When are you going to wise up, Johnny? Remember when you were a first grader, and you used to come home from school and eat your lunch hiding under the coffee table for fear of The Boogieman kidnapping you from right under Mommy’s nose? Remember realizing well into adolescence that The Boogieman was something in which Mommy tacitly encouraged you to believe because it made you more dependent on her? And now you find out, all these years later, that I was real all along, albeit not in the form you imagined at the time. My interest isn’t in snatching you, but in ruining your life from the inside.
You really imagined I was going to leave you in peace? Have I ever done so for more than a few weeks at a time? You keep imagining you’ve changed, and outgrown me, and every time I come charging back, as I have this week, one of those during which you’ve been pretty sure you're losing your mind. How can anyone be as bored as you’ve been and go on living?
You’ve tried hard to keep the deadly boredom at bay, but fat chance. You spent actual cash money advertising your creative (writing, design, and video) services on Facebook, and attracted a grand total of no paying clients. Realizing that expressing kindness or generosity is by far the best way for a person to make himself feel good, you’ve continued to offer your services pro bono to deserving charities. No takers. Trying to get authorised to help kids learn to read, you’ve jumped through a wide variety of hoops, including a day of orientation that redefined boredom But the bank doesn’t send you hard copies of your statements anymore, and the council tax bills are in the missus’s name, so the process remain ongoing while you, in the meantime, go mad from frustration and boredom. The thwarted altruist!
It’s really easy to be bored when no one values your work. You’ve been writing short stories the past few weeks. Have you forgotten that pretty much no one has read your two self-published short story collections, including your own wife? The world keeps telling you, “Not interested,” and you keep foolishly imagining that’s going to change. Well, has it changed for more than a month or two at a time since you first moved to the UK 15 years ago? Madness: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. When are you going to get it into your head that nobody likes your writing very much anymore? When?
All of which is to leave unmentioned the elephant in the room — the fact of your band being on the ropes as a result of the defection of the guy who, not counting you, has been in it the longest. For months, he’s been saying that going direct into a little mixing board and listening to each other through headphones (as The Romanovs did in LA) gives A Misleading Picture of what we sounded like. What we needed do was rent a proper rehearsal room and use real drums (you ordinarily play an electronic kit) and amps. For months, you've been saying: Waste of time and money. So last week you finally did it. You played a full analog drum kit for the first time since around 1973. He had his bass amp pointed toward himself, away from you. You cannot try to play along with the bass if you can’t hear it. You asked him to turn up. He was mightily offended, for reasons you have yet to determine, and not long thereafter sent you a terse it’s-not-fun-anymore-so-I’m-leaving message on Facebook. Thus, the band that has been the principal beneficiary of your relentlessness and energy for the past 18 months is on the ropes because you asked the bass player to turn up. In the words of John Lennon, “This could only happen to me,” which was of course ungrammatical. (Grammatical: This could happen only to me.)
And nobody wants to hear your views on grammar either.
If you’re somehow am able to drag yourself into early evening, you will have the consolation of watching television with the missus. While doing so, just try not to pay attention to the voice in your head shouting, “How much time do you suppose you have left, big boy? And the highlight of your day is watching on television some tedious, exhaustingly overcomplicated UK police procedural in which you aren’t really interested?”
You’ve got it bad, big boy. History suggests you’ll claw yourway through this, wondering all the while if doing so is worth the effort. But don't imagine I won't be waiting right around the corner.