One of my worst traits is envy. One of my parents was frequently, and sometimes comically, guilty of this foible, so perhaps I picked it up either through nurture or via those pesky genes.
I feel envy deep in my bones, sometimes in the most ludicrous situations. Always have. When I was in Grade 5 and Steven Saker kissed Elizabeth Croydon on the playground because she insisted, I laughed along with all the other members of the audience but deep down I was fuming. I didn’t even fancy Elizabeth Croydon that much but how come Stevo got to kiss girls and I didn’t? It’s not fair! I felt almost as much chagrin against kids who were allowed to stay up late and watch 21 Jump Street, or who had a video player or computer, or who could remember their times tables.
And in high school I was envious of the kids who had no zits even though they ate badly, and of the ones who had sporting talent, or who had girlfriends, or could play guitar.
Even as a young adult I could be insanely jealous. I distinctly remember going to a mate’s barbecue in Japan, and his mate was there with his girlfriend. He played in a band and was kind of tall so as you can imagine, his girlfriend was pretty cute. I thought, no fair! How come he gets such a cutie? I was inwardly boiling with inferiority and desperate frustration, like an incel whose incel buddy manages to get a date. Even though at the time I had my own rotation of 3-4 attractive girls.
That’s how far my envy goes: like Caligula, I don’t just want a few cute ladies to entertain – I want all of them! All your girlfriends are belong to me. Or they should. That’s what my little imp always tells me.
I’d like to say that I’ve outgrown this nasty impulse, but it remains and is just as strong. The intensity of the emotion sometimes still surprises me and knocks me off balance.
What I’m better at is reasoning with myself and thereby putting the green-dicked monster back in its cage. When a friend has a romantic success, I remind myself: you do alright. Be happy for him. When I hear about someone really rich who spends all his time sipping fine whisky by his pool with classy escorts servicing his every wanton desire, I think, well, I’m far from poor. Good on him. When someone pulls out a guitar at a party and delights everyone with a few skillful tunes, I think . . . cunt! He reckons he’s so good! If I were the Emperor like I ought to be, I’d order that instrument sharpened and shoved up his arse.
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I’m flogging a book:
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