Recognise Anyone?

English is such a lovely language. Almost infinite in its flexibility, it gives countless possibilities in its usage; with unique expressions shining out and encapsulating social situations perfectly. If language were food, such expressions would be that seminal dish, Steak Tartare. A combination of panache and whilst not universally enjoyed, superlative nontherless. Surely, everyone understands this to be so.

Now, some of these great phrases simply belong, and that’s cool. But others are straining to stage a mass breakout, mutate and evolve into something really funky. Some deserve to be considered classics, and perfectly describe a certain situation.

Anyone else not enjoy confrontation? Or just having to say things to people that you’d rather not say? Or just having to say things to people, like, at all? Well, I have bad news for you: Whatever vocation, social setup, or family circle you find yourself in, you will inevitably be forced to deliver a whopping pile of emotional stinking shit into someone else’s lap. Yes, you are The Bearer of Bad News. It’s unavoidable.

At some point you will have to address your partner’s fetid, rancid bad breath. There will come a time when you must admit to your flatmate that you ruined her hair straightener because you tried to make a panini with it. Whatever the situation, you will eventually have to pull your pants down and take a steaming dump on someone’s day. Cue guilt-ridden evenings and sleepless nights wondering if the entire world hates you. Well my friend, they do. They totally do. Their only comments about you will be in the region of: “Ugh. That fuckin’ guy, huh? What an asshole.”

But more fun would be the role of Devil’s Advocate. Instead of sitting in the meeting room with a bunch of ass-sucking sycophants who say: “Wow, Boss, that’s a great idea. Real Blue Sky Thinking.” No. You could have so much fun in pissing them off with impunity. You would sniff the bullshit in every terrible idea, the ‘no’ in every innovation. Joy.

Imagine being able to actually communicate how you really felt about managements‘ new dumbshit proposals. Imagine being able to antagonize them with no comeback whatsoever. Imagine being able to correct that fucking ringpiece of a colleague who recounts last nights’ Big Brother endlessly. By ‘correct’, I mean: “It’s too sodding early for your crap, so shut your hole.”

But in a more positive light, why not be the Knight In Shining Armour? You would be found everywhere: opening doors, helping pretty girls find their lost library book (for the small price of a ‘phone number, obviously…) and assisting Granny across the road whether she wants you to or not. You get my point. But here’s the kicker: the mans’ services are exclusive only to those of a female, highly attractive persuasion. If you are male, please find a busy road, lie down in the middle of it, and stay there. The Knight In Shining Armour would watch, unflinching, as you were reduced to a smattering of limbs and organs by the car, then pleasantly help a gorgeous chicquitta in crossing the road over your corpse.

But worst of all, you could lose any semblence of love and feeling anyone ever had for you in one swift step. You could be The Backseat Driver. A gutless yet opinionated worm, always eager to advise (never crtiscise, God no) and a gift when embarking on one of those supernaturally long journeys,  where you’ve been sitting so long that the bones in your arse have literally cut through your muscles and are touching the seat. And guaranteed to make the option of gunning for those approaching headlights seeming like the greatest idea ever conceived? Yes, you would qualify as a Backseat Driver, fully liable to constantly comment on the standard of others’ driving and blithely unaware that you are due for a good fucking panning at the journeys’ end.

The opportunities are plenty: You’re a terrible city driver? You can’t parallel park for shit? You’re too busy daydreaming to notice unimportant distractions like pedestrians? You don’t know where you’re going? You’re blind? You’re in the middle of a meteor strike and the world is disintegrating around you? You’re in the presence of a Backseat Driver.

So there we go. A little glimpse into the strange yet wonderful interaction between seemingly innocuous phrases and modern life. There to be celebrated in a world where we type an address on a screen and obey whatever the hell we’re told, not really knowing where we’re going or what we’re doing; where finding information via a search engine rather than opening a book is the norm.

So fight the impulse to live a witless, PC-obsessed existence. Use your mother tongue and any sense of mischief you have to their fullest. Or maybe in the future we’ll then have artificial Backseat Drivers! And then we’ll all be well and truly fucked.


I welcome your views, whatever they are. Feel free to comment!

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