Choice of the professionalSubmitted by Spam at 2008-09-07 21:32:07 EDT
Rating: 1.83 on 53 ratings (53 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
Some people, the fucking pussy-faced amateurs, will tell you tales of how they spent time viewing the word through the bottom of an empty bottle, their faces taking on a mask of contrived shame that they don’t really feel as they spin their yarn. They weave the twisted strands of their life’s tapestry to try and create some kind of moralistic fable, the fallen hero who lay there on the field of battle beaten and broken, only to come back later with a new sense of purpose, driven by memories of past mistakes.
And I guess it’s this that fucking irritates me more than anything else, the ubiquitous prescribed sense of remorse that such warriors feel the need to taint their story with; ‘don’t make the same mistakes I did kids, don’t give in to your weakness’. Worse than the self-righteous piety with which these reformed characters preach though, is their audience’s reaction, respectful nods supposed to belie a sage understanding and acceptance, ‘yeah, this guy made mistakes but at least he’s sorted them out now and got the balls to admit it’.
And I guess it’s just me that sits there eyeing them with scornful disdain, unable to contain my vitriol. Saw the world through the bottom of the bottle did you fuckhead? How positively fucking terrible it must’ve been for you. But tell me this: Did you ever view the world from the inside of that fucking bottle, looking out? Did you ever just dive right in there and encase yourself in that convex prison, choking on the fumes, drowning in the sweet syrupy burn of the elixir?
Because let me tell you man, when looking through the bottom of the bottle, all you really need to do is take that bottle away and you’ve got yourself a clear picture right there.
But from the inside? That’s where everything’s distorted man, from every angle.
It goes without saying that the worst part of my day was the waking up and because of that, I’m not going to waste my time on you fuckers explaining the extent of my hangover, you’ve been there I’m sure. The only thing I will ask though, is to try and imagine what it’s like to feel like that every morning for so long that it just becomes routine, normal, like that slight ache in your hip on those cold frosty days, something you just accept, just get used to it: Mornings mean pain. Cool. Deal with it.
Dealing with it’s not so hard either, not when you walk past Bargin Booze and Burger King on your way to work and you’ve found that a quarter bottle of rum mixed with a supersize cup of coke can last you till lunch.
So that’s how I spent my mornings, slumped at my desk, barely able to keep my eyes open and with a groggy smile leeching it’s was over my face.
And I can’t deny it, the first couple of times it was the danger that thrilled me, the knowledge that I was getting away with something I shouldn’t. Fuck, the first couple of times, I probably got more drunk off that then I did the Morgan’s.
Over time though, I stopped caring, or maybe it was because I didn’t care that pushed me to the drink in first place. I dunno. Sure as shit I aint gonna waste my time asking myself questions like that though because like I said, I really just didn’t give a fuck.
And when after a couple of months I have those moments of lucidity and look around at the empty desks that surround me after their previous occupants requested to move away from me it’s not shame that I feel, not remorse. There’s nothing there but amusement: yeah that’s right, leave me to my own devices you stupid fucks, cos my device sits right in front of me in this plastic-coated cardboard cup and there aint a single one of you that’s as reliable as this shit.
Paul of course, was not happy about it and as he walks me through the sales floor to the glass meeting room so we could discuss my recent drop in performance, I try and feel an ounce of pity for him and what he has to do. But I can’t. He’s made the mistake of actually liking me, giving me the benefit of the doubt – and that’s something I stopped doing myself a long time ago because I realised, those months ago when this all started, that you can’t destroy something you have any kind of affection for.
He invites me to take a seat as he strolls round to the other side of the desk and actually starts his speech with his back to me, gazing out the window. I guess it makes it easier for him to do this if he doesn’t have to look at me.
“What’s going on mate?” He asks me quietly.
I feel the bile rise up in the back of my throat as I hear that tone in his voice, the underlying sibilant whisper of the good Samaritan. Fuck me, this guy actually thinks he can help me.
“What do you mean?” my reply is caustically defensive and I guess that really, it’s just because I want him to toughen up, to hate me. It’d make so much of this easier for him.
“You know exactly what I mean Sam – I’m talking about your performance over the last couple of months, not to mention your...” He turns to face me halfway through his speech and stops dead in his tracks when he sees me. When he resumes, the friendly edge has drained from his voice and he’s full of barbs and wire.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
And he’s shocked because while he had his back to me, I’ve put on the fucking huge pair of aviators I swiped from somebody’s desk on my way in, just to piss him off, a final little fuck you from me to him.
I take a long noisy slurp from the cup and stare back at him with shaded eyes, swaying in my seat slightly as I attempt to protest my ignorance.
“What do you mean?”
“The Shades Sam, take them off.”
“Can’t” I slur, “Doctors orders. Monochromatic Light Sensitivity Disorder. MLSD. The strip lighting in here gives me serious migraines and could be detrimental to my long term health”
And I’ve gotta be fucking drunk because at 10.30 in the morning, there’s no other way I could come up with some bullshit like that.
And Paul sighs and doesn’t even bother with the rest of his spiel, just sends me back to me desk to finish my day.
Later that day I recount my anecdote to an enraptured bar and a dozen or so puffy red faces all chortle along merrily.
“I don’t know how you get away with it” they say.
But they’re all fucking wrong because really, that’s not how I wanted this story to end, I never got away with a thing.
And afterwards, when I’ve clawed my back out with bloodied hands and broken nails, I’ve got no saccharine speech for you, no rallying soliloquy about how the booze was my crutch and how I regret the choices I made, how things could’ve been different for me if I'd done things right because, as crutches go, that bitch was fucking solid, and at the time, I desperately needed something to lean on man.
And likewise, I don’t look back on it with a shred of remorse because it was just a choice, nothing more, one made freely and without persuasion.
And no matter where they lead us, what are we if not just the sum of the choices we make?