This column first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post.
I have decided I need to be less grumpy.
It isn’t so much that I am a bad person. My social skillset is reasonability well developed and I would say that I am on the more pleasant end of the spectrum. I’m the sort of person that would let you out if you were turning into traffic, or discreetly let you know you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe, or subtly tuck your protruding label back into your jumper as it flaps around in the wind, making a fool of you behind your back. Actually, you could say I’m something of a hero.
The issue isn’t with everyday niceness. My problem is being grumpy with… people online, doing well.
It could be a by-product of the period I’d spent being ‘in-between jobs’ – too many repeats of Judge Judy – or the limbo and displacement of a recent house move, or the fact that I’ve become troublingly invested in the lives of the Kardashian family. But it feels like everybody else is doing brilliantly, and I’ve become… resentful.
This is not unusual and I am not alone in developing this sudden bitterness. It is a product of our age. An age in which we are bombarded by the perfect lives of others. It was once just glossy magazines that made us feel inadequate. They were easily avoided by simply not buying them. Now, you can’t turn on the TV without the famous perfumer Johnny Depp telling you that you stink and the only solution is his eau de toilette, or open your phone without Kendal Jenner reminding you of how grotesquely fat you are and thrusting a slimming pill in your face, or pass a billboard without Audi mocking the fact that you drive a Vauxhall Corsa and carry the look of an old woman popping out to pick up her prescription.
And it isn’t just corporate juggernauts that make you feel like your life is lacking. It’s seeped into our friends, family and co-workers. I feel like I spend hours of my day sat in my pants, watching everybody else thrive.
There is Carla, whose social media is overflowing with the incredible meals she has cooked. It really takes the edge off my fish finger sandwich on the couch with EastEnders.
Then there is Ben, whose life appears to be one long walk in a picturesque park with his beautiful dog. The closest I got to fresh air today was nipping to the shop to get something to unplug the drain.
And Mark, whose work has taken him to towering Dubai, where he seems to spend most of his days drinking cocktails with models in high rise bars. Meanwhile, I just got knocked back on a voiceover for washing up liquid – and what work I can throw together during this fallow period is here, at home, cramped up at a tiny desk in the back room with the washing rack prodding at my neck behind me. You couldn’t fit a beautiful model in here if you tried.
It is no wonder we are growing resentful of those around us.
Maybe the solution is honesty? Perhaps we need to make what we share with the world a more honest reflection of our daily lives?
Alongside the Instagram pictures of the perfect vegetarian pasta bake should be a short video of you struggling to open the jar of tomato sauce (that’s right, you didn’t make that sauce yourself) and eventually flicking a third of it down your top and onto the kitchen floor.
Next to the perfectly lit picture of you and your cute dog in a scenic park should be a short clip of what happened next, as he defecates into a bunch of fallen leaves, leaving you to route through them and scoop up his mess into that little plastic bag. Only, you didn’t quite catch it all, so you have to try and manoeuvre the remaining faeces onto a stick and flick it into the bin that way.
Beside the videos of you sipping cocktails in Dubai, how about a picture of your tiny flat, where the shower sits at the end of your bed and the toilet doubles up as your wardrobe, because that’s all you can afford in such an expensive city.
And how about we have a disclaimer from Depp, that sometimes he wakes up with unbearable morning breath, that even his eau de toilette can’t solve.
Maybe Kendal Jenner could post the odd picture of her routing through a bucket of KFC because she couldn’t be bothered to cook that night.
And how about an honest advert for Audi, that shows us that the M6 doesn’t discriminate, and we all end up at a standstill together, regardless of the car.
Yes, I think that would make me less grumpy.December 03, 2018 | No Comments