The Science of Failing

(posted by Zena, after that talented bloke Mark)

Some people think Failing is an art – imprecise, open to the vagaries of colourful creative types – but I’ve got it off to a science. If that is indeed a phrase. I suspect not. But hey, no editor, so bugger you.

The thing about having failed is it’s on your CV (resumee, honey) for ever. Done deal. So I’ve failed at a couple of jobs, more than a fair handful of relationships, and at small every day tasks, numerous times. No, really. But then my refugee antecedents give me naturally high standards. Standards I can only fail by. Imagine, a big red stamp over your life: FAILED.

This is like “failing math” in a John Hughes movie circa 1987. Failing math has baggage like being dressed up as Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, and wearing too many bangles and too much eye makeup.

The upside of failing is that you can change course mid-fail (seri-fail?). You can see the eyeliner on the wall, and the accessories piling up and think to yourself “how did I get here?” like you’re in a Talking Heads song, and then get into Failers Anonymous and you’re only twelve steps away from being new and improved like washing powder or gunpowder or even talcum powder.

I made this up. I have no idea what a failer is. Someone who is currently in the process of failing: someone who has the characteristics of failing hardwired into their personality; a person who never passes, only fails. This is getting depressing, non?

Alternatively, it could be Fayla: the latest North London hip hop diva (have you noticed how all those words end in -a?), and then of course you’re a massive success. Or a showgirl. One or the other.

I think you can be the victim of someone else’s failure. So my parents are moderately middle-class people – my dad’s a lawyer – who haven’t quite had the life they expected. My Dad’s judgement led to him mistiming and mis-judging a couple of crucial deals that would have meant he could retire at thirty. So I guess that makes my mother a failee: she’s living a certain degree of failure, as a result of the actions of someone else. It’s a good reason not to get married, too, methinks.

I’m just “writing with the door closed” as they say on all those annoying creative-goddess within weekends that I have paid oh-so-much money to have my creative-genes attuned. I’ll stop now. Must go fail at something else.

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