Surreal Nonsensicality

I began my story in the usual way. I always begin my story in the usual way. I am essentially a creature of habit, I suppose you could say. I began my story by talking about the consumers and how happy they were. ‘The happy consumers were so happy’, I began, ‘they were so very happy because they were purchasing the product…’ I wanted to emphasise this point as much as I could so I repeated it a number of times. The happy consumers, the happy consumers, the happy consumers. So very happy, so very happy, so very happy. Everything was great, everything was great, everything was great. I was particularly keen to get this point across…


Nobody told me what life would be like when I first came into this world. I realise that this is a stupid thing to say but the sentiment is real. The feeling is authentic. The feeling is there inside me – it’s a kind of indignant feeling. Nobody told me what to expect, they just came out with loads of dumb crap. Is the sort of dumb crap people tell you when you are young and in need of instruction actually supposed to help you, I wonder? Does it have any practical value at all?  Or is it just some kind of meaningless ritual that we have to go through with – the meaningless ritual of passing on a whole bunch of dumb crap to the next unfortunate generation! I suspect that this is not too far from the truth…


The indignant feeling that I am experiencing isn’t so much about the fact that no one told me what to expect I suppose, but rather that I was completely and utterly misled about what to expect. I agree that it’s probably important to say something to children in order to give them some sort of support with regard to this business of ‘getting on with one’s life’, but what we are actually told is just kind of pathetic. My old headmaster, for example, used to go on and on about the importance of not letting the school down as we made our way around town wearing the sacred school uniform. The man was utterly obsessed with this point, I swear. It was almost an illness with him. It was an illness. He never tired of repeating it at every possible opportunity – it was some kind of talisman to him. Maybe it was a form of ‘magical thinking’ – i.e. if you can just make sure of this one thing then you won’t go too far wrong. If you can only manage not to bring the school into disrepute, then things can never get too bad. It’s important to have some type of magical thinking to hang onto, I suppose… Or rather, if you are a complete fucking idiot, it is!


Well, it’s important to listen to the wisdom of our elders, isn’t that right? We have to respect the profound depth of their experience, their worldly wisdom, and so on and so forth. But my point is that that your man was totally and utterly wrong – his message was the purest bullshit! Looking back, I can see that his message was actually the complete reverse of wisdom – he’d managed to get it completely back to front! You see, the thing (as we all know) is that once you leave school you realise that nothing you learnt there is of any importance at all. It’s all completely irrelevant. Your school – in my case Maidstone School for Boys – isn’t the sacred touchstone of wisdom and virtue that they would have liked us to believe it was. It wasn’t a moral and ethical basis or foundation from which to launch oneself bravely into life – it wasn’t any sort of basis at all. Far from being a basis or foundation, it was simply a short interlude in one’s life that is best characterised – in my view – by saying that it had no bearing on the rest of my life whatsoever. It was completely pointless, in other words.


If I were to say anything about the school ethos and its supposedly beneficial effect on me, the best thing I could say is that it was a period of my life that was marked by a kind of ‘surreal nonsensicality’. It was like a dysfunctional family in that respect, I suppose – you went along with it at the time because you didn’t know any different. You didn’t question it because you hadn’t realised that you could question it. But as soon as you get out of it you realise what a heap of horseshit it was. You think to yourself, ‘What the hell was that all about?’ Only you don’t think that. You don’t think that because you haven’t got time, because other matters are pressing themselves upon you. You forget all about that period of your life because you’ve got other things to think about – you’re too busy trying to adapt yourself to a world that you had been completely unprepared for. And when you’ve grown up it’s no different either, come to think of it. We’re still being told dumb crap from all sides. We’re drowning in it. We’re being given advice from the experts left, right and centre and not one of them would know their arse from a hole in the ground! Isn’t that the way?









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