A Pessimist’s Guide to some Fairly Famous Sayings

The life affirming quote and proverbial saying – Facebook is littered with them, Oprah built an empire on them, gift shop emporiums specialise in them……..’emporiums?’,  let’s be honest, I could just have typed gift shop here, but why use simple words when you can tag on long and unnecessarily obscure ones too.  I’m assuming I may have lost you right around  the word ‘specialise’  –  being that the attention span of the average internet user is a measly 8 seconds  If you have scarpered and are making a quick getaway to Cracked.com, then I recommend a fascinating article about the unintentional placement of male genitalia in great works of Art – I’m not making this up)

The life affirming quote and proverbial saying (I know;  I’m repeating myself) – their natural habitat used to be the homes of angst-ridden, middle class Americans but, like that other wildly successful American import – the high school prom – they’ve slowly invaded British culture.  No longer can we sit around bemoaning our rubbishy lives.  No longer can we complain endlessly about the weather, or wonder at the inexplicable fact that the pinnacle of UK television appears to be Emmerdale, EastEnders and Britain’s Got No Talent.  The Americans won’t let us.  Not content with world domination via social media, televisual media, all things filmic, and any other media you can think of, the Americans also want you to take on board the mantra that positive thinking will cure everything.  So, on with the positive thinking.


This is a good one isn’t it?  You and I know that this applies to us, after all we’re nice people aren’t we?  We wouldn’t hurt a fly.  We’re generally polite, nice to our friends and always buy a card on Mother’s Day.  But what about those other people – the OTHERS.  The Dr Crippen-like serial killers and the loony Dictators.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if they all just quit being themselves and got some counselling instead.  And what about that bad-mouthing co-worker, and the bloke who cut you up on the motorway, and the cold caller from hell, and those pop-up internet advertisers.  However, if your plans include unleashing the unedited version of yourself upon a waiting world, then don’t start with the all important job interview.

A McDonald’s branch (other food chains are available) somewhere in the city.


Why did you apply for this job?

Naive Young Person

Well I recently graduated in xxxxxx and I’m feeling pretty p***ed off I can tell you.  Back in those halcyon days, when I spent 30 arduous weeks a year studying and the other 22 asleep, I was told my course had a 90% employment success rate.  Great I thought, I’m well on my way to that dream job in advertising/media/films/scientific discovery.  What they failed to mention was that 90% of us would wind up successfully employed at McDonald’s, while we waited in vain for that dream job. I have nothing against McDonalds, but we’re not going to kid ourselves that I actually want to work here are we?  Between you and me I’d rather be travelling the world, or sitting at home writing the next great novel – or just sitting at home.  But my parents insisted that I get a job and, what’s more, they made me wear this ridiculous suit, which I’d never normally be seen dead in, and my mother made me get a haircut.  I also recently discovered that being gainfully employed means you only get to sleep in 25 days a year!  I’ve spoken to social welfare and apparently this doesn’t count as slave labour.  Did I mention I need the money?

A generic office somewhere in the city.


Why did you apply for this job?

Jaded Old Person

Well I gave up on my dream job 20 years ago and finally got something in Admin.   I developed a fake personality (after discovering that no-one wants you to be yourself) and became very enthusiastic about data entry, work emails and malicious office gossip.  I ended up in IT, inexplicably, and my current company kicked me out last week after 10 years of devoted service pretending to be fascinated by the inner workings of domestic appliances – and regularly cocking up their IT.  Did I mention I need the money.

Be yourself – but not if you’re Dr Crippen, Hitler or going for a job interview.


This has some affinity with the song ‘ Somewhere over the Rainbow’ – but what did Judy Garland find when she got there?  A wicked witch, rabid monkeys, and her only friends were a scarecrow, a man made from tin, a very weird lion and a dog.  You can be fairly certain that Dorothy’s Facebook, MySpace and Twitter would have looked very strange indeed.  And really, what’s so bad about rain?  Without the rain there’d be nothing to complain about and we’d be living in a desert.

When it rains you’re better off looking for:

MUDDY PUDDLES – unlesss you want to ruin your tights…
FLASH FLOODS – that’ll ruin your nice carpets…
WHEN IT’S DARK  –   look for a torch…


Yes I get it.  Great achievements start out small and you need perseverance and courage to keep on going.  What if you’d prefer to sit down with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit though?  Who says you can’t achieve great things sitting in a comfy chair with your feet up – the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, that’s who.  However, some scholars believe that the great Lao Tzu (who founded Taoism, or didn’t, depending on your point of view) was just a made up person – like that’s never happened before – so, for all we know, this could have been the advertising slogan of some ancient Chinese shoe salesman.  Besides I can’t even step out the door to begin the journey of a 1000 feet to the local shops without negotiating broken glass, thrown by the yob who was just being himself the night before; without dodging the neighbour who wants to chat about the size of his begonias, and without stepping over the dog doodah because Toby’s owner thinks he has a right to be himself.

A journey of A 1000 miles may begin with a single step – but I’d stay at home if I was you.


I recently put this to the test by typing myself into Google and found roughly 24 other me’s floating around the internet, and have you checked the local phone book?


I was in dire need of this piece of psychobabblic wisdom recently.  The author is unknown – would you own up to this?  You see, we had a box of 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the kitchen table.  Eight rapidly disappeared but, never mind I thought, I’ll forget that eight delicious doughnuts have already gone and appreciate the four that remain.  I had it all worked out – two for breakfast the next day (that’s not excessive is it?), one for lunch and a healthy apple, which scientifically cancels out the fact that I’d have stuffed myself with three dougnuts;  and one for tea.  So, there I was, really appreciating those remaining doughnuts and looking forward to eating them the next day, until I got up the following morning to find an empty box and a distinct lack of doughnuts  –  I may never get over it.


Tripping over your own two left feet, and falling headlong into the nearest lamp post is likely to cause widespread merriment; but the laughter of concerned onlookers is no cure for your fractured skull.  I’ll take notice of this one when they can prove that splitting your sides at the latest Simpsons is a cure for cancer.


Right, I’ll keep this brief.

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