“There are two tragedies in life, one is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it. And the third is not being able to count.” – George Bernard Shaw
Success can be measured by any metric you want, if we’re talking about personal success. It doesn’t extend to any kind of success, because then you’d end up with a situation where your older brother starts changing the rules of Subbuteo halfway through in his favour, turning you off the concept of football for the rest of your life. And then where are you when the World Cup rolls around again? In a hinterland between wanting to feel more included, and wanting people to think you’re intellectual and alternative because you claim to hate a game that’s symbolic of a wartime Christmas truce in no man’s land you fucking commie. Even the rules of success in football are quite nebulous. If it’s the game itself, the rules have changed a few times, my sources tell me, from requiring a clear gap between the last defender and the player receiving the ball from a teammate, all the way to having to use more politically correct language on an unamplified pitch than the President of the United States. And of course Raheem Sterling’s gun tattoo is a complete no-no, even if it’s there because his father was killed with a gun, and he got it as a reminder never to touch a gun in his life. Just think how it could be interpreted by young, impressionable fans who would apparently be more affected by a gun tattoo they can barely see, than the racist terrace chants still in circulation. David Beckham literally has a tattoo of two almost naked children on his arm. He claims they’re ‘cherubs’ and represent two of his sons, but as we’ve learnt, an uninformed observer’s ad hoc interpretation is what really counts, and I think that in reality, this tattoo is tacit approval of paedophilia. This man is a role model, and frankly the narrative I’ve constructed inside my own head disgusts me.
Personal success is whatever you want it to be though. Any of those lists of ‘5 things all successful people do’ are usually overly literal, unrealistic goals like ‘get up at 3am’ or ‘be a white man’, either one of which only ever happens by accident. More important would be to identify what success means to you, if it’s to earn a lot of money, complete a certain artistic project, or just to be happy. For example, being a stand up comedian makes getting up early a terrible idea, because you have to have late nights. The ‘white man’ thing is pretty universal though, unless your idea of success is to be a symbol for the oppressed and underrepresented. Jesus somehow managed it, although he didn’t start out white. Now that’s dedication.
Even if you’ve set a low bar for yourself, success rarely happens overnight, unless you’re the narrator of the song ‘Monster Mash’, and your goal is witness the Monster Mash. In fact a lot of truisms about success are nonsense. It’s metaphorically true that most pursuits are a marathon, not a sprint, but that’s also true of being a professional sprinter, which is a marathon in terms of it being a long term career/time investment. A better one might be ‘Success is the research, time and irreparably damaged test subjects put into developing a cure for a disease, not just having a natural genetic immunity.’ Not pithy, but tediously accurate, and what better metaphor for not only success, but also this blog.
There is one innate, atavistic impulse for success that trumps all others, for most people at least, and may in fact be there as an end-goal that any other goals are only there to facilitate. And that’s that filthy sex stuff. It may be weird to think of copulation as a form of success, and weirder still to explain that during the act, but it’s the ultimate evolutionary success. Even non-procreational sex, since your balls (I say that since I personally am ball-laden, but really I just mean the royal balls, which includes ovaries) don’t know that they didn’t just contribute material towards half of a person. And that feeling of satisfaction can certainly feel like a sprint, especially when compared to the daunting marathon task of achieving success through any sort of creative means, which I suppose is what leads to the hilarious portmanteau act of procrasturbation. Short story not going anywhere? Take a break to feel genetically successful.
I wasn’t expecting to go off on a wank-tangent in this blog, but I like to think that I never begin with set boundaries. If I did, I may not have decided to write about sex, masturbation, David Beckham being a paedophile, and The Monster Mash, which would have been awful.
Success only exists with boundaries, unless my metric is that it has no boundaries. Which of course means that I’ve just imposed one. So I suppose this blog exists in a superposition of good and shit. Pointless, with out of date references and constantly under a state of self-examination. My blog is the Eurovision Song Contest.
Next time on the bandwagon, I finally go it alone, without the help of my blogging entourage. No editors, no managers, no fact-checking interns, no groupies. Pure, unfiltered Tim. At last.