Take me to your leader…

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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.

Mmm…

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.

Hurray.

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.

 

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20 Comments

  1. Regina August 30, 2020
    Reply

    All of my 6’ plus brothers are terrified of lightening. I’ve never been but then, I am only 5’5” the shortest (by far) in my family, with a tendency to make friends with people much taller than I. Maybe it’s a preservation tactic? Regardless, I share your hope that common sense and normalcy will once again prevail.

    • Steven King August 30, 2020
      Reply

      Have had lightning land almost on top of my twice in my life. Last time was a year ago opening up my car door at work to be greeted by the the world going white and BOOOOOM instantly. Door quickly closed and the attempt to breathe properly again commenced. Then the calculation of the chance I’d survive the run from car to work was worth it. I made it(assuming this isn’t the afterlife in which I’m severely disappointed.) First time I was a kid and an outside light fixture 20 feet away was fused. Lightning is fun to watch, miles and miles away, may it stay there.

      • Dom August 30, 2020
        Reply

        Someone is looking out for you – which is good.

  2. Jennie August 30, 2020
    Reply

    Four years ago, I was in Orlando during a rainstorm. A friend and I were in our hotel room, when it got struck by lightning. The lightning hit the WiFi antennae for the building and arched to the porch light on our door. It made a very loud noise and there was no WiFi for the rest of the week. But it was so uneventful that I rarely tell the story. No one enjoys an anticlimactic story like that.
    All that to say, I don’t really worry about lightning anymore.

  3. Andy August 30, 2020
    Reply

    You are quite the writer, blogger, and comedian. I have no doubt you could find anything you wanted. Thanks for the laughs. Also how you think and write is well talented. Hope to shake your hand one day! Don’t doubt yourself. Even if it sounds stupid, just blame it on your talent of bringing humor to everything. Yet I don’t think your just a follower. You lead in your writing.

    • Dom August 30, 2020
      Reply

      that’s kind man – do what I can

  4. Sydnee Coleman August 30, 2020
    Reply

    Lovely blog as usual, Mr. H. I can understand you struggle just a bit, I’m a leader, I am until the person I’m trying to lead, is older than me and is fighting me for leadership. I tend to think that the more that you are on this earth, the more you know, which makes me easy to walk on. I know what to do in situations of danger and trouble along with certain facts but the moment, someone older tells me I’m wrong, I’m wrong even if I’m right, I’m still wrong and I hate that it is like that. I would love for people to trust me but I lack confidence, sadly, but I’m trying to fight for my leadership even if I’m only 21 years old.

  5. Not Tom Holland August 30, 2020
    Reply

    Wonderful story! I think we all get put into situations where we don’t know enough about the subject at hand and have to have someone else do the talking. It’s a pretty common occurrence for me as I usually don’t know much about vague topics and usually have to let others guide for me. Thanks for the great read as always! It gives me something to do every uneventful Sunday.

    • Dom August 30, 2020
      Reply

      Happy I can brighten up your sunday

  6. Susie August 30, 2020
    Reply

    I have always found thunder and lightning calming, but I under estimated it. We were watching a homecoming football game and it began to rain, we all covered our heads and ran as quickly to our homes as possible. My friend Eddie just walked casually and said “it’s only water” those were his last words to me. He carried on and was struck by lightning less than 10 minutes later and was killed. I still love the storms, but hear his voice in my head “it’s only water”and I step inside!

    • Dom August 30, 2020
      Reply

      Blimey, salutary tale here. Poor old Eddie, RIP

    • Moon Child August 30, 2020
      Reply

      Terrified of lightning and thunder! A couple weeks back we had a terrible lightning storm! Worst I’ve ever experienced living in California! I believe it was to blame for the raging fires we are still trying to put out! I always loved the rain, but lightning I could do without.

  7. Aimee O’Connor August 30, 2020
    Reply

    I actually can relate to this blog a lot. I’m definitely a follower and just assume others will know the right answer or have the best suggestion in what to do. Now I know when it’s my time to write my CV I definitely won’t put in leader, I’ll put in a good teamwork, someone who will help those who make the decision. Another great blog!

    • Dom August 30, 2020
      Reply

      teamwork is good – synergy and all that!

  8. Ginevra August 30, 2020
    Reply

    Fantastic blog as always ! Lightenings are indeed scary things…
    And don’t worry : you’re a great comedian AND a good writer/blogger. Actually, to be fair, I had never even really been into blogs before discovering yours. I wait for them every Sunday and I’m never disappointed. Love them.
    A well-deserved and sincere compliment from a loyal « follower ».

    • Dom August 30, 2020
      Reply

      Hey this is cool – good to have you along Ginerva, thanks. (you have a cool name btw)

  9. Beth August 30, 2020
    Reply

    Being a leader is just about how you handle situations- you lead yourself into thinking that the best leadership in that situation is to follow Dwight and Duncan, probably just as you may or may not have encouraged your boys to play practical jokes?- thats leadership
    Also if you ever get stuck in lightening… im a 16 y-o 5’9″

  10. M. August 31, 2020
    Reply

    I think you are a leader. That’s why I follow you. I like your unique, random sense of humor.

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