Day 106

5.02: This is a nice blog in the Guardian from Rock Gekoski about being shortlisted for but not winning literary prizes.

It’s perhaps a bit disingenuous to dub yourself a loser and at the same time draw attention to the fact that your name got onto a list most of us would pay our lungs, livers, and larynxes to get onto.

Still, it put me in mind of another story about losing out in an award that I heard years ago.

I’ve forgotten who told me this, so if it’s you write in and remind me. Rest assured it’s someone. Someone who as a teenager went on a group-based holiday activity of some sort: fat camp, or thicko jail, or whatever. And, come the end of the week when they were all great friends – the fat slender and the stupid smart – they held a short awards ceremony.

By this account, that I can’t very well remember, it was a tongue-in-cheek sort of an affair. Try imagining the Brit Awards crossed with a nobbly knees competition, with fat, stupid teenagers, and you’ve probably got the gist.

Anyway one award went to the once-fat, no-longer-stupid teenager who most resembles an international tennis player.

And whoever it was told me this story – having spent the week being told how closely he resembled Goram Ivanisovich – stood to garner the applause, take his bow, and deliver his tearful acceptance address, sharing with the honoured assembly of slightly-less-fat, marginally-less-stupid, the stiff personal challenges he’d overcome to be there closely resembling Goran Ivanisovich.

And it was in that moment, after he had stood and begun to approach the podium and its waiting microphone, that he glanced to his left and noticed, in an instant of clarity an alcoholic would be proud of, that his best stupid fat friend in all the world looked exactly like a stupid fat teenage Boris Becker.

A cautionary tale if ever there was one. As Linford Christie used to say, “Go on the G of the Goran.” But never before.

5.46: I just slithered temporarily into mental breakdown over how you spell moustachioed. Consensus is – pace Stuart, Google and this blog’s built-in spell checker – that you spell it moustachioed, and not mustachioed. But mustachioed is a US variant that’s so ingrained it might as well be a moustache , permanent-markered-in on the internet’s upper lip.

5.53: And, man alive, now I have to reach down the big dictionary to check my use of ‘fatigues’, as in ‘military fatigues,’ isn’t anachronistic.
(It wasn’t – OED gives the first citation as 1836, fatigue fans).

6.55: Well, here we are again, back at the end of a draft. There’s a more to be done still, but at this drinks station, we’re clocking in at 299 pages and 81,505 words. And only one of them’s “moustachioed,” thank Christ.
Couldn’t have got this far without Stuart, who’s determined not to help until he’s exhausted every other option, and – in the continuing saga of consumer durable warfare – the kettle’s puffed its last and gone the way of all kettles.

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~ by David Thorley on August 24, 2010.

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