I have entered what I am currently describing as Workload Level: Zuckerberg. A period of time during which I need to maintain such levels of continued activity and focus that I attempt to shed all excess thought processes and activities in order to maintain zen-like standards of output. Where Mark Zuckerberg famously sports the same type of clothes every day so that he doesn’t allocate brainpower to choosing daily attire, today I…GASP…eschewed my metre of trademark flicky eyeliner and CHUCKED ON A JUMPER.
Yet still it always happens. Always. Every single sodding time I enter a period of deadlines, schedules and the necessary shedding of All The Unnecessary, my little noggin starts buzzing around like a horny mayfly, bothering me until I brain-dump messily all over my iPad. Typical. No-one is ever going to describe me as a genius. And that’s ok. I couldn’t wear the same shoes every day anyway. I’d putrefy with sadness and my calf muscles would look like shit in a freezer bag after six months. And besides, I look permanently startled without eyeliner holding my lids down. My continued ladling on of cosmetics is practically a public service.
That’s not to say that being labelled a genius is a bad thing. It must be fucking lovely to wake up in the morning and think
‘Ahhhh, good morning gifted me! What incredible manner of genius am I going to thrust forth into the cosmos this fine day?’
Then stroll off into the wide blue yonder, all skinny (because genius is too busy being bloody brilliant to crave sausage and egg mcmuffins) and wearing nothing but navy blue from top to bottom and no shoes even though it’s February. Because the label of ‘genius’ is synonymous with the label ‘eccentric’. And the label ‘eccentric’ often trundles headlong towards that other unpleasantly sticky old label: ‘bonkers’, suggesting lopped-off ears, obsessive compulsive disorder, drug addiction, alcoholism and promiscuity. The stereotypical ‘fine line between madness and genius’. Looking at that list, I often wonder whether historical geniuses weren’t just rocking a serious party lifestyle interspersed with a few majorly shitty comedowns. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there…
Anyway, as per bastard usual, I digress. Labels are odd bloody things. We apply them to others, spend cold hard cash sticking them to ourselves and wobble between thinking they are A Good Thing and A Very Bad Thing, depending on who you are, what the label is and where it is being stuck.
The very nature of the word ‘label’ suggests something of the artificial. As though it can easily be removed. The label doesn’t define the person and often the person uses the label to attempt to bumblingly communicate their own personality without sounding like a complete fuckwit. I, for example, am ‘scatterbrained’, ‘a gobshite’, ‘vain’, ‘shallow’ and ‘creative’. I can’t argue with that, so why not use it to be up front about the kind of person I am? And surely if a given label is completely true it ceases to be a label and is just a personality trait?
Experts have other ideas. Apparently labelling our children is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible and can spark all sorts of terrifying self-fulfilling prophesy stuff. Which I’m sure is quite sensible if you were thinking of telling your son or daughter that they bear all the hallmarks of a serial killer. But surely telling your child it’s ‘creative’ or ‘clever’ or ‘thoughtful’ if they actually are won’t send you into a special new section of Dantes Circles of Hell reserved for those of us who don’t quite subscribe to the Rules of Modern Parenting? In case you’re wondering, it’s The Tenth Circle: Eternal Harvest Festival Assemblies.
It’s probably sensible to be a mindful of your choice of words – ‘authoritative’ as opposed to ‘bossy’, for example, connotation can be a fucking minefield – but on the whole a level of truthfulness can surely go some way to allowing your children to understand the sort of person they are, the sort of person they aspire to be and everything that lies in between. Its fucking hard enough to carve out a niche for oneself in this world and I sure as hell wouldn’t want my daughter to head into the world with an unrealistic sense of identity. Far better that she rocks into a room unabashedly, wearing an outfit madder than when Nicki Minaj dressed like a fruit pastille lolly, absent-mindedly humming Le Claqueur de Doigts and being introduced as “my wildly eccentric and hilarious friend, Romilly. She’ll drink you under the table, but she’s actually a total GENIUS”.