Monday, 9 August 2010
No more Mr Nice Guy
For most of my adult life I’ve tried to follow a path that includes being very soft and considerate. I’m the sort of sucker who opens doors for other people and offers their seat to elderly ladies in the hope that what my mother told me was true. As a kid, I was repeatedly told that being a fine, upstanding and polite individual would pay dividends and that my life would be blessed. I now know this to be an utter falsehood.
The past month or so has brought forth so many mishaps and misfortunes in my life; enough catastrophes to make your average rash of Biblical disasters look like an afternoon at Scout camp. I won’t go into details but as I sit here trying not to cough myself into an early grave thanks to the mother of all chest infections, I’m plotting the rest of my life on earth as Mr Evil. It’s only an experiment but I want to see if being a complete bastard might turn my fortunes round.
I’m not a religious person but at the back of all our minds are the words of teachers, aunts and grannies telling us how the meek shall inherit the earth and how when we pass on from this earthly existence we shall have a deckchair in Heaven and be ministered to by beautiful angels who will feed us our favourite sweetmeats and morsels while playing the lyre for us whenever we wish.
Well, I’ve been thinking about this fantasy and have decided that with my luck it wouldn’t really go like that when checking in with St Peter:
“Ah yes. You're down here on the list between Mother Theresa and Albert Schweizer. Unfortunately I have some bad news. Heaven is closed at the moment. It’s been extremely tough up here since the credit crunch and we've had to cut back membership dramatically.”
“What do you mean ‘Heaven’s closed’?”
“Just what I said, mate. We’re not accepting any new members. I’ve got a couple of places in Hell Lite going, if you’re interested. It’s a bit like full-fat Hell but without the heat and the raucous parties. Is that any good?”
“No it’s bloody not! I’ve just spent my entire life being trampled on by estate agents, lawyers and politicians, trying to be a kind and decent individual, and all you can offer me is a place in Hell’s annexe. It’s not good enough.”
“Well how about Limbo. It’s a bit boring but it’s not all that bad. I can then put you on the waiting list for Heaven and with any luck one of our members will do something naughty and we can shift them downstairs and let you in. We’ve got that Pol Pot bloke in here at the moment; I shouldn’t really tell you this but he’s on his final warning. You might not have to wait too long.”
“How many people are on the waiting list, then?”
“Couple of million... tops.”
“ So how long am I going to have to wait in Limbo?”
“Couple of aeons… maybe.”
See what I mean? I just know that doing the right thing is going to blow up in my face and backfire spectacularly. What’s the point? Why bother? So if the next time someone fails to hold a door open for you or nicks your parking space, it could very well be me practising my new guise as a Bond villain in the vain hope that my life will finally start moving in the right direction.