Reading my magazines can be bad for your health. I’m specifically talking about your mental health and especially if you anger easily. Some magazines feature ‘diary snapshots’ of really brilliant people. We normal folk are unlike these brilliant people because our lives aren’t as brilliant as theirs. I’m talking about those one-page ‘day in the life’ interviews that serve only to highlight how dull and humdrum our own lives are. They typically appear in Sunday newspaper magazines or ‘lifestyle’ publications about home décor or fashion. Whatever career this highly-successful (and brilliant) interviewee has made his or her mark in is largely irrelevant; it’s always the same litany of high productivity, supremely healthy eating and other annoying things.
They always have to mark the beginning of their day with a six-mile jog along a secluded beach, over which looks their Swedish-designed eco-conscious passive house. Then they’ll send a few emails while munching on a bowl of organic muesli or dried twigs or whatever the trendy breakfast-du-jour happens to be. After which they’ll probably walk their dog, itself a paragon of the species such as a purebred Akita, back along the same secluded beach. Following a few quick emails and some Tweets, the brilliant person will do a few laps of their indoor heated swimming pool. Will they ever actually get to work? Perhaps, but not for them the gruelling and wearisome commute that we face every morning. They work upstairs in their spacious loft which they’ve converted into an open-plan office. Or maybe they buzz around in a Range Rover, sending emails and meeting people in studiously-cool cafes and galleries. (The people whom they’re meeting are really brilliant too.)
At the end of a day of jaw-dropping busyness, including project meetings, pitches, more emails and at least a dozen lattés, they’ll go for a brisk twelve-mile cycle, along the secluded beach obviously. Dinner will be like some sort of tribute to Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. And you can be sure that all this will be done while smiling, enjoying life, updating their Facebook status and sending emails. Do they ever go to bed? I don’t know. I’ve never been able to finish these interviews without ripping the magazine apart and eating it. Why can’t we have a glimpse at the day in the life of the ordinary man on the street?
Wouldn’t it be fun to read about a random bloke who works in an office instead of some hyperactive, over-achieving, smoothie-slurping ponce? Yes, I believe it would. Hello. I’m Joe Six-Pack. I work in an office somewhere. I get up in the morning and immediately want to go back to bed, such is the dread and fear I have for the day that faces me. I wearily stumble into the shower, collapse out of it, crawl into some clothes, haul my backside into a car or onto a train, force some manner of ‘convenience’ breakfast into my gob and go to work. (You prefer this chap to those other buffoons already don’t you?)
While in work I attempt as best I can to whittle the hours away until lunchtime, but it always seems like forever and a day. At some stage I drag myself either to a canteen or a shop. Once there I try to muster some sort of enthusiasm for my pitiful sandwich which looks, smells, and probably tastes, as bad as I feel. After that all-too-brief thirty minutes I coerce myself into returning to work. Eventually, when I’m finally released from this mind-numbing incarceration, I somehow make it home.
There I mumble a few words to whoever shares the house with me, and I bully what I hope is a ‘healthy dinner’ into me. Beans are healthy aren’t they? And lager? There’s never anything on the telly so I often just pick a spot on the wall and stare at it for three hours. Most likely I’ll then lug myself off to bed like some old dog trudging across a lawn trying to locate a spot where to do its business.
Now that’s the kind of life I want to read about! Not the blinding brilliance of some perfect-life git with great clothes, white teeth and no glasses. Let’s celebrate the ordinariness. It’ll save me having to eat all those magazine pages. And they’re not very tasty, trust me.