Working every Saturday night/Sunday morning till 5am in an over 28s' night club on the outskirts of Melbourne's industrial area you come to learn a couple of valuable things about this proportion of the 'human race' (a term I stretch to almost breaking point here):
(1) Charles Darwin was right- only the strong survive. While the weak mightn't necessarily perish in today's modern urban society where any disease-riddled, quarter-brained excuse for a life form can still technically exist, that's all they really do- exist.
(2) Dogs generally have more class, intelligence and are better looking than the people at over 28s' nights. Ohh...... and actually have some imitation of etiquette. (i.e- dogs may sniff every other dog in the park's arse but they don't end up paying for a lick from the dog having 'gender issues').
So it doesn't seem to matter how privileged, wealthy or sheltered a person has been, if your core is weak you're gonna fall. And if you show your weakness to others they will most often than not take advantage to assume a higher place in the pack than you.
The only defence for this seems to be is to fake it. If you're scared, act like you're brave. If you're nervous, act like you're confident. If you feel uncertain, say everything aloud with conviction.
Because the strong really do like using the weak as stepping stones.
And stepping stones despite earning a shit load of money (which they love showing off to bar-maids half their age) can grow out of their youth, but not their weaknesses, not their insecurities with people's perceptions of them not changing. And when the people around you develop an assumption, it can eventually spill over to completely engulf your own self-perception.
So throughout your life you have to maintain that iron inner strength and become nobody's doormat. Face the humiliation, the rumours, the cruelty with the inner strength of knowing. Knowledge is more powerful than any doughy pay packet.
Otherwise you just become another old balding stepping stone at the over 28s night flashing the Mercedes car keys to make the Vietnamese prostitutes flock around and eat greasy 5 cent spring rolls out your palm. A bit of social lubricant here, a grope from a Vietnamese professional's hand there and the stepping stone has cast off the darkness from his lonely, empty weak of being the doormat. As he winks slyly at the barmaid and takes his Gordon's gin and tonics with the beer soaked lemon, telling her to keep the change.
While I watch these weak stepping stones I doubt and fear for the human race. Then I remember that the stepping stone that just grabbed my arm, winked at me, stuck out their tongue was someone's father, someone's mother, someone's uncle, brother, daughter, aunt, sister or even someone's grandparent and I feel sick.
And just when I think I'm going to scream because I can't take these stepping stones anymore! I can't take their weakness! The stench of the life long fear that has rotted them to their flimsy cores is making me gag. They are all victims. Shuffling in. Shuffling out, not fighting, not questioing, folding folding folding. Accepting their circumstances, their fates, their place at the bottom of the steps, the dregs of the dog pack hierarchy. They come every week and sing 'Jessie's Girl' and 'Run to Paradise' all night long, screaming everytime the songs begin as though they have never heard them before.
Then at closing time they won't leave.
"The bar's closed" we repeat over and over again to their deaf/drunk ears as they give us heart breaking looks as we tell them to go home. The lights turn on, silence consumes the club and the bouncers move in, but they still won't leave. I clean the bar, pick up after them and don't look at them as they stumble and fall as they are mustered out like sheep while their notes and coins nestle curled up in my pocket.
The stepping stones crumble out onto the cold wet street and later I drive home to my warm bed and dreams of the life ahead of me that won't settle for any bottom step.
The graveyard shift is getting to me.