Monday 15 October 2012

Despicable Dave

I am going to be very regarded as very brave – or very stupid.

Why? Because I am going to hurl two posts into the blogosphere about myself.

This is the first and it describes the negative version of the Plastic Mancunian – aka Despicable Dave. I will try to address the balance with my next post – the positive version.

The idea was inspired by a song I heard recently where singer referred to his own negative version. I started thinking about how complex humans are and how our daily lives are a constant internal battle between our various personalities and flaws as they strive to reach the pinnacle and take over our bodies for a period of time.

As with other people I am a smorgasbord of weirdness; but rather than trying to identify and describe all of my weird traits, I thought I would focus on the good bits and the bad bits.

Here are the bad bits and, as you might expect if asked “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” at an interview, I will try to turn them into positives – maybe.


As regular readers may have guessed, I can be the personification of Marvin the Paranoid Android. I have attempted to make light of this negative trait by personifying my paranoia as an imaginary nemesis called Captain Paranoia, a nasty person who is a constant thorn in my side, telling me how useless, ugly, thick, despicable and hated I am. The sad thing is that while I may have given the impression that I ignore him, the truth is that I don’t – and he is responsible for some of my worst decisions, my lack of bravery and giving strength to my shyness (see later).

The good news is that with age, I genuinely care less, so Captain Paranoia’s voice is weaker and I do ignore him more and more.

Nevertheless, he still catches me me out sometimes and I kick myself for my weakness.


I may have given regular readers the impression that I have taken my shyness by the scruff of its neck, shaken it about a bit, and kicked it into the middle of next week.

The truth is that deep down I am still painfully shy and every day is a battle to force myself to be brave. I have techniques that do genuinely work when I feel courageous; the problem is that more often than not I will walk away rather than talking to a stranger and, when faced with the prospect of, say, walking into a pub full of strangers, the “fight or flight” reflex turns into “flight” – and I run away.

I am deeply aware that had I been a rampant extrovert, who could waltz into a room full of strangers and charm each and every one of them, my life would have taken a very different path.

In retrospect, I can’t imagine what that would have been like. Shyness has made me what I am today – and it’s not all bad. I am quite content despite this flaw in my personality, perhaps because over the years having extrovert friends and a little bravery have steered me somewhere in that general direction.

Also, my job, as much as I curse it sometimes, has helped me considerably – an ally against shyness.

Who would have though it?


While I thrive on my ability to have a good rant and entertain the troops, I am aware that this self-indulgent desire to put the world to rights is not everybody’s cup of tea.

I ignore that and carry on regardless. People who know me well are often entertained – at first. Yet sometimes I don’t know when to stop and start to become annoying. Mrs PM has pointed this out on a couple of occasions.

I know that sometimes I can be a stubborn arsehole and when I am stubborn AND grumpy I can be infuriating, particularly when the target of my wrath is a subject that somebody who is listening feels strongly about, and when I get carried away, one or two people have started disagreeing and I have noticed that the grumpy rant becomes an embryonic argument.

I like to get things off my chest; I wear my heart on my sleeve and while a grumpy rant may be therapeutic (and it really is, dear reader), I sometimes need to step back from the precipice and turn it into a joke.

And I do – usually at my own expense – which helps matters considerably.


A year or two ago I declared war on procrastination. I am losing the war. For a while I actually started to arrange my days so that I could somehow schedule the writing of a novel.

I failed.

I know why I failed – writing fiction is hard – extremely hard. I can sit here at my desktop and write utter gibberish to post on a pathetic blog but trying to invent a story that is captivating, interesting and compelling with colourful characters, a wonderful plot with subtle twists and turns, that finishes leaving the reader wanting more, is very difficult.

I tried sitting there and writing it – but then I found myself doing other stuff like surfing the internet, listening to music – even doing the washing and ironing or hoovering to avoid the pain of trying to get some fiction on paper.

Sadly, the tendrils of procrastination have invaded other parts of my life too and I have on occasion simply ignored things that I have set myself to do – like writing a blog post.

I know I can beat this; at work I am very meticulous, planning everything I do, setting myself targets and generally achieving them.

So why can’t I do this at home?

The war continues.


A standing joke between Mrs PM and me is that I am a Libran and therefore totally indecisive.

To a certain extent she is right and sometimes for her, a woman who is impulsive and slightly impatient, giving thought to decisions can be infuriating.

Whether it really is a negative trait is something I debate about. I am very careful and will generally not leap into something without first considering the pros and cons of it. The problem arises when I take too long to come to a decision.

Usually, however, the decision I make is the right one but that is little consolation if it has taken me over a week to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

I can’t ever see myself improving either, because I simply cannot just do something that appears to be right at first glance, without considering the possible outcomes.

Any More?

The answer is, of course, a resounding YES.

As humans, none of us are perfect. Some people think they are but they are wrong. We all have a bad side and I think that if you accept that negativity then you can go some way to improving yourself.

I have listed five of my negative traits but there are many more. I’m sure that if you asked my friends and family, or spent an hour discussing my bad points with Mrs PM, you would have enough notes to be able to write a book what a despicable person I am.

The truth is I am not despicable at all. My next post will hopefully provide some balance because, when I think about it, I am quite happy and content with myself – despite my flaws.

So there!

Over to you dear reader.

What are your negative traits? 

Are you prepared to admit to them in a comment on a blog written by a mad arsehole who lives in Manchester? 

I hope so – go on – be a devil!


Jackie K said...

Mine are the same as yours.
If it is any comfort, I believe most writers really, really struggle with procrastination.
Don't give up! Maybe set yourself smaller goals such as drafting out the plot, or finishing a couple of chapters?
Took Joseph Heller 12 years to write Catch 22 I think.

MedicatedMoo said...

You don't sound all that despicable to me, dear Wavey Davey or Mrs PM would have buried you in the back garden long ago!

Hmmm, my negatives are vast:
* Worrying about things not yet occurred / that may never occur / I can not do anything to change;

* Showing off due to over-excitement, nervousness or pretending to be an extrovert when really I'm an anxious introvert;

* Stubbornness;

* Sulking for far too long during boring arguments with Love Chunks;

* Mostly taking the emotional rather than the rational route;

* Talking over the top of others and not listening properly: and

* Procrastination. THREE entirely different novels started and not finished (27,000 words, 11,000 words and 10,000 words)

Elephant's Child said...

I beat up on myself. If someone says something nice about me I will go to some pains to explain why they are wrong.
I am shy.
I am pig-headed, or stubborn on a good day.
I have a temper which I try hard to keep in check.
Sound familiar? It seems we share some of the negatives.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

I've read Catch 22. I thought it was brilliant.

Maybe there's hope yet.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I only scratched the surface of my negativity ...

THREE novels? Ill bet they are fabulous.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I don't really have a temper but I can be very pig-headed.

We sound alike.