Another Plankton Rant: Count Your Blessings

September 21, 2011 § 52 Comments

Is it just me or do people come out with this old fucking chestnut the whole fucking time?

See a plankton looking a bit blue and out it comes, automatic as the gagging reflex, and there it is, splattered into the open yet again, this dainty little posset of wisdom.   Funny thing is, if I counted my blessings as much as everyone told me to, and I count them an AWFUL lot, there wouldn’t be time to do anything else, let alone enjoy them, there wouldn’t be time even to fucking sneeze.

Perhaps people feel guilty because they’ve got so many blessings of their own they just lost count.   I am not talking about my adorable, heavenly and supportive friends who are not remotely smug and who know I have been counting away, counting, counting and double counting till I’m blue in the fucking face and feet and arse for counting, and everything else you can think of, blue all over and throughout, like a goddamn blueberry; in fact that’s why I was looking so blue in the first place.  Believe me, I’m some sort of Carol Vordemann mathematical whizz the amount of fricking counting I go in for.  My good friends know they don’t need to flag up this particular nugget of advice to me.  Indeed, they are entirely excluded from this rant which I can feel coming on… and which is going to sound way, way too bitter but is not meant bitterly, it’s more about the piousness inherent in the phrase itself than any bitterness towards those who are doing the telling because, honestly I do, I count my blessings every day as a fucking Basic, like cleaning my teeth or drinking water – without  ever forgetting, of course, how lucky I am to have teeth to clean in the first place, and how fortunate I am to have running water.

No, I am talking about  people in general who see this paltry plankton bobbing about all alone and – here comes the really-bitter-sounding bitter  bit but isn’t really, I promise – and they think, “I am all cosy and married and living in a house so dripping with good taste you could eat it as if it were made of fucking gingerbread, and I am with my brilliant, handsome, clever, Croesus husband who never so much as looks at another woman twenty years younger than me or would dream of screwing anyone in the world when he’s got marvellous me, call me Blow-Job-On-Legs, because I can cook and cunt like an angel and make witty and clever conversation too, and we’ve got all our amazing children to boot, planet-crunching numbers of them in fact, every single one of them who happens to be a genius in his or her own unique and miraculous way.  Oh, look over there, there’s a sad-fuck little plankton, THE Plankton, indeed, I’ve just GOT to have my say!  But telling her to go on a course, why don’t you, fell rather on deaf ears last time I saw her, I’m not sure why, so what other little gem can I come up with that might make her feel that all-singing, all-dancing warm fuzzy feeling that Reception kids are told to feel every time they have Circle Time?  Oooh, I know, she isn’t being slave traded by a violent, sadistic pimp.  She isn’t starving in a famine-hit country far away.  Her children don’t look like Red-Eye Ood in Doctor Who and aren’t jacking up smack at break time and turning to prostitution because they hate her so much, anything to get away from her.  She isn’t needing to book a ticket to Dignitas quite yet.  Her house isn’t entirely devoid of Farrow & Ball.  She may be a slack cunt on botched legs, but she bloody well ought to realise how lucky she is!  I’ve an idea!

“Plankton, come here, I have something really inspired to tell you which you might find helpful.  It’s important.  Read my lips.  I know you are divorced and on your own and your chances of finding a lovely new man are about on a par with the good in the heart and soul of a mass-murdering dictator, but have you ever considered how things might be were you to… wait for it… it’s a good one, this… Count Your Blessings?”

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§ 52 Responses to Another Plankton Rant: Count Your Blessings

  • John says:

    Bloody brilliant – at last a real woman with big balls!!! Go for it Miss P you deserve the best.

  • Sloe says:

    This rant cheered me up. HUZZAH. Couldn’t agree more.Rant on.

  • MissM says:

    Thank you P, that was a truly beautiful piece of writing and it made my day to read your targeting of yet another platitude with your usual combination of honesty and humour.

    If only we could make platitudes come under the category of not being politically correct, but I suspect that for most people if you take them away they would simply have nothing left to say.

    Platitudes are a wonderful way for people to wallpaper over any cracks in the walls of their lovely world, allowing them to continue ignoring all that may be deemed unsightly. Having rolled out such comments the commentator can feel virtuous and helpful, and free to move on.

    The worst of it is that platitudes tend to throw blame squarely onto the recipient. It cannot be that someone has a deficit in their life they would like to have addressed, no, they are merely looking at it wrong, not counting their blessings, