The Idiot’s Guide

I read the manual on how to be a human being, you know. I studied it from cover to cover. I read it twice. I watched the e-learning tutorial on my laptop and I learned a lot. I learned plenty. I learned the right things to say, the right brand of clothing to wear, the right attitude to have, and all that sort of stuff. I bought the book in Easons on Shop Street – The Idiot’s Guide To Being A Human Being! ‘How hard can it be?’ I asked myself. Everyone else seems to be able to do it okay!


That thought was my downfall however. It all started to go pear-shaped very shortly after that. Pride comes before a fall, isn’t that what they say? The old sayings are always the best, aren’t they? The old ones are the good ones.


Being a human being is a hell of a lot trickier than it looks on the outside, as I soon learnt to my cost. Just because everyone else can do it without any apparent bother doesn’t automatically mean that you can too! Why would it mean that? That’s a false inference. Life is tricky enough anyway without making a whole bunch of false inferences. Or without making even only one, for that matter, if it’s a big enough one. Even one false inference can sink you.


So that’s my situation – everyone else is able to be a human being, apparently without any difficulty at all, apparently effortlessly, yet I can’t. I’m struggling. More than just struggling, I’m failing. People love that word don’t they? Oh you are a such a failure. ‘Failure failure failure failure failure failure’, go the echoes in my head. You’re a sad failure and so that’s it. It’s all in the word, isn’t it? What more needs to be said? No point in over-egging the pudding – there’s no point in over-egging the pudding because then it turns out to be a pretty shitty pudding! Pretty damn shitty altogether…


So here I am struggling away like anything behind the mask, trying to figure out how to be a person, trying to work out what it means to be a person, and the mask is stretched very thin. It’s stretched as tight as a drum skin. It’s stretched so very tight that is not even a mask any more – it’s very far from being a mask because it’s not covering up anything! Far from covering up the struggle, it’s actually highlighting it! It’s putting me under the spotlight, it’s putting me under the magnifying glass! Everyone can see my struggle.


Everyone else gets to be human being automatically, without seeming to make any struggle at all, and yet here I am engaged in a titanic struggle and I’m not even coming close! My failure is written large in large letters all over my face! No wonder people are repelled and horrified and disgusted when they see me! No wonder they avoid me like the plague – my situation is just too hideous to behold and so no one wants to know…


It’s is very important to cope, you know. That’s what my therapist taught me – he patiently taught me that it’s extremely important to cope. If you can’t cope then that automatically makes you a bit of a failure, doesn’t it? That cruel phrase echoes nastily around my head – ‘bit of a failure bit of a failure bit of a failure bit of a failure bit of a failure’. When you visibly fail in your sad attempts to pretend to be a human being then just what the hell does that make you?






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