Joe Normal

They call me Joe Normal on the account of the fact that I’m just a regular guy, on account of how there’s nothing weird about me. Folks like me because I’m just like them. You’d like me too if you met me, I’ll be bound! For sure you would. You’d like me in a flash on account of how I’m just a regular guy just like anyone else you might meet. They call me Joe you see, they call me Joe. That’s my name.


I wonder if you know that thing where you end up having to lie to yourself on a full time basis, having to deceiving yourself 24/7 and so on and so forth. This used to be easy but now it’s really hard work because you don’t entirely believe the story that you’re telling yourself and as a result there’s this nasty uncomfortable feeling about everything, an ominous feeling… And then – of course – the next thing (the thing that always happens next) is that you have to join some religion or extreme right wing political group to support you in your denial. That’s the real pisser, isn’t it? That’s a real pisser and no mistake. It’s ignominious.


It happens to all of us in the end of course – we end up seeking refuge in far-right ideologies. That’s life’s tragedy, you see – we start out as activists trying to destabilise the corrupt establishment and all of that, trying to bring down the whole toxic patriarchy and so on and so forth, the way you do when you are still young enough – and brave enough – to actually give a shit, and then before you know it your life has passed you by and you’ve reneged on all your ideals. You’ve become a filthy apologist for the corrupt regime. You have become yet another loathsome conservative stakeholder, viciously criticising anyone who dares to contradict your tawdry second-hand views.


We all know how that feels, and it doesn’t feel very nice, does it? To be sure it doesn’t but what can you do? That’s just the way it goes, that’s just ‘the way of things’, as they say. There’s no denying that this is one of life’s great tragedies however – no denying that at all – but at the same time we might ask if perhaps we’re not expecting too much of ourselves. Perhaps we’re being entirely unrealistic here. Perhaps we shouldn’t set such high standards for ourselves. That path only leads to disappointment after all; it leads to disappointment and bitterness. Ultimately – of course – this is a path that leads to intense self-hatred and self-loathing. There’s nowhere else it can lead, you see.


Each one of us needs to have our own particular personal fantasy to believe in, don’t we? How would we cope otherwise? What chance would we have? Each one of us has our very own line in fantasy and you couldn’t take that away from us. You couldn’t take that away from us without causing serious injury. Each to their own, as they say – each to their own and see how that works out for you! Hats off to each to every one of us for keeping up the tawdry pretence – against all the odds – for so very long. I’m whirling around and around in my very own hyperreality, a serene (but entirely meaningless) smile painted onto my strangely doll-like face. I’m a whirligig trapped in a vortex of bubbles, a defective ego-construct imprisoned in a false world that is made up of its own frighteningly banal projections…


‘I’m Joe Normal’, I cry out joyously, ‘I’m the one they call Joe Normal. That’s my name. Everyone knows me and everyone loves me – they get on with me famously on account of how I’m just like them.’ I think like them, I talk like them, I perform the very same meaningless mannerisms that they do. I’m even starting to look like them. ‘I’m Joe Normal’ says I, jumping suddenly sideways with no warning at all, unexpectedly coming out with an utterly terrifying scream. I’m laughing and crying at one and the same time. I’m so normal you could set your watch by me. You can bring me home to meet your mum. And if you don’t know me now then don’t worry because you soon will, and when you do you’re bound to be my friend. Everyone is, after all…







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