Be prepared. Avoid his black hole
Be prepared. Avoid his black hole
Hello good readers,
Thank you for your continued involvement and debate, I do appreciate it all. Some of you have heard me speak and others have debated whether that is my real voice or whether I employ an actor. I can understand such a suggestion but you ought to realise that I like my voice (how could I not I hear you say!) and therefore I would never let anybody steal my thunder in that respect. Any doubt that existed on this point can be firmly put to bed by tuning in to my recent interview on Out of the Box Radio as per the link below as well as hearing what else I had to say, so I thought I would alert you to this forthcoming broadcast. Thank you in advance.
“I want you one more time.
This time I promise it will be the last time. I know that what I have done is wrong.
I was a fool and thought that I knew better. You see, I have always been in a hurry to get to wherever it is I am going. Sometimes I am not entirely sure but I do know that it is upwards, towards the top. I guess I just get so focused on that, that I forget about the things which really matter. Yes, I suppose that I took you for granted. It wasn’t always the case though was it? I gave you everything in the beginning because that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to please you and make the happiest person in the world. I did as well didn’t I?
Then I lost my way. I think that perhaps you didn’t help, no, I am not going to do that. I am not going to blame you for my shortcomings. I have done that too many times. I have held you to account for my failings, blaming you for not helping me when I needed you there, castigating you for failing to understand me, ascertain my needs and give me what I needed. I realise that I have behaved selfishly. I tried not to. I did. I know it may not have seemed like that, but I was trying, it just becomes so hard at times, so difficult. But no. I am not going to pin the blame on you. I could. There are many things that I could point to. I might suggest you know how to needle me and that you deliberately set out to rile me. I might insinuate that you think more of your friends and your family than me and that was why I always caused a scene at get-togethers and stopped you seeing your friends as often as I did. I could infer that you lost interest in me even though I kept on doing what I did for us. I might raise the point that you seemed distracted, almost as if I was no longer good enough although we both know that isn’t the case don’t we? No, there are scores, if not hundreds of knives I could throw at you, each trying to wound you with my blame, but now is not the time for such an examination. We do not need to hold a post mortem about the things that have been said and done. I understand it was not your fault. I do.
So why did I do the things that I did? I have given this a lot of thought. When you left me, I was able to reflect on what had happened and admittedly at first I wanted to blame you for hurting me so. You do realise how much you have hurt me don’t you? I could not function without you. I was left weak, distraught and damaged. Your sudden disappearance was like some mortal wound to me, telling me that I wasn’t good enough for us, for you. Sometimes I wish that such things did not matter to me, but then if I thought like that, I would not care about us would I? I do care. I care so much about you and I that I want another chance. I want you again.
I want to show you how wonderful life can be again. We both know what we are capable of and even more so when our worlds collide. We have had some amazing times. I can tell you know that and you frequently remember them. I just want to have that with you again and for us to be done with all of the, well other stuff. I realise now how poisonous it was with the jealousy and the allegations, the accusations and the envy. It somehow infiltrated our relationship and little by little began to colour how we looked at one another. Sometimes I would sit and look at you and ask myself.
“How have we come to be so far apart?”
Little did I realise that even more distance would be put between us. I don’t like that. It scares me if I am honest. The thought of not being with you fills me with dread and I know I do not deserve your forgiveness but that is what I am asking for. Please forgive me because I did not know what I was doing. I was acting in the here and now, driven by the need to forge ahead and when I was taken in that moment I forgot the one person that means so much to me; you. I need to be given the opportunity to repair what you and I have. I know we belong together. We are inextricably linked. I told you that from day one, that it is written in the stars above and I still believe it to be the case. I must have that chance to prove to you that I can be all the things that you want me to be.
