Things You Already Know But Just Need To Be Told

by / May 14, 2012

Why DO you keep getting being “crazy” and being actually interesting confused?

Do you know how I know that you’re not interesting? Do you know how I decoded the fact that you’re not worth spending time on from your behaviour?

It’s how you talk about yourself. You keep calling yourself ‘crazy’. Or ‘mental’. Or ‘bonkers’. Or any of those labels that the terminally boring always paste on themselves.

You should know that by now that how you present yourself to the world and how the world actually sees you very rarely line up. You must be aware that the very fact that you have to forcibly manufacture eccentricity about yourself demonstrates that you are anything but interesting.

I, once, was meeting someone in their office—even if you know me, this is not someone you know*—and they were doing some photocopying. He was doing some photocopying in that he was standing near the photocopier as it spat out paper. The copier required no assistance. On his desk—charitably, three paces away—his phone rang. He threw his arms up in the air, sighed unnaturally loudly, said “Oh, it is mental around here!”, and then needlessly shuffled some papers before muddling over to the phone and finally answering it having worked himself into a sufficient state as to appear busy.

He then, having made a meal of the call, slumped down in his chair and told me how it was always “as crazy as that here!” He was bragging about how busy he was(n’t). He was manufacturing his life to seem as packed with activity as possible, because he thought that would impress me.

You have a lot in common with him. I know you feel insecure about your own personality, you don’t really know who you are (guess what? no one does). But how you work to medicate that swings too far in the other direction. You try playing the part of an interesting person and because, like everyone, you’re not very good at understanding what other people want or need, you become a gibbering annoyance. Wearing your fedora or pajamas or bunny ears or whatever the fuck you wear to seem whimsical, you jabber random things about the crazy things you like (that you don’t really like, you just say you do because they’re the kind of things a crazy mentaloid from planet wacky person like you would like), you parrot the jokes of the daring yet woefully unfunny webcomics and comedians whose careers are held entirely up by people like you pretending that they’re deranged enough to like jokes about babies being raped by kebab skewers.

I know that you have spent your whole life being told to be yourself and that you have no idea what that even means but you want to be interesting and the way to do that is to stop acting quirky or crazy and actually just start living. It is not as scary as you think to live outside of quotation marks.

Also, I know that right now you are thinking ‘That’s good, Uther’s getting rid of the phonies for me. Now I can be a true eccentric like I really am without being swamped by wannabes and fakers.’ Guess what? It applies to you too, buddy.

Oh, and also, I want to make really clear here that I am in no way addressing those with actual mental illness in this column, I am talking to those who adopt the labels of mental illness to seem interesting.

*He’s the guy who’ll bring up how he “discovered Fur Patrol”** in, without exaggeration, every conversation you have with him. 

**I heavily suspect he did not actually “discover Fur Patrol” but, no, I won’t, hold that against him. 

About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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