Stories

Published on August 21st, 2006 | by Hans Fruck

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The Only Thing That Stands Between Me and Victory Is Defeat

As I look out the window of my study, I see tiny birds fluttering about the tree opposite having a grand old time doing tiny-bird-like things. It’s a nice day — and I look at all that sunlight nostalgically. I remember sunlight. In fact, I once frolicked in it. Nowadays, I have an internet tan; the only radiation that I absorb is from the computer or the microwave.

Anyway, my point is that spring appears to have sprung — or at least is wiggling its arse in feline preparation for springing. All that twiggy fretwork in the tree opposite will, in short order, recover its foliage. This made me think: just as nature goes through its annual regeneration, so too must we. Which turned my thoughts to my email signature.

My current signature — Wave! Wave as the world passes you by! — is a hymn to my own inertia. A wry, knowing acknowledgement of the fact that I am a worthless piece of shit who will never (ever, ever) accomplish anything because I am idle, undisciplined, and self-indulgent. (Hence the fact that I am writing this when I should be doing work.) Despite its element of caustic self-analysis, my Wave! signature comforted me in a strange, meta kinda way. Sure, it highlighted my shitness. But it also highlighted my awareness of my shitness.

In much the same way, Dawson’s Creek would delve into the many different shades of stupid and trite, only to — voila! — offer a meta-commentary on its own stupidity and triteness. Of course, as I often used to scream at the TV (in what was probably an early sign of my growing despair and dissatisfaction), being aware of your own stupidity and triteness doesn’t make you any less stupid or trite. Quite the reverse, to knowingly persist in stupidity and triteness is an abomination, not a mitigation.

Even so, acknowledging your own fallilibilites — celebrating them, even — is a self-defence mechanism of sorts. By anticipating criticism, you can disarm it. Think about it. If you’ve already catalogued your own shortcomings, when someone else does it, it doesn’t have the same withering impact.

My previous signature — A shotgun away from a shooting spree — was less Dawson’s Creek and more Falling Down. I was particularly proud of Shotgun because it was an epigram of my own devising. It was also an apt summation of my relations with the world at large: frustration, anger, despair, but also a quirky inclination to verbalise these tendencies and broadcast them to anyone willing to listen.

Fond though I was of my shotgun signature, after a few months I reluctantly consigned it to the past tense. My colleagues at Publishing Inc, I felt, didn’t appreciate my email signature’s incendiary edge. So, keen to avert any further visits to HR, I began using my Wave! signature. The new signature may have lacked Shotgun’s zing, but still did enough to keep the Fuck! in Hans Sebastian Fruck. What’s more, I hoped that the absence of the shotgun and shooting-spree references would help foster cordial workplace relations between my colleagues and me.

Since then, the world has wobbled on its axis, the seasons have changed, and blah, blah-blah, blah. I’ve now come to the conclusion that Wave! has also passed its use-by date. It’s time to garb myself in a different e-identity, time to re-snazzify my verbal wardrobe. Time, in short, for a new signature. I wanted something at least a little amusing. Something that would sum up my personality. A signature that would articulate how very shit I really am, and in doing so, would act like an anti-venom: innoculating me against despair at my own shitness by administering small doses of that shitness every day. Poison and cure all in the one nifty fucking package. Fortunately, I had just right signature at hand:

The only thing that stands between me and victory is defeat.

As my associate Vincent Blackshadow would say: indeed. Indeed. Or more to the fucking point: in everything but deed. Anyway, here endeth my ruminations for today.

You can all go and get fucked.

-HSF


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