So after dozing for an hour I decided to get on with it. Get up, do stuff, you know the drill. It was Sunday for fuck’s sake.
I’ve done stuff, eaten and about to do coffee which is questionable given how my body has been reacting to the black god recently. And I’ve caught up on some net. The one about how to live a moderately successful life on The Guardian motivated me to drag out the quill and ink.
So we all know the secrets of highly successful people since there are about 12 zillion web pages devoted to emulating Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Well maybe not.
And now we also know that having a good job, with a few highlights on the side like loving companions and respectable artistic achievements is only moderately successful. Only. Word to Emer, a lot of people would die for even some of that. I suspect an awful lot.
What a load of middle class indulgent bollicking effluence. Eat three meals a day; go tell it to someone in Eritrea or Ethiopa or any of the other 320 countries in the world where the average national GDP per capita is below the worldwide average of about $14,000 US per annun.
As for the rest, well that’s a long way down the list of life’s essentials.
Now I know Emer is writing to a largely well healed middle class living in a first world economy and within those parameters I should extend a grain or two of salt.
So I’ve given the matter about 20 seconds of reflection and decided these are the secrets to living a shitty unsuccessful life spectacularly punctuated by wild ambition and flights of fantasty but ultimately weighed down by certain facts of life.
Be born well off. Most important. Avoid being born in any of the previously mention 320 countries in the world where life is already a struggle. You aren’t helping them or yourself.
Better still be born rich. End of story. Wait for your life to be delivered.
Get educated about how the world is supposed to work but remain ignorant about how the world really works. This is also crucial for those who want to live a bitterly unsuccessful life plagued by unanswerable moral questions and situational paradoxes. Like why if capitalism is so good are there so few really lucky people and a shitload of very unlucky people? And can’t we do better?
Be marginalised. That’s easy for half the population who are born into it. But for bonus points you could also have some distinctive racial characteristics. Skin colour is another easy pathway to a less than stellar life experience.
Listen to people who tell you to work hard and always say please and thankyou. Manners may be considered old fashioned but they certainly let the ruling class know when they are dealing with a suitable polite member of the serving class. And like they always said, the devil finds work for idle hands. So keep yourself busy. Opening doors and putting out the trash. maybe in your spare time you can knit a sweater or fix a door.
Make bad decisions. I can’t stress how important this is. If you really want to die full of regret, anguish and self pity it is important that you get into the habit early and stick with it. A word of warning however. While it’s good practice to get used to making dumb decisions early, like at school when you decide to hang out with the groovy kids instead of doing actual school work what is crucial is the ability to make certain really dumb decisions at crucial point in your life. Like deciding the dropkick dickhead who got you pregnant at 16 really is the only one for you and yes you will devote the best years of your life to bringing up his child. Or maybe you’ve reached the middle years and decide that the last 15 to 20 years was so easy you can smash it all and start again.
And this readers, is the crux. Sometimes shitty things happen because we let them happen, sometimes they happen because other people make them happen and sometimes they just happen. And they happen again. Dodging them is easier for some people who can spot them coming and have the luxury of ability and the resources to avoid them hitting them dead centre but the rest of us just have to clean up as best we can and keep going. To have a really unsuccessful and shitty life, just be in the wrong places at the wrong times for the wrong reasons.
Because if life was fair, we would all be eating cake.