It’s true. My epitaph will read “she was a pain in the ass.” Hopefully it will say some other stuff too but “pain in the ass” will be right up there in bold type.
Mostly, being a pain in the ass isn’t a deliberate thing, it’s not my mission in life and whenever it happens it’s not without provocation. Mostly it’s a damned good job I have been a pain in the ass because I could’ve wound up dead by now if I’d been more laissez-faire. I’d have had a very poor education. My confidence would have been shot to bits. I’d have been the proverbial shrinking violet shrinking away to nothingness.
I thank my father for his excellent counsel in developing much of my steely resolve. He showed me the whole overlords and underlings thing is nonsense, it’s all made up. We’re just people. We all come into the world much the same way and we all go out of it in a not dissimilar fashion. What we do in the middle is a choice – we choose to be decent people or toe-rags. I chose decent with imperfections. Feistiness, swearing, chaotic on occasion. Driven, restless, exacting, a little disorganised. A touch too partial to Chablis and kentucky fried chicken now and then. And a total failure when it comes to following anything that appears to a barked order rather than a respectful request. Those who know me hopefully love me for my imperfections.
Being a pain in the ass started pretty early on for me. I was 5 years old and it kicked-off because I could read before going to school. My first teacher hated that. She sat me in the corner away from the other kids and told my parents I was disruptive and difficult. At 5 years old I was hardly in a position to defend myself from this evil toad of a woman. So my mother intervened. She took the toad to task and explained that if she insisted on giving me books I could read in two minutes flat, what was I supposed to do with the other 5:58 hours of the day? She moved me to another school where kids were encouraged to grow at their own pace. Thanks Mum, you were always great and I miss you loads.
Another educational pain in the ass moment came when choosing my ‘O’ level options. The deputy headmaster looked at my choices, looked over his glasses and shook his head in disdain while telling my parents ‘it’s far too academic, far too much work, she won’t cope, she’ll have to change those choices.’ The thing was, I knew what I could cope with, I knew how much work it was and I was happy, no ecstatic, to be taking it on. Why hold me back? At 13 I was a little better equipped to handle myself but my father also made clear that he was confident, I was confident and by the way wasn’t the role of a deputy headmaster to support and encourage academic advancement?? Thanks Dad. I owe you.
After school there were a handful of friend related incidents. My best school friend is a real live wire and she’s a petite but perfectly formed 155 cm tall. One night in a bar some guys decided to pick on her due to lack of stature. I found her crying in the toilets. There was one of me and four of them but they left. I hasten to say I didn’t resort to violence (I was outnumbered and they were much, much stronger than me). But a sharp dressing down in front of the other clients sent them packing. On reflection being a pain in the ass with these guys probably wasn’t my best idea ever – personal safety and all that – but my friend was never picked on again by them or anyone else.
I am and always will be a pain in the ass when it comes to customer service. I have far too many examples to list. I could write a whole series of books on these little lovelies. Needless to say poor customer service = I will be a pain in the ass until the situation is satisfactorily resolved.
More recently I’ve been a medical pain in the ass. If I hadn’t, then there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here to slog away at my current fight. But I’ve no intention of letting my full epitaph get published at 43, 53, 63 or even 73. So to all my amazing, dear and patient medics, please forgive my constant questioning, my tireless researching (I do the work & it helps you stay up to date on your reading so it’s not all bad), my inability to blindly accept conflicting information and my intuitive knowledge about my malfunctioning body, what’s normal or abnormal for it. I have to live in here guys, I know when something’s not quite right. I also know to check my meds dosages very carefully, but that protects you as much as it protects me because some mistakes can’t be rectified later on.
So it’s true. My epitaph will definitely say “she was a pain in the ass.”