Only God Knows Why


Sock Darning and other lost hobbies, mainly, worrying.

My mother gives the worst advice.  Like, not just run of the mill  “A stitch in time saves nine, so start darning those socks!”  kind of bad advice.  Pathological, psychologically damaging bad advice.  In a recent glimmer of female self-image failing that I summed up in a “Does-my-blank-look-big-in-this”esque question, I was met with a “Well!  Maybe you should stop eating!”  Any sort of romantic interest I express in anybody is nearly always quashed with the advice, “All men are bastards. Don’t get excited, I’m sure he doesn’t like you very much.”

(Incidentally, where did the cultural blip of sock darning go?  Why did stitching up your own falling apart socks become so hip and then with stunning speed become unacceptable again?  Was there a big shake-up in the sock industry?  Why are there no battalions of sock darning revivalists out there?  To be the only antique hobby that is not anti-humanist and really quite environmentalist in flavour to have not enjoyed the light of retro-hipsterism shining upon it’s countenance seems unfair.  I bet sock darning really hates knitting for it’s overblown popularity as a reclaimed cool nana-hobby.)

But I digress.  Aside from my usual rants about who on earth first heard platitudes like “There’s plenty of other fish in the sea” and actually felt so comforted that he was moved to spread these to the unsuspecting, uncomforted rest of us (one can only assume it was a fisherman of some sort), I find motherly advice insidious at best.

I would like however, to introduce: THE WORST ADVICE I’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.  And even worse, it’s being given to everyone! My mothers usual outlandish criticising advice is easily rejected, but it’s the passed on, more ‘common sense’ advice that has really fucked with me.  Namely:

“Don’t worry, the truth is never as bad as what you’re imagining.”

I will format my response using my local paper’s thumbs up/thumbs down section:

1. Thumbs up to: my mother, since this is usually true.

2. Thumbs down to: my mother, since this is only usually true because the truth is almost always much, much worse.

Though knowing the rosy tone of the Leader Community Newspapers, only my first message would make it in, further perpetuating the myth of horrible imagination that I’m trying to debunk.  If they taught me anything in media, it’s that your medium is your message.  So here I am on the internet, ranting to an audience of nobody.  Cheerful Leader Bastards.

Who really ever manages to imagine the absolute worst?  I mean, the real worst.  The worst you usually entertain on embarking on a first date is that they won’t like you.  Have you ever considered that your potential lover is really a corrupt police officer looking to make you fall in love and then take you a romantic trip to Thailand in order to bust you, using entrapment, for drug offences and get you thrown into a Thai jail?

Reality, with the added bite that it is occurring outside of your own head, is also just usually way fucking weirder.

The truth is, without fail, always worse than your imagination!  I can’t count the amount of times this advice has got me nothing but blinding pain from finding out the real reason for something when I was imagining a far more innocuous explanation.  So I am reclaiming this piece of advice for myself!  Instead of just heading towards the unexpectedly scathing truth in order to avoid the apparently terrible fate of  “not knowing.” (I, myself, sing the praises of not knowing.  Not knowing gives you all sorts of ego-saving possibilities.)  In order to defeat my hair-trigger habit of finding out the truth that was passed down on my mothers knee, I will make my imagination a REALLY scary place.

 Now, I just imagine the absolute worst that could happen in any situation.   This means that when I inevitably do encounter the truth, it can’t be as bad as what I imagined.  This position has led to me being labelled, for some unknown reason, as a pessimist.

I however, along with Richard Dawkins, would like to defend my philosophy against such an unjust label.  I truly believe that this makes me nearly the ULTIMATE optimist.  Bounding naively like the proverbial ecstasy-bunny from expected failure to expected failure is at best, optimistic, at worst, stupid.

In this vein, after the most long winded introduction on wordpress, I present to you, my expected rejection letter from The ABC Journalism Cadetship Program, 2009.

“Dear Miss Smith,

                        We regretfully inform you that your application to the ABC Cadet Journalism program has been unsuccessful.  In fact, your application was of such unexpectedly substandard quality that your folio caused several of the ABC recruitment officers to projectile vomit violently in the style of Monty Python across the office.

As a government department, may we take this opportunity to revoke your right as an Australian citizen to use the English language.  From now on, you will be required to communicate using only a series of clicks, whistles and grunts.  We have also taken this opportunity to speak with your current place of employ, and suggested your immediate termination, as well as blacklisting your name with any future employers.  We are aware of your pending application at The Age newspaper and have contacted them regarding your severe intellectual retardation.

Furthermore, please find enclosed a check for a full refund of any taxes you may have paid this year, as we cannot be 100% certain that none of the money from such a poorly trained journalist has come to the ABC, and we would rather not be known to have any association with you.

We would also like to take this moment to tell you of a recent scheme that your application has caused us to take on at The ABC.  We have sent out a letter to all men between the ages of 18-30, including a copy of your incredibly poorly written application, warning them that under no circumstances should they be tempted to ever associate with you romantically (although, judging from the quality of your application, The ABC is certain that you would cause this reaction regardless.)  You may also notice over the next few days that your friends stop returning your calls.  We are currently unrolling a scheme for all of your friends to repeal their relationships with you, and refuse any further infantile attempts at platonic intimacy.

Beyond this, we are aware that your “perfect man” is some sort of cross between John Safran and Hamish Blake.  We showed your work to both of these men and they both greeted it with much derisive mirth, before asking that you please stop listening to their podcasts as they do not want any association with you discrediting them.

At The ABC, we are also in possession of a time machine.  We were going to use this to go back and un-do the now infamous “Chaser” skit, but instead we decided to use it different in regards to your application. You may notice that your parents are divorced.  We did attempt to go back in time to prevent them from procreating but unfortunately were only able to split them up 15 years after your birth.  You may have noticed three years later, your favourite car, a 1978 BMW called ‘Chance’ (we can only imagine this was another misguided attempt at humour on your part, Miss Smith)  broke down permanently. This was, of course, no accident.  We have tried to inflict the same kind of emotional pain on you by losing this car, as we felt at reading your abhorrent application and folio.

In sum, you will die alone, penniless and without a single friend in the world.

Kind Regards,

The ABC

P.s. Please find enclosed a copy of Nickelback’s latest album.  We feel that such mediocrity is something that you can conceivably aspire to.

P.p.s  Further to blocking any attempts to human intimacy, we have already organised for your dog to run away. ”

The real letter was only about 2 lines long and thanked me for my interest.  It was still way fucking worse.  Dammit, Mum!

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

if it cheers u up any im here to report that leo at least still darns socks! he’s quite surprisingly good at his needlework too haha

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Comment by heidi

Sometimes you make me laugh and then you make me cry real tears of sadness.
I am crying real tears of sadness.

Vicki, you are the bomb.
Amen, Hallelujah, Praise be!

Ps- By any chance, is your real name Vicki (word)Smith?
Little miss literary genius!

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Comment by Laura




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