It’s a realisation I’d hoped I would never have to face up to – something I could put off like shaving what pathetic excuse for facial hair I can grow. Unfortunately, one recent night when sleep decided to evade me and the overthinking engine kicked into high gear, I was almost forced to accept something I had always wished untrue.
I am remarkably ordinary.
On the face of it it’s hardly a life changing revelation, but nevertheless it is one that disturbs me immensely. Even to look at me at first glance there is a breathtaking normality about this man. Average height, average weight (thank Scotland’s love of fast food for skewing that slightly), average looks, average shoe size. No distinguishing features to make out. Bland brown hair and bog-standard brown eyes encased in specs. An unremarkable mouth and a distinctly plain chin. If I am to open my mouth, my voice is neither lyrical or captivating.
My intelligence could be called ‘above average’ but I have little to show for it. Amongst my acquaintances I can count phenomenal actors and actresses, sensational singers and musicians, amazing artists and photographers. I know characters who will excel and likely become doctors, lawyers, journalists, teachers, even maybe a politician or two. What do I have to show for all my intellectual pursuits? An abysmal history in tertiary education to follow an acceptable record in state schooling. Friends have tread the boards at the Edinburgh Fringe and written long, interesting pieces for the national press. They are all extraordinary individuals.
My greatest achievement to date is somehow convincing a woman I seldom deserve to stick by me for two and a half years.
In employment my life could be called stop-start to put it incredibly kindly. There have been more false starts to my work life than a romantic tryst with a premature ejaculator. The longest job I have had – not counting a volunteer position where I do an adequate job – lasted three months before I was out the door. Much like Wayne Campbell I have had ‘joe jobs’, nothing worthy of career status (and without the collection of nametags and hairnets). Perhaps if I were lucky I’d find a job in some god-awful fast food joint and suck long and hard enough on the corporate cock to climb to an equally awful management position.
Is it so hard, however, to want my life to amount to more than an existence clad in cheap polyester asking acne-riddled teens and grotesquely obese mouthbreathers if they’d like fries with that?
Perhaps if my ideal career was in the medical profession, or finance, or even something along the lines of skilled labour (don’t knock it – there’s good money in it) then I’d be able to pull myself up by the bootstraps, wangle my way back into education and maybe one day reach that holy grail. Life is seldom that simple, especially for someone who has referred to himself in a previous work as ‘imagination’s slave’.
I wish to write, and to be able to live off it. Not an impossibility on first thought – much like fucking on camera any old idiot can do it. Case in point – ‘bestsellers’ such as Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. Yet much like the afore-mentioned sex on film it takes someone with talent to do it well. It takes someone with imagination, interesting stories to tell, a decent grasp on language and bucketloads of time to become the next Nabokov or Orwell, Austen or Bronte. Of those necessities I have at least three.
Ordinary, however, does not make for interesting stories.
I have no real childhood trauma to spin into a yarn. Yes, I was ‘bullied’ – a butt of countless jokes – but nothing so severe as to tug at a reader’s heartstrings. My home remains unbroken, my parents an example of the long-lasting marriage I wish to some day experience. Even my romantic liaisons and friendships from school days of yonder are hardly worthy of more than a paragraph in the unwritten story of my life. If I wish to tell a tale, then from the deepest depths of my daydreams it must come.
I have decided recently that I have but five years from July to potentially make it as a writer. If I have not succeeded in some way or another by the time my 28th birthday rolls around, it seems that life has destined me for other, maybe lesser things. What those things may be, I have no clue, but I’m sure they’ll present themselves in due course.
I can only hope that they aren’t directions to the land of Big Macs.