9 October 2009

Join Me

Danny Wallace is doing OK for himself.

You may have heard of him, possibly seen one of his TV programmes, or even read one of his very entertaining books.

He likes to be nice, pleasant, friendly and altruistic. He embarks on what are described as 'stupid boy projects', much to the bewilderment of those around him, seeking to make the world a better place. Let's take a look at some of these projects in detail:

Join Me

Wallace decides, after attending the funeral of his great uncle Gallus, to follow in his relative's footsteps and start some sort of commune. Placing an advertisement in Loot, he soon gets enquiries from curious members of the public, wanting to join him but with no real understanding of what for.

This book is meant to be uplifting and show that all people are, at heart, good and kind. It seeks to hold a mirror up to society and present us as considerate, cheerful folk who really want to be as helpful and generous as possible.

This is, of course, utter balls.

All it shows is that if you put a vague advert in a free paper, you're guaranteed to find scores of bored, disaffected idiots who will willingly join together in a desperate bid to introduce some excitement into their pointless, inconsequential lives. The fact that the outcome of this repulsively banal granfalloot is a scheme entitled 'Random Acts of Kindness' fills me with dread and causes me to pine even more than I usually do for a 30-kilometre wide meteorite to plunge into the surface of the planet, destroying all the morons in one go.

Join me? No, I think not. I'd rather sandpaper my genitals and douse them liberally with organic Red Wine vinegar, while eating the contents of a medical-waste bin, thank you.

Random Acts of Kindness (365 ways to make the world a nicer place)

In this slim tome, Wallace suggests many ways in which you can be nice to people. The question that he never asks is 'Why in the name of all things holy would I want to do that?'.

The world is filled with despair, misery and abject horror.
That pleases me greatly.

I enjoy nothing more than sitting, alone, in my flat, picking at the lining of my threadbare armchair and gulping down cheap own-brand vodka, while chuckling wheezily at small children falling into stinging nettles on You've Been Framed. Why would I want to ruin that by doing something pleasant for someone and, God forbid, feeling 'nice'?

Read this quote from an anonymous reviewer on Amazon: "I defy anyone to read this book & not want to go out & help strangers! A top notch, A grade, tip top, super dooper, slice of fried gold of a book which I'd recommend to anyone & everyone!"

Jesus Christ, I'd love to meet the person who wrote that insipid, childish shit and kick their teeth in. Then I'd take a lump hammer, position the teeth, root-first, on their forehead and pound their own molars into a giant exclamation mark, as they seem to love them so bloody much. "Hey! Look! A giant exclamation mark! Cool, huh!?!"

Yes Man

This book is the worst offender of all.

While on a bus, Wallace is addressed by a 'mysterious stranger' who, clearly under the influence of some mind-altering drug, tells him he should "Say 'yes' more".

Any normal human being would recoil in horror at a fellow passenger engaging them in conversation on public transport, reaching instinctively for their phone so as to call the police and report what is obviously an escaped lunatic. However, Wallace being the most credulous man on the planet, takes this tossed-away comment from a transient, interfering maniac and turns it into some sort of mantra.

He decides that from now on he will say Yes to everything. Thus begins a series of stultifyingly dull 'adventures' in which he engages in a selection of tedious encounters and ill-conceived actions. He learns nothing and achieves even less.

The reason I hate this book is because I bought it at Heathrow Airport on the way to a holiday with my brother touring Thailand and Cambodia. Trust me, the last thing you want before you arrive in The Land of Ladyboys and deep-fried insects, is to read a book that brainwashes you into saying Yes to everything. I still have nightmares.

You may have seen a pattern emerging within these brief summations of Wallace's work. His books are, without exception, all about being bored and trying to find magic and meaning in the simple act of interacting with people.

Utter nonsense.

Who wants to interact with people? In fact, who wants to 'interact' at all? It's a stupid word which I classify as meaningless management-speak on a par with 'liaise', 'engage' and 'work closely with'.

So, as an antidote to this frighteningly popular middle-class trend of 'being nice', I've decided to start my own club.

It's called the 'fuck you' club and the rules are very simple.

1) You must maintain, at all times, a sour expression of utter disdain. I find a combination of unbridled scorn and barely-concealed disgust to be a particularly pleasing mix.

2) If you find yourself in a situation where you can help someone, don't. Turn around and walk away. Even better, stand there, laugh in their faces, revel in their misfortune, then walk away.

3) There is no 3. Everything you need to know is covered in the first 2 points. It's a very basic philosophy.

Someone's bag has torn and they've dropped their shopping?
Fuck you. You should have packed it more carefully at the supermarket.

An elderly woman has dropped her key and it's fallen down a sewer grate?
Fuck you. Not my problem, granny. Tie it to a piece of string next time, you grizzled harridan.

A tearful child has just witnessed their cat being flattened by the mighty wheels of a passing articulated lorry?
Meh. Nothing lasts forever, everything ends. All good things disappear in time like the flavour of a meal, the memory of a kiss, or the blissful caress of a lover. Existential angst, pervading melancholy and painful reverie will haunt you for the rest of your days. Get used to it, kid. Oh, and fuck you.

There is one final thing about the 'fuck you' club that it's very important to observe. There is no membership. You can't join my 'fuck you' club. If you try, I will merely observe rule 2 and say "Fuck you, start your own club".

Thus will there be a myriad of 'fuck you' clubs, each comprising a single, miserable, hatred-filled individual. There will be no meetings and you will not receive a newsletter - unless, of course, you decide to create one that you proceed to e-mail to yourself and read bitterly whilst sipping a cup of cheap instant coffee and eating a garibaldi, commonly regarded as "the devil's biscuit". Frankly, that would just be weird and possibly symptomatic of some underlying psychological condition that requires urgent attention. Don't write a newsletter.

So, that's the 'fuck you' club. I consider it my gift to mankind.

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