I am reconciled to the fact that I have to change. There is no hope for anything else is there? I must make those sacrifices in order to demonstrate to you that I am better than I used to be and I will do it, but I cannot do it alone. I need to be with you and only then will I have the strength to tackle that which needs to be tackled. I cannot do it alone. I have realised that. I need you by my side and I promise you that it will be worth it. It will be just as it used to be but this time only better. I will cherish you, adore you, protect you and love you like nobody else could. I know you better than anybody else. That is why we came together as we did, we are drawn together, two pieces of the whole which belong together. I know it was me that spoiled things and I did so for my own selfish and weak reasons. We do not need to go there again, there is nothing to be gained in rehearsing all of that once more. I know what I did and it was wrong. There, I have said it. Let us draw a line under that. Let us move forward and I will do anything and everything to respect you, support you and give you what you need and deserve. I love you and I always have. I love you and I always will. Please, allow me to prove to you that I am the man you believe me to be. I want you one more time, but this time it is the last time.”
An excellent rendition even if I say so myself with appropriate emphasis when required to drive home the message. I am impressed I remembered it so readily actually. Let’s hope she can’t remember it from last time.
“As long as I have a want. I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”
So said George Bernard Shaw. To us satisfaction is not death but we derive satisfaction from death, the death of others. I wrote about how I rarely attend funerals and explained the reasons why, but that is not to say that we will not use the instances of dying and of death to our distinct advantages. Indeed, where the spectre of death looms waiting to cut that last slender link between the person and life, with his sharpened scythe, our kind come crawling from the woodwork in order to avail ourselves of the copious fuel that is available. Should you see one of our kind re-appear after an absence, there is a reasonable chance that the sickly sweet smell of death has attracted us.
Should we learn that a family member or friend is about to shuffle off this mortal coil, then this presents a marvellous opportunity for our kind. To begin with, the façade can be maintained through demonstrating false compassion about the circumstances of the person whose demise is imminent. We know all the phrases to rollout to the procession of visitors and comforters who are drawn to the bed of the dying individual. We delight in keeping a vigil besides this person even though we may not have bothered with them in years. Should someone be as bold to question why we have appeared now of all times after remaining away, we will seize on such an unwarranted observation to castigate the questioner.
“How can you ask such a thing like that, at a time like this?”
“This isn’t about me; it is about Uncle Malcolm.” (How we say this with a straight face still surprises me.)
“You can talk, what have you done for her lately?” (Which will be asked even if we know that the questioner has been a total rock to the dying individual)
Our response will be designed to draw an emotional reaction and allow us to drink of the fuel provided.
We will provide the rudimentary appearance of caring, although it is all for show. We will of course leave the heavy lifting work to other people. We are not there to change the pus-ridden bandages or sooth the fevered brow. We will not clean up after someone soils themselves or spills food and drink down their front from shaking, tremulous hands. Not at all, but we will do what we do best and shower words of empty kindness, false compassion and fake consideration towards the ill individual. This makes us look good in the eyes of all assembled and their nods of approval and muttered thanks not only provides us with fuel but adds to the façade’s maintenance. We are a good stick for travelling all this way (we were coming anyway for another reason) and offering such eloquent words of comfort to all assembled.
Watch us as we move amidst family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours who turn up to see if they can help as we position ourselves as gatekeepers. Nobody gains admittance without seeing us first so that we may suck in the fuel that comes with such a heightened emotional situation. Tearful siblings, stern-faced uncles, bewildered cousins all ripe for us to send a pleasant and supportive comment towards, purely to receive their thanks, gratitude and approval.
We will not allow the person whose sands of time are running out to inhabit centre stage one last time as we camp on to their ground, usurping them through an exhibition of apparent concern and compassion. Watch carefully and you will see that we do not actually do anything for the dying person, that is not our role, there are minions for that and it is all beneath us. Instead, we see this as a chance to draw fuel and appear to be a supportive individual who is pulling everyone together and ensuring that the dying person’s final days are as happy and as comfortable as possible.
We have seen enough times what needs to be said in order to produce the tears, the slowly dipped head and the weak smile, the attempt to be brave despite the heavy sadness. Inside we do not feel this as we greet each person. We feel empowered at the fuel that flows. We hover by the bed, watching over the new arrival’s interaction with our charge, commenting on what we have been doing for them (in fact it will be someone else who has cared for them but we are content to take the credit) so we gain additional approval and thanks. We regard these visitors as having come really to see us, to thank us for our work, our generosity and our greatness, rather than the dying, shrivelled person in the bed nearby. Like some morbid cuckoo we appear and take over this person’s final act, claiming it for ourselves, our fuel lines snaking towards anybody and everybody who appears.
Of course there even remains the opportunity to draw fuel from the dying individual. Though they may look at us through morphine-hazed eyes and mumble medicated words which are difficult to discern, the tightness of their grip on our arm or hand tells us plenty about how they appreciate what we are doing. As their time on this world draws to a close, we still see the chance to pull some fuel from this person as we trot out the familiar platitudes at a time like this. We do not say them to convey comfort, but only to ensure that appreciation, gratitude and thanks comes our way and in turn fuels us.
As guardian and comforter-in-chief we position ourselves at the centre of everything during this period. We do little but direct others and issue our spoken commands and observations, all of which being self-serving. We will endeavour to create yet more fuel by leaning in low and listening intently as the dying person speaks, perhaps their last words as we nod and gently pat them with our hand, the chosen one for their final speech. We will take these words and use them to our advantage. Should the grieving widow, let’s call her Emily ask what her now departed husband said, we might dismiss his actual words and say,
“He said, tell Emily I am sorry for what I did.”
Her look of confusion at our false utterance will provide fuel. Alternatively, we might say,
“He said, tell Rose I love her so, so much.”
Her puzzled look as she asks “Who is Rose?” generates a further dollop of fuel.
Then again, we may pretend that some huge secret has been imparted to us and that we cannot say what it is in order to draw questioning and attention to ourselves.
Indeed, there may be instances where there is that last chance to draw some negative fuel, to make those dimmed eyes flare one last time in shock, hurt and confusion. An opportunity to lean in close and whisper a final caustic sentence, designed to consign this wretched person to spend their final moments in torment, unable to respond effectively, their grimaces and clawing indicative of the discomfort that has been caused by the parting savagery that has been gently spoken into their ear. A parting burst of negative fuel which underlines our sense of omnipotence that we can still achieve this even at a time like this. Such an act is usually saved for someone who we truly believe deserves it.
I have watched in my time a master practitioner at such behaviours. From silent child made to sit and observe, through to knowledgeable adult who can see straight through this veneer and who knows what is really being done. I have seen all these moves, actions and behaviours meted out by this supposed bastion of compassion and all the while I knew what was really going on.
I may not have copied all those behaviours extensively myself – usually because time has never permitted me to spend such days providing such a vigil – but I have seen it when younger and snapshots when older, as well as recollections from others which all fits together. I know what she does. When she arrives, immaculately attired, heels clicking away on the floor as she assumes centre stage, I focus on that click click clicking and know that the death watch beetle has arrived.
I have learned and I may yet choose to apply those lessons should the need arise, but I know for sure that I will seek that last fountain of negative fuel before the death rattle. I know who I will save my choice comment for in order to achieve that satisfaction from death.
Narc Club is a special club with an exclusive membership. It is so exclusive that many of its members do not even know they are members but they are. There is no admissions’ committee. Nobody sits in a semi-lit room, cigar smoke wafting through the air as black or white balls are placed in a velvet sack to decide whether someone should be admitted. There are no proposers, no seconders and there is no vote taken. Admission is very straight forward. You are either in or you are not. It is a life membership and no interlopers ever infiltrate this club.
The lesser members of this club, although special in their own way, are unlikely to know they belong. They are also unlikely to recognise other club members and they will proceed through life oblivious but still contributing to the club’s infamy. The more astute and greater members do know they are a member of this special club. They revel in their belonging to this elite. Numbers are very healthy and continue to grow with the club’s reach wrapping around the world. It is international in nature and is devoid of discrimination or prejudice. No matter what your gender is, your race or religion (or absence of the latter), your politics, your wealth, your status or your sexual preference, we draw our members from a wide array of different people. This is no bastion of white, male, middle-aged privilege. This is not some underground hipster collective or secretive nefarious network. It is open to all so long as they fulfil that one criterion of being a narcissist.
We have no headquarters or clubhouse. Instead we appropriate any building that we choose. There is no subscription fee either. The club is maintained from what non-members provide to us. This provision is massively important to Narc Club. Without it, Narc Club would cease to exist.
Like any club, Narc Club has a number of rules which all members must adhere by. Our rules are special in that a member will obey them even if they are unaware of their membership. As soon as you become a member of Narc Club then you are imbued with compliance to these rules. They are pervasive and govern all aspects of a member’s life. What are those rules? You are most fortunate as I am going to tell you what those rules are. I am not committing any cardinal transgression in making you aware of these rules. Firstly, they are not a secret. Secondly, you probably know a number of them already but it is always satisfying to have it confirmed by a Grand Member of Narc Club. So, here they are.
The message – whether in text form or through some other electronic medium – is a tempting and ultimately manipulative tool of ours. During our seduction of you we use it to brilliant effect, peppering your day with these short form billets-doux in order to draw you close to us. The glowing compliments sent through letters glowing on your screen. The tingle, the excitement and the smile to oneself on receipt of this message. They are like so many little gifts, each one waiting to be opened by you and the delight spreading across you face as you read the latest missive that contains our rapturous love for you. Each time one arrives you wonder what it might read and you are never disappointed as we sprinkle our fairy dust over you from afar through the electronic devices we are both connected to. You feel wonderful, savouring that rush of appreciation. It is fantastic and memorable and you never delete them, storing up all these heartfelt tributes and declarations. We know you will keep them and most of all when the misery descends you will sit scrolling back through these text exchanges, evidence of a happier time, remnants of the golden period.
As time advances you begin to expect these messages. It is entirely understandable. You get used to waking and seeing a message waiting for you, more welcome than a cup of tea or coffee being brought to your bed. You anticipate the rush and we do not let you down. The content of the message feeding your desire for love, affection and passion.
This repeated sending of messages is designed to condition you. We want you to equate the arrival of the message with pleasure, with affection and with love. We ingrain it into your routine. The first thing you do on awakening is to reach for your phone on your nightstand and look for our message. This is done to make you frequently check your ‘phone during the day to see if there is a message from you. You experience phantom vibrations when you ‘phone is on silent and in your bag or pocket. You pluck it out and check and feel dismayed as there is no message. Perhaps there is but it is not from us and you being to feel anxious as you await your daily hit. Eventually it arrives and you feel the surge of delight coursing through you as we deliver. Little by little, in accordance with our methodology of salami-slicing you start to focus on the relevant device, waiting for the ping, the buzz and/or the flash of light. You keep glancing at your ‘phone, mind unable to focus on the task in hand. Once that message arrives, you open it, devouring it like a starving man given food after two weeks adrift at sea. You spend more time responding to the messages, checking the ‘phone and cultivating ways to keep the flow of messages going so that it becomes the matter which you focus on the most during the course of your day. You wait, watch, check and keep back and forth beginning to will the ‘phone to buzz and provide that message.
Soon you start to prompt them, messaging us first when you have not heard from us. Once you waited a morning, then an hour and now it has become the first thing you do when you wake up. You see no message from us so you message us. We reply at once and the relief washes over you in an awesome way. But then the reply times elongate and that short space becomes a longer pause, a growing hiatus and this prompts you to message again. Oh we know the messages you will send to try to pretend you are not anxious because you have not heard from us.
“I’m not sure if my message reached you, my ‘phone has been playing up.”
“I am struggling for signal here. Did you get my message?”
“Just wanted to check my message reached you.”
“Don’t worry about responding straight away, I know you are busy.”
“Just wanted to make sure everything is alright, no rush, answer when you can.”
The desperation seeps through the ‘phone, the increasing anguish and anxiety tangible and then we release you from your worries and reply which prompts a flurry or replies, your gratitude evident even though you may not write as such. How the fuel flows and it is all deliberate. We have actively structured our approach so that you become conditioned to act this way. The ‘phone becomes the barometer of your day. Early message received? You can relax and enjoy the next two hours until you start wondering where the next one is. Such power is wielded by us through the simple act of sending you a message and we haven’t even started on using it to devalue you yet.
So often you rely on receiving the message but the irony is, you rarely actually get the message.