Making an Acquisition of Myself
Bywater, Michael, The Independent (London, England)
ENOUGH. There are going to be changes round here. For too long I have wallowed in a warm stew of sullen resentment and green, bitter venom. It's too easy. No backbone required. Well: time to pull myself together.
With a bit of luck and a lot of effort, I might end up like that tight- faced woman who put the bite on poor Rocco the other day. You'll know the woman I mean. Powerful, successful, widely-feared, done-up like a dog's dinner, her remorseless pictures in the Press somehow conjuring in my diseased mind all the terrible objective correlatives de nos jours, sweethearts: public relations handouts, cost-benefit analyses, downsizing, dodgy maintenance, fishy quangos, short-term gains, asset disposal, share options, lease-back arrangements, fear, spite and nastiness.
I am now in favour of all those things. All the while I've thought I was a liberal humanitarian, the unconscious mind must have been working away in the gloom, ruminating quietly away in the warm dark Peterhouse of the soul, presently coming up with a fine Conservative political economy, fully-formed, just like the chap who woke up with the image of the benzene ring complete in his mind: a serpent with its head up its arse.
I, too, was presented with my new theory upon waking. It was one of those icy winter days when deadlines pile up like snowdrifts and creditors gather at the door, and the only thing one can do is go to bed.
I was woken some hours later by my bad yellow-eyed woman, groaning beside me. "Oh, oh, oh," she said when interrogated. "Awful headache." The old, wet me would have soothed her with calming words and a warm flannel before going downstairs to fetch Aspirin - no, pethidine; why bugger around? - and honey-sweetened tea. But the old me had died in its sleep, and the new me was having none of it. The obvious thing to do, I decided, was to haul her out of bed, stick her on a table in the coldest, draughtiest part of the flat, cover her with a stained blanket and then leave her for 36 hours without food or water while I went out and spent the pethidine budget on loose women and a new carpet for my study. If she was still alive when I'd finished, I would send in a PR person to read a prepared statement and offer her a quid to keep her trap shut.
This plan sprang whole and unbidden into my mind, and I realised I had, at my fingertips, a marvellous solution to all my domestic problems. From henceforth (I decided) I would run my private life strictly according to government policy.
And so I shall. The first step will be to sell my mind. Huge resources of effort and fish go to maintaining this expensive asset, which is currently only being used to a fraction of its capacity, most of it being unprofitably occupied with weird sexual fantasies, gadget obsessions and interminable, drivelling narratives about myself. I shall therefore sell it to a consortium of overseas businessmen. This will realise a substantial …
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Publication information: Article title: Making an Acquisition of Myself. Contributors: Bywater, Michael - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: February 4, 1996. Page number: 38. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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