An upside of my chosen profession is that I have not needed to lie for many years.
And if not lie, then at least misrepresent.
This is because I have not needed to prepare my Curriculum Vitae or Resume; perhaps the hardest document any of us are ever required to write. Our achievements laid bare and where necessary, gilded and fluffed up.
Writing a CV to mark out an individual is increasingly difficult in the UK, since almost a majority now are grade A students and have First Class degrees.
With my meagre academic attainments I was forced to exaggerate my prowess elsewhere. My MO being to get an interview and then dazzle employers with my wit and charm.
On my CV, outside the expected lies of enjoying tennis, theatre and reading, my most outlandish claim was my natural leadership qualities.
And not to mitigate now but more to explain - but at the time, I genuinely believed this to be true. I genuinely saw myself as a leader.
But I now realise that this is nonsense. I am a follower. But it's a brave or foolhardy applicant who puts such a thing on a CV.
‘…No leadership skills, but a fine and fully committed follower.’
Because followers are not heralded but it is what I am.
Nikki runs the Holland house. She makes all the major decisions, like where to holiday and when. I am behind every curve and late to all innovations. For decades I thought the internet was a fad.
Only this week, there is great excitement amongst my followers on Patreon because I am trending on Reddit.
Only I don't know what Reddit is, I am hazy on 'trending' and I'm at a loss to know how to turn this on-line traction to my advantage.
I recall a green room with Tom Binns – a versatile and very funny comedian. He explained that blogs are finished; being replaced by videos and YouTube. I smiled kindly and metaphorically patted him on the head. A decade on, I am waiting on my boys for help with my new podcast and - 'IN-VISION' - for any dinosaurs amongst my readers.
Another sign of a follower is that I naturally defer to people.
I assume that people will just know better than me. That they will lead me to safety or to where the grass is greenest.
A good example of this recently, playing golf (lockdown and no gigs!) with a retired paediatrician and a wealthy real estate developer. In any golf match there are natural hierarchies - some apparent like best golfer (lowest handicap) but others more oblique and unsaid like... Tallest. Best looking. Wealthiest. Most successful. Most successful kids. Best car...
Of this three ball; I am the best golfer (probably), the most famous and funniest (definitely) – but I am the least successful (wealthy) and the least well qualified.
So to the game...
With nine holes played, I'm in an unassailable lead (best golfer) although I have yet to make anyone laugh. But the weather is closing in and by the tenth hole, we are amidst a thunder and lightning storm.
Much as I want my excellent round to continue, on balance, I would rather not die and I completely defer to my playing partners and their superior meteorological knowledge.
‘What shall we do?’ I plead with them, because they will know, obviously.
Dwight is a paediatrician and surely he has treated kids who’ve been struck by lightning. He must have knowledge. And Duncan - when he builds these beautiful flats aligning rivers, he must factor in weather and particularly lightning.
I make people laugh for a living (or try to) - so what the hell do I know about lightning?
My knowledge of lightning is basic. Just the stuff that all of us know and chiefly, don’t be outside. And especially don't be outside whilst holding anything metal, like er... a golf club. And don’t stand next to a tree, which I'm not because my ball is on the fairway.
And knowing all this, I start to panic and try to assure myself. At least Dwight is a doctor and he will be able to treat me. As a paediatrician, he treats small people (children) and I am small, so…
Finally, Duncan steps up and becomes our Churchill. He makes an executive decision.
‘It’s too dangerous. We need to head in.’
But isn’t heading in dangerous too, I wonder? Which way is the club house, even?
‘We need to get to those trees.’
Duncan begins striding purposefully with me following and fretting because aren't trees a big fat no no in lightning? I am sure of this and really ought to suggest it but I don’t for fear of appearing stupid; a fate worse than being fried it seems.
Like all good leaders, Duncan senses my anxiety.
‘Don’t worry, Dom. Tree cover is the safest place. It is isolated trees that should be avoided.’
Thank you, Duncan. I want to hug him but I don't know him well enough. Walking quickly now and still exposed I feel vulnerable still as the place lights up all around us.
And perhaps sensing my continuing anxiety, Duncan allays my fears with a caveat…
‘Lightning looks to strike the tallest thing that is exposed…’
This is magical news. Finally an advantage to being a short-arse. Dwight and Duncan are both six footers and if any of us are getting pinged by Zeus, it is them and not me.
We make it to the trees. I am safe. I will survive and why I am able to write this post.
But if this bloody pandemic continues and gigs never return, I might be forced to look for more gainful employment. But what exactly could I do for a living with my rarified (narrow) skill set?
An ability to be humorous on demand. Some writing skills (but fuzzy on grammar and prone to typos).
I will be forced into lying again.
"…a natural leader and innovator who thinks tangentially. I thrive on change and I quickly embrace innovations...
Let’s hope common-sense prevails and the world resets back to how it once was – when things worked, including comedians like me, who feel most comfortable following rather than leading.