Social Camouflage

I was trying to figure out what all the other people were doing so I could do it too. What’s more, I was trying to figure out why they were doing what they were doing, so I could explain what I was doing just in case anyone asked. There is safety in numbers after all, as a wise man once said. If you see just one person doing something then don’t copy him because he’s probably off his head in some way. He could very well be a misfit you see – you wouldn’t know! If on the other hand you see everyone doing something then you’d better rush to do it too – you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything now would you? Plus, if everyone is doing something and you aren’t then that automatically makes you a bit of a misfit. By definition it does. The rules of the game are simple enough really – you just have to ‘get with the programme’! I remember when I was little, only knee-high to a boll weevil, all the teachers at school used to lose patience with me. ‘Get with the programme, Zippy’ they’d snap. This phrase went around and around in my head, as you might imagine. ‘Get with the programme, Zippy,’ I’d hear in my dreams, and then I’d wake up pouring with sweat. My brain would be feverishly trying to work out what the programme was so that I could get with it. Now that I have grown up and taken my place in the world (that’s only a figure of speech by the way, it doesn’t actually mean anything – not in my case, anyway) I have got it down to a fine art. I could write a book on it. I probably will write a book on it. I gauge what other people are doing – as I just said – and then I make haste to copy them. It’s necessary social camouflage you see – without the necessary social camouflage we would all be exposed as misfits! ‘Uh-oh! Look who’s been caught with their pants down!’ there will say, ‘this lad’s an idiot and no mistake!’ So I have learnt to ‘get with the programme’, as you might say. As you might well say. I’ve got with the programme and that’s the necessary social camouflage. No one is going to look at me twice now.  ‘Poor old Zippy’, they used to say of me at school, ‘that lad’s never going to get with the programme…’ They were perfectly right of course really, but I still can’t help resenting them. No one likes to be talked down to, after all. No one likes to be ‘passed over’ in that way and left to rot on the sidelines. Ignored as if they are never going to amount to anything in life. I guess you could say that I have developed some kind of ‘complex’ about it, some sort of inferiority complex which has probably  – over time – distorted my personality to some extent or another. ‘May have a seriously distorting effect on the personality’ says the small print on the packet. Not that we ever read the small print, of course. ‘Well, I’ll show them!’ I say to myself. That has become my battle cry – ‘I’ll show them!’ So here I am – I guess – trying as hard as I can to do what everyone else is doing so that I don’t end up suffering from some sort of horrendous existential crisis. ‘I can play this game as well as anyone can,’ I say to myself. I must admit that I still have zero insight as to why we are all doing what we’re doing. Although I figure that doesn’t matter so much. No one’s ever going to ask that question.








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