Friday, December 31, 2010

Final Call

I think being optimistic about a New Year died a long time ago. True optimism; the kind where you genuinely think that the coming year will usurp the previous one and exceed all expectations only exists in some. William, the spinal injuries doctor I saw on December 22nd, laughed and agreed with me when I said that once upon a time a doctor would give an honest and considered opinion, but now paints the worst possible scenario. It's not that he really believes you're going to die, but if you don't: everyone's a winner!

We have to accept that the experts got it wrong and that the majority of us will not be the last generation better off than our parents. I suppose all of my friends and family with children will have to work extra hard to guarantee that their children have a fighting chance of being happy - but the massive pessimist in me looks at any child born in this century and I get a pang of fear and despair where there should be joy... Let's be honest, for a lot of people the future is a scary place that some wish will never come. We can stick our heads in the sand and pray (if we're even remotely religious) or just hope that things will get better, but unless we're already rich, have a wealthy relative who thinks the sun shines out of our arses or we win the lottery, life is going to be a hard slog and it will lead, every year, to this point, where we wait for the festivities to start and declare that next year it'll be better.

It won't.

Oh and by the way, I was feeling this way during a large percentage of the Labour administration; having this current shower of shit doesn't exactly fill me with hope (especially as I will be one of their statistics before midsummer arrives) but neither does it make me feel any differently than I have in previous years.

It does make you feel as though you have to grab hold of the good times and cling onto them or their memories for as long as you can, because the shit is going to far outweigh everything else in our lives. There hasn't been a lot to get me emotionally charged this year; it has been friends on Facebook posting abhorrent and frightening examples of human crassness and misery that have stirred passion inside me more than anything else. From friends with seriously ill partners to idiots wilfully being cruel to animals and the depths that humanity will sink to, either personally or politically - these have been the things I wish weren't happening.

It's damned altruistic of me to want a world, with my friends in it, that hasn't got some shit sandwich waiting to be devoured. But that's what I'd like. I might be considered a grumpy old cunt by a lot of people, but I'd really like every one of my friends, and their friends, and their friends' friends to be happy; even if its just for one year: I'm sure some of them are or have. I've maybe been too wrapped up in being a miserable old git to have noticed.

My corner of the world is pretty crap. North, south, east and west my friends are suffering in different degrees and it just doesn't seem very fair. Back in the late 1980s and early 90s, when I had my shop, my landlord Mr Chan, who I got on extremely well with, once said to me, "I don't want life to be better, I just want it to be fairer," and that sank deep into my heart. It's a saying that resonates with me far more than anything else. It must do; I remember it now as it was told to me. I try to forget the fact that Mr Chan knew that he was asking for the moon. But it isn't really too much to ask for. Is it? Fairness, that is, not the moon...

The problem I have is that I don't know what I want from 2011. I half expect that whatever I might want won't happen, but what will happen will be similar to things we've seen in the past. I expect the misery to continue for many and that is unfair, but, hey, life is just fucking unfair - haven't you realised that yet? Some people will close their eyes, continue spending, get themselves into increasingly more debt, give their offspring a real crappy negative equity legacy to inherit - Your father's will says you will be burdened with his debts as well as your own! Other people will just grin and bare it, being carried along on a flow of false optimism, but why burst their deluded bubbles; they're simple, but happy.

This isn't about me being some kind of week long mega-Scrooge. I might hate Christmas, but (presumably through my Scottish heritage) loved NYE. it was, for me, the real thing to celebrate - getting through one year and facing the next with renewed vigour. None of this pretending to celebrate a fictional character's birth when all it really is is a chance to get yourselves into more debt, do everything in excess and not really give a flying fuck about anyone else. Christmas should be the like the Olympic Games - once every four years, that way we can try and attempt to appreciate it. All we have to do is move it to February 29th and convince every one else that Christ was actually born on Leap Year day.

In 2011, I celebrate my Silver Wedding Anniversary, but in reality despite having been married to the wife for 25 years, I've actually been with her 28 years in January - so we're just talking numerics. On April 19, I enter my 50th year on Earth. Yes, it might not be my 50th birthday until 2012, but the maths are accurate, so we're just talking numerics again.
2011 might also give me the opportunity to begin a new career - as a desk jockey or shelf stacker at Aldi, perhaps - woo and indeed hoo. At least I won't be alone; there'll be an extra ½ a million joining me, all vying for the shit left at the bottom of the Job Centre's waste bin. My 7 months off of work in the last 20 months is going to look great on my job applications, isn't it?

Still... 2010 had a few highs: some new friends, a great year for Spurs, eight months of job satisfaction, stopping smoking, um... Gosh...

I suppose seeing some of my friends suffer, having a prolapsed disc (now with added nerve damage), being told I face imminent redundancy and having a dreary year bookended by some of the worst Siberian weather Blighty could muster and throw at us must all be forgotten about and I should go out tonight with tinsel in my hair, a bottle of Scotch dangling from my utility belt, a cheesy grin and enough optimism to wake the dead? Perhaps I should, as I expect 2011 will go downhill fast.

This final blog post has been brought to you by Happiness Guaranteed Inc. Now fuck off and leave me alone until next year!

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