It's not you, it's me
You might be wondering about the picture. I am not in fact a tree frog. Though it might be quite a good unique selling point – 'unexpectedly, tree frog writes novel'. It's actually a place holder until I can get a picture. Probably need a shave, haircut and deal with those unsightly blemishes first though.
When I reflect on what to put in my bio, my life is actually rather boring. So, the question is, would you rather like a fictitious bio since it would be a whole lot more interesting. After all, 'man sits in room in front of computer, man continues to sit in front of computer, man still sits in front of computer'. Rather than 'man has exciting adventures, in exotic places with interesting people. And a few car chases thrown in.'.
Why the frog? Well, early in secondary school a girl said she thought I looked like a frog. Not sure whether that meant she liked me or not, after-all aren't boys supposed to pull a girl's pigtails to demonstrate interest. Actually, I'm fairly sure she viscerally hated my guts for no discernible reason. Interestingly, in the animal likeness theme, there were two kids that looked like chimps and one that looked like a pig. All we needed was a horse, a cow and a few chickens and our headmaster would have been old MacDonald. By strange coincident the school did actually have a farm. The child with the pig likeness was also the school bully and so very few people pointed out that he looked like a pig.
How accurate should a bio be? I mean, do you really want to know what somebody had for breakfast, how many times they urinate or the consistency of their bowel movement? I might be getting Twitter mixed up with a bio. Twitter – the sewage system for mental excrement.
So, a bio is not suppose to describe every molecule and its trajectory through time-space, presumably it's more like a road map - life viewed from 20,000 feet. But what if your life has no discernible features from that height? Maybe your life is like porridge, rather grey and homogeneous with no features evident from any distance?
Well here we go then and try it anyway. Earliest childhood memory – sounds more like a pysch-test. Does anyone remember being born? Really? Or being in the womb? First step? First word? Presumably not. May be your bio should be complete invention. The life you would have like to have lived? Wow, that sounds awfully ungrateful and unappreciative.
What if your life is some how offensive to others? Activities you engaged in or views you hold. Does you bio have to appeal to the reader? Do they just accept you are just another human being who may have a different experience, point of view and made different choices from them. They appreciate the wondrous diversity and oddity that is humanity. Existence that is both simultaneously completely absurd and yet immensely serious.
In a job interview they would ask you about your strength and weaknesses. I suppose that no one really wants to admit their weaknesses, but what if you are all weakness and no strengths? Do these weaknesses adds up to a strength of a sort? Or your weaknesses are strengths, but generally not recognised as such?
'Why should we hire you?' they might ask. Not being a salesman I have no idea. I thought they were supposed to tell me!
'What are your goals?' they ask. Goals are an interesting thing. It makes it sound like you have control over your fate. Problem is if they are too specific, they may not be likely and if they are too general what’s the point in having them?
'If you were a fruit which one?' they ask. Blimey, you spend years earning qualifications and getting work experience and it all might come down to what fruit you think you are. Are the interviewers taking the piss or what?
'If you were an animal which one would you be?' they ask. Blimey, such as odd question including the obvious answer – human is a type of animal. I supposed animals have become anthropomorphised and so are associated with human traits rather than their own. Saying you are a snake would presumably not be a good idea, or perhaps not – PR consultant? A worker ant? Sounds exactly what they are looking for, but I supposed they might assumed you are taking the mick. Octopus? Ingenious, short lives, adaptable, ridiculous number of appendages (in the male, one is actually its penis), but might be assumed you are some sort of godfather with a tentacle in every pie. Rat? Industrious, curious, adaptable and great survivors, but all a person would think is that a rat would betray them. Pig? Intelligent, sociable forager, but of course pigs are fat and greedy. Cat? Great survivors, adaptable, intelligent, selectively sociable, hunt for a small portion of each day and preserving energy the rest of. But cats are assumed to be lazy, predatorial and in the case of fat cats, greedy.
Monkey? Would they be concerned you were a cheeky monkey and disruptive? Chimp? Going ape? Drinking tea. Tarzan sidekick? Throwing your faeces at a meeting? How about a really obscure animal with no human associated traits what so ever? Tarsiers? Not sure how well they are known, but I suppose you could attribute any traits you liked. Chameleon? Deceptive? Dung beetle? Knows how to handle shit. Sloth? Presumably adapted to conserve energy, but would be considered slow and lazy. Bull? Probably wouldn't get a job in a china shop. Cockroach? A great survivor, but also viewed rather dimly as a pest, carrier of disease and as a person dishonest and parasitic.
IQ and personality tests? Why do they bother with these tests? You have had either 10, 12, or even 15 years or more of education. So, after all of that, what can a 30 minute test really tell you?
Education? Um. I would say that I was enthusiastic about education even though school itself was not something to look forward to. Returning after the holidays was the worst. But once there I got used to it again, meet a few friends and of course frog girl. I suspect that my enthusiasm was really for learning and not education. Many things I know are actually self-taught. But perhaps that is or either should be the goal of education – independent learning.
What is education for? Training into intellectual conformity? Rationing opportunity? Imparting a societies cultural inheritance? Preparation for adulthood including work and to enable full participation in democracy? A teacher at the time suggested it was to sift the wheat from the chaff, or the sheep from the goats. Not very encouraging.
Tertiary education was a little disappointing. It was more of the same style of teaching. Oddly, the students weren't intellectual. You imagine (if you don’t believe all students are lazy hippy-like druggies) students high on coffee and ideas talking into the wee hours about significant intellectual issues. But they worked long hours while being disparaged in the press to justify the introduction of course fees. The drug of choice was the occasional pint down the union and the odd cup of coffee. I did hear of one student taking caffeine tablets, but did not come across any one taking hard drugs. Consistent with this anti-interlectual culture was was also a strange ritual. At lunch time all the student resident common rooms (each with a TV) were packed with students so they could watch the Australian soap Neighbours. What the hell!
'When are you going to tell us about why you write', you ask. Well, perhaps I don’t actually know, but would just present a rationalisation. My guess is looking introspectively for reasons is not that useful. If we assume that we internalise the surrounding cultural behaviours we need to look outward rather than inward. Other people write stories, I have enjoyed reading them and had a few ideas, so I write. Without sounding high on my own juices, exercising imagination and entertaining a sense of humour can be uplifting.