Posted by: Vicky V | April 10, 2009

Lead in my pencil

Best friend Suze says it is a sad day when she has to lump my competitiveness into the same category of “fundamentally negative behaviour” occupied by the morally corrupt and people who practice salsa. I fight the urge to point out that salsa is a lifeline for single people in search of a lover impassioned by dance which, as an Almost Married with moves like Napoleon Dynamite, isn’t something she’d know much about. Emboldened by having kept rule number 6 intact, I tell her I am going to the pub to make a bullet point document outlining the history of my competitive behaviour. Suze tells me to take a backup lead pencil in case the first wears out. Graphite, I tell her, don’t you know lead went out with the ark. Here are my bullet points:

  • I beat twin brother Spike out of the womb by 1.46 minutes; a Personal Best I will never have to defend. It was a poison chalice though as the suction pump they used to deliver me slipped and caught my ears. I spent the next 20 months of my life shouting to distract people from my uncanny resemblance to Doctor Spock.
  • By the time I was a toddler I had grown into my looks. One Saturday afternoon Dad took me along to the local football match and as we were leaving the manager came over and made me their lucky mascot. Dad said it was because I had pretty eyes but I’ve seen the pictures; I was a dumpy little thing sporting pointy ears and an emerald jump suit. Who wouldn’t have me as their lucky mascot? I looked like a leprechaun. I am proud to say the team went on to win the league two years in a row.

  • I was sent to a competitive school and I worked hard to be a Straight A student going on to win the prize for best all-rounder ‘96. I increased my skills base there with sports like netball (team captain) and dead languages like Latin, neither of which I’ve used since, apart from on my CV.

  • At university there was a lot of competitive drinking which I must have succeeded at because I do not remember any of it.
  • I took a dip in the years after leaving university because I worked in shops and offices that didn’t award prizes (although I narrowly missed out on Employee of the Month at one store to a girl with regular ears). However, I continued to add to my skills base with things like how to sell Buckaroo (dance for the children like a bucking bronco) and impress the boss (iron his/her notepads).
  • By the time I was 27 I was literally desperate for someone to iron my notepads and I fought some stiff competition to get my dream job; raising money for local arts projects. I was pretty happy for a few years, reaching financial goals and drinking gin cocktails at the openings of new galleries and theatres I had been partly responsible for.
  • Then there was the ill fated marriage of credit crunch and my pointy eared competitiveness. I went three hundred and ten steps too far and, recently, things went horribly wrong. Now I am working as a booker in modeling agency which is definitely not my dream job and to make matters worse all my lucky mascots (friends, family, ex colleagues) think I am a conniving little monster.

On the upside, I’ve heard that admitting you have a problem is half way to solving it. Analysing why you might have it must constitute another 25%. By this calculation I am 75% of the way to working out how to be a much happier person. That must be an A minus or some kind of high 2i. I am doing well at this.


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