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  • He wanted to be as good, if not better, than everyone who ever had or ever was going to live. He rallied with an unbridled hunger than bordered on ridiculous. Of course he knew he’d never be as proficient as Scorsese or as freakishly talented as Pele but that didn’t ease his frustration any; in fact, you could argue this only made things worse. He was aware of such greatness, he genuinely admired it with every inch of his being, and he knew of every noble prize winner, laureate, champion and genuinely innovative entrepreneur. It puzzled him why nobody else seemed to care about these people. Greats of the past cast into darkness as the bright white light bulb of trashy celebrity blinds the 21st century. All it would take is one world cup winning goal or a sell-out stand-up comedy tour, for his cult novel to be optioned for a blockbuster transformation. Or if he had to make a concession, he’d settle for his face on the cover of Time magazine [for no reason in particular]. The story would be one about thinkers of the modern age, people who would be remembered. Just a big face, his big face, with two words underneath: MADE IT.

    But… he asked himself, is anyone at all remembered after a certain amount of time? And does it matter who in particular remembers you – or for how long? Why on earth, he quaffed, would anyone want to be remembered by village idiots for a mere fifty years. This where our protagonist ‘bent his head’. By perverting the question, his new attitude forced him to think everyone was simply an animal. Albeit animals with opposable thumbs and consciousness; humans were, in a way, just animals.

    Scorsese, just an animal

    Pele, just an animal

    Gandi, just an animal

    Gainsbourg, just an animal

    Those scorned lovers, just animals

    All the world’s leaders, just animals

    This wasn’t a nihilist awakening; it was simply a method of thinking that allowed him not count every second of every minute waiting for his very own slice of supposed greatness. He was trapped between the walls of his own mind and perceptions of what people wanted, whatever it was that people respected. Like champagne bubbles rising, ideas came to him too quickly to be fully understood. They also left, popped, without time for analysis or practice. Our protagonist is the man who stands on the train waiting for a seat, we’ve all seen him – the impatient one – the one with eyes and feet that dart. He stands over a seat, waits for the back of its occupier to arch and their legs to bend. He waits for them to vacate, for his moment. As he spots someone else standing up he dashes yet doesn’t get the seat. He turns around and the person who he was standing over moves to leave. He flies back across the carriage but that seat has now gone too. Chasing, constantly chasing but never standing still long enough for the dreams he has chasing to bear fruit.
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