The secular meaning of JoB

If you append a capital B to your first name and that first name is Jo, then the people around you are most probably in for some drama. What could I do? It is the only really entertaining biblical story and my surname happens to begin with a B. At least I left it capitalized, after all it is not like I am going to repent or something. I may be old but not as old as that (story).

I started out with a lot of luck. I was born in the West in a middle class family. This was followed with more luck. My brain turned out to work above average allowing me to graduate into a ‘top job’. After that came, well, more luck. A beautiful girl asked me out (or as we say in Flemish: on). It soon turned out most of her beauty actually was on the inside. Enter the drama, you think, but no, unless you call three adorable children drama. The first two were boy and girl so everybody in Spain called them a ‘king’s couple’ which was kind of on the mark as I certainly behaved a lot like a drama queen.

Rich, check. Smart, check. Happily married, check. Healthy and brainy children with lots of swag, check. If God were still alive, I’d be in for some real trouble. Fortunately Nietzsche checked his pulse for us, and found nothing. As it stands the only trouble I’ll be in is with the kids, associating them in such a non-swag way to being swag. They’ll forgive me because as corny as I may be, their parents stuck together and not just for them which is a double exception to their friends’ parents.

So here we went on our merry way making not one career but two, renovating a couple of houses and living another couple of years in Madrid. We were never the life of the party but always kept a little party in our lives. At this time you’re thinking ‘This is so tacky. Please let God come back, and punish this arrogant prick into some humility.’ So let me tell you more if only to show you that I’m quite capable of punishing myself, thank you.

I can tell you about my back which is crooked and straightened with an iron rod so it ages quickly and puts me regularly in quite excruciating pain. Or about my prostate which is chronically swollen and makes me feel every couple of months like a whole soccer team has kicked my balls – repeatedly. Or about my asthma which kept me from making friends when young. I can tell you about all of it and I just did so you can appreciate what a whiner I can be and too often am. Why people put up with me is beyond me. I certainly would not put up with you if you were anywhere near like me.

Confession time: I hate myself. I cannot quite put my finger on why I so hate myself. Is it because I am feeling a need to create stories in my head of bigger things? Or is it because I never really tried to achieve them and blamed everybody else except my lack of stamina? I would gladly Hail Mary but only something Else did offer help. I have the staying power of an hydrogen-7 isotope. Half-life probably is the best description of my life. I’d really fuck me if this thing would bend that way. Boo-hoo-hoo, raised a spoiled brat brag your spoils (whatever that may mean).

Still, I coasted along nicely all the while. An example to hard working citizens, I had ‘merit’ written all over my face. I grew fat as lazy people tend to do when some things unexpectedly go their way after spending puberty in weirdo groups, verbally too aggressive to be aggressed physically. Jealousy is the poor people’s paranoia; nerds may come out on top but they never lose that insecurity with respect to being the odd one out.

Back to JoB. Back to me. There’s nothing as crooked, quickly out-of-breath, constipated and swollen as is my mind. It’s really such a curse. At one time I started writing something titled: “Underpromoted (and still earning shitloads of money).” Boy, did I think I had it all figured out. I even remodeled it on Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”; adopted the pseudonym Earnest O’Nest and all. The joke turned on me. The project was never finished, like so many others, and my worldly ambitions turned on again.

I would be normal. I would perform; reach my targets; create my story of success; get loaded. All of the things I loved to loathe. Long story short: I crashed. Got impatient, bit off more than I could chew. Quit my job. Started something up and failed. None of it really matters. Sure, it is shameful and humiliating – not to mention socially awkward – but it is not because I got seduced by all this societal stupidity that I have to wake up from it feeling forever stupid. No, what matters is this and only this: I forgot about what mattered, more specifically I forgot who mattered. Shame on me, so deaf to the people I loved that I grew dumb.

I tried to compensate. Looked for a new job. Found it and got going again. Alas – my “I” was lost, and it crashed. Trying to be somebody you are not apparently gets penalized by falling back to whom you were. Maybe mine is a story of biblical dimensions after all. The mistake however is not that I suffer – I’m nowhere to be found – but the people around me suffer. Why? Because I needed it to be over and done with, taking the money to run. Fat chance, the money always takes you to run … away from those who matter. It’s the simple of capitalism nobody of merit is telling us. I’m telling you. Glad my kids got it early on. I’m not all bad or so it seems.

The question is whether I can come back again. Can I be resuscitated by the people around me? It haunts me as the error was all mine. I don’t know. A count-down clock has started, one without a display, just ticking away. If only I could have faith. I’ll try. She’s not called Mary and I was there so I can guarantee none of her conceptions were immaculate but I’ll try to have faith in her. See if I can be funny again without going all dark on everybody halfway through. Maybe fix this damned clock and finally fit it with a display, we’re too civilized to have to accept death as something that falls from the skies.


Post-scriptum: After I wrote this, professionals have ventured to guess – evidence is not in yet – I suffer from the effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder or, in other words: I’m odd. This gave me some peace of mind in thinking JoB really was and is an autist which is only the letter ‘r’ away from his real want.

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