lie? I lie when I panic, when I've been caught out in a mistake or a failure. I lie when I'm afraid telling the truth would lead to the other person feeling let down or angry. I lie when I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. I don't outright lie to impress, but occasionally, if I am with someone who makes me feel insecure, I'll exaggerate. I also occasionally exaggerate when I get carried away with telling a story just because I want it to be a better story.

My instinct to lie tends to relate to other people and their thoughts and feelings rather than my own. In essence, I don't lie for gain or personal advancement, I lie to avoid - to avoid confrontation, to avoid feeling like I'm a failure, to avoid anger and disappointment, to spare everyone's feelings, because it's easier.

That's why I want money. Because it's easier. If you have enough money, you can live one step removed from all the crap in life.


  1. At least once in each vignette you post, I'm amazed at your insight.

    "Money, money, money, like an invisible protective blanket, buying me time and freedom and safety."

    You really have a way of distilling and conveying the ultimate essence of things.

    Please keep up the good work!


  2. Thank you Rob! I'm so pleased you're enjoying it :)