Measure up.

Dear all,

One thing I love about science fiction is its propensity for metaphysical conjecture. I’ve been watching the Red Dwarf episode The Inquisitor, in which a mutated droid travels eternity forcing people to either justify their existence or be totally wiped from the space-time continuum and replaced with someone else. The catch is, when you’re judge the judge isn’t the Inquisitor. It’s you.

I’ve been thinking about how I would justify myself, and it’s difficult because I don’t know what standards I am supposed to be measuring myself against. The fact that the judge is myself ought to make that work-out-able, but I can’t really decide what it is that makes someone’s existence worthwhile. The Cat and Rimmer were aquitted because their standards were so low that they fulfilled them, but Kryten and Lister had heigher standards and didn’t meet them. I’m not sure I’d meet my own standards.

What have I done? I’ve done charity work, that’s one thing. I do try to be kind to people, and to always do the right thing. I’m a bit like Niles and Frasier in that I have my “ethics”, but my nose doesn’t bleed when I contradict them! I’ve had a pretty good start in life, and maybe I haven’t always made the most of it. I’ve changed a lot in recent years, so I feel more able to justify my existence now than when I was, say, thirteen. But still. I think I ought to try to make my existence more justifiable.

Today I feel particularly bad about myself, as I had another argument with my maman about housework. She’s angry because I never pitch in voluntarily – I have to be asked, and even then I try to get out of it. Which, I must admit, is true. And some small, weaselly part of me wants to say that if she wants me to help around the house she shouldn’t have brought me up to be so lazy. However, I know that I should offer to help her out. My main problem, though, is with Brother. Biased I may be, but I’m still sure she asks me to do ten times more work than him.

Today I’d just put the washing on (albeit helped by my maman, as I’m still in the learning stage when it comes to laundry [I know, I know, I’m ashamed, but I can do most other things, I promise]) when she asked me to help prepare the potatoes for dinner. Now, today I made lunch for me and Brother as my parents were out, I helped de-flea the cats and I did laundry, all in the space of a few hours. Whereas Brother just smegged around on the computer, pretending to work. I do that too, but at least I’m honest about it.

So when I asked, half seriously and half in jest “Why don’t you ask Brother instead? He never does anything!” she turned on me like a viper and screamed “Because he’s working!” Now, I knew perfectly well he wasn’t, but I do try not to rat him out, so I said nothing. However, that very moment Brother walked into the kitchen. “Working?” I said. He said he was going into the garden to exercise. I gawped as my maman just let him walk out without a word. Brother smiled his insufferable smug smile. He is often deliberately incompetent so that if people want something done properly they do it themselves. I hate his smug smile. So I, stupidly, asked my maman again why it always had to be me. She shouted at me that if I was going to complain so much I should just piss off. So I have.

She’s right, though. I am spoilt and lazy. I try not to be, but I am. My biggest dream right now is to have my own place. Just mine – no family, no flatmates. I don’t care how much of a squat it is, I know I could be happy if I just had some space to myself. I can’t wait to move out. And once I do, I swear I will not be coming back.

Lots of love,
Wilhelm “Worthless” Scream.


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