Monday, July 30, 2012

"You Come All Over Yourself, Don't You"

was said to me by Ashley 'Grapes' Holmes. A border from the year above me, and perhaps remains the single greatest piece of feedback I ever recieved. It was quite public, infront of my respected friends, everybody laughed, I'd been burned badly, I had no comeback, I was quite shocked, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.

And believe it or not, I really enjoyed it, even at the time. It was a great call. It was fucking excellent. I had never liked Grapes, until that point. I'm sure it was in part an expression of our mutual distrust of eachother. But really it was the piece of public humiliation I needed.

I'm sure child psychologists would disagree. And I really wish I had a photo of Year 10 tohm, who was spelling his name 'tΩ', because I know the picture that tells you everything you need to know about me in highschool, but to paint a picture - I was at a private school, did debating, was on the cross country team, was doing 1/2 Maths Methods, had restiched the buttons on my blazer to make it a double breaster, basically, a complete fucking tool. An overconfident 'know nothing' as honest Abraham Lincoln would have called me.

And yet, if Grapes hadn't said that to me that day, and pulled my head out of my arse, and through my friends raucous laughter realised what version of me they had been endorsing through their unvoiced silence, I'd be one of those know nothings that run this fucking country, and every fucking country.

I still marvel at it's perfection, I wish I could remember what I had been ranting about at the time, but he just had his head resting on crossed arms on his desk as if hung over and he said with every indication of annoyance in his voice 'I bet you come all over yourself. Don't you.' The choice of words and imagery, and the speaker, everything aligned to actually cut through to me, where a mature and respectful person would not.

I wish I could say I had left that tool back in year 10, except I know I'm prone to being that tool whenever I think I can get away with it. I wish I had somebody like Grapes around today, who just didn't care enough about my standing in the world to actually speak their mind. All feedback really is a gift, and I guess the strange paradox of my priveleged background is that the closer somebody resembles me, and in particular 'my achievements' the less inclined I am to listen to their feedback.

It's because I say things with the private knowledge that I don't know what I'm talking about, but this doesn't come across (and why I would discourage any student from doing debating) and I criticize, knowing privately, how little I actually care (not about the person, but about whatever I'm critiqueing), and I disrespect others because I privately know how little I respect myself and my own abilities (the major downfall of the 'golden rule').

I was once on a tram and this big thug of a Neo-Nazi was ranting and accosting some international student, and nobody (myself included) was saying anything, and then this little old lady said to him 'that's enough, please be quiet you horrible man!' and he was shamed and shut up. And just like you might assume the only thing that can reach a thug is a bigger thug, when infact it's a little old lady, sometimes the only people I can listen to is not somebody more charismatic than myself, but a bogan.

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