April 06, 2010

Being Boring

Mother always used to say ‘there’s nothing more boring than the bored’. Indeed, having to endure the ennui of another is insufferably dull, and best avoided. At least, however, the bored can be ignored. They can languish in their lack of imagination for all I care. I shall pay them no heed. You will find me out doing (not to mention outdoing), getting, living, being. One mustn’t forget that being manly is inherently active. It needs constantly to be brought about, vigilantly recapitulated, vigorously upheld. This ‘blog’ would perhaps have found a more appropriate title in ‘becoming manly’.

What mother did not mention was what to do with the actively boring. For it transpires that some people are perfectly happy to share the day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute experiences of their mundane lives, as well as anything and everything that has ever happened to them, with anyone within earshot. This can be so utterly mind-numbing that there is serious risk of them turning their listeners into the bored. These people are reprehensible because they begin a vicious circle of decline in others. They bore you, you become bored; you become boring, others are bored, etc. The actively boring violently assault the lives of interesting people by having no notion of when is enough. One is tempted to pierce one’s own skin with needles just to make sure one is alive.

If you are wont to drone on – if you’re not sure, solicit the honesty of someone you trust – ask yourself occasionally when it was that you last heard someone else’s voice. Gauge your audience: if you’re a particle physicist and you happen to be conversing with philatelists, chances are you are going to need a third subject in order to find common ground. In certain parts, there may be class distinctions to bear in mind. The local costermonger support group (i.e. the pub) is not likely to want to hear about your most recent skiing holiday. Likewise, the costermonger probably doesn’t care for the professor’s continual irritation with the former’s use of punctuation. In short, it’s important to be rounded. A one dimensional life isn’t likely to gain dynamism in conversation.

There’s nothing more boring than the bored. There’s nothing more irritating than the actively boring.

1 comment:

  1. 'Only boring people get bored', was my Dad's favourite response to our moans of 'I'm booored' as children.

    You are spot on about the actively boring - I was actually having exactly this conversation the other day: I am literally NEVER bored when alone with nothing to do - I am only ever bored when forced to endure the company of the dull.


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