As with most of my written word ramblings they are done late in the evening, usually with a couple of glasses of scotch under my belt. I have just finished watching another episode of 'The Office'. I saw about half of the episodes the first time so I am trying to see the rest in this series of repeats. David Brent has always made me squirm, the same for George Costanza in 'Seinfeld' I haven't thought about it much before, however tonight I experienced a relevation - much of their characters is similiar to the way I have either acted or thought in my life.
When David Brent displays his general knowledge or (supposed) mastery of some skill or art form reminds me of times when as a young man I tried to impress people by demonstrating how good I was at something or other. George with his self absorbtion about his faults and the worry that someone may find him out as the hollow man he really is inside. Well not to the degree of those two, but in several small ways I see bits of me. I see me and I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed when I think of the times I let people down, I let them down because to stand alongside them would have meant that I had to stand apart from the crowd, I would have had to stand up for what was right even though I may have recieved a punch or two.
I am embarrassed for the times I let other people be humiliated by smart arse funny men who poked fun at people who through no fault of their own suffered a misfortune. I stood there and enjoyed the moment even though deep down I felt uncomfortable.
I have spent the last 22 years working in a public service which has required courage and clear thinking in times of great stress. I have not always fulfilled my job as well as I would have liked, especially in the early years. However as the time has gone by and I have been placed in situations of great stress where decisions and courage have meant life or death for people, I have developed an inner strength. I try to stand up for what is right, this has cost me several times in my career. However to have folded and done the wrong thing just to please others would have left me a poorer person. I have strength now to stand when and where it is necessary, I can't remember who, but someone said that something along the lines of - 'Courage is a muscle and it needs constant exercise to get stronger'. Well that quote may be a little off track, but it is true.
A strong heart and a clear mind need to be worked at constantly, I have not achieved either yet however I get stronger all the time. I only hope I am strong enough to face death witha clear calm mind when it comes (in about 100 years time I hope). I feel that I am finally beginning to become a man in mind and body.