Partners – By @philgull

By Philip Gull




We remember being spurned for far longer than we remember being accepted. It is for this reason that the shared memory of all, somehow being chosen last in school P.E..


The reality, or unreality, of this memory – depending mostly on how many step-overs you could do without falling over aged twelve – is unimportant.


The memory persists not because it is important, but because it is mundane. Because it is mundane it is plastic. It can be reformed consciously, it can be half-forgotten and reconstructed in a way to enhance what we feel to be its continual relevance.


Why do we share this memory?


Because we use it. We use it as an incident that validates our continual fears of competitive failure and loneliness. Of not being chosen.

We are back in the school gym when we feel our parents treat our siblings better than us.


We are back in the school gym as our twenties accelerate, downwards in a perfect parabola, and the uninvited dance of mutual feeling threatens to become musical chairs for us alone, until the final danse macabre over the hill is our soul’s terminal company.


We are back in the school gym at SCA often.


We are all egotistical enough to believe our book is distinguished by being the worst. Ego tells us our copy is superlatively bad, our art is superlatively bad, our strategy and ideas are superlatively.


We think we shall all be alone. Perhaps this isn’t true.


I think that. Perhaps this isn’t true. Perhaps if I called it egoism also it would be true.


I spent much of the afternoon thinking about partners. Much of it came down to this:

Should we be allowed to choose our partners?


Somedays I have a nagging suspicion that we never really know what’s best for us, and when our parents used to tell us that when we were younger, it was a projected observation about themselves. They were talking to their kids, after all.


Our mentors know less about us than us, and more about advertising than us.


Which doesn’t make deciding about who’s deciding any easier.


I can’t really say how paternalistic our social microcosm of SCA is. Somedays there are endless tightropes, and others there are no signposts for miles. But in both is the sensation of vasts amounts of space, and similarly large stakes. SCA could go really right. Or it could go really wrong. This is the beauty and horror of the place.


The copy scores 67.7 in the Flesch Reading Ease test

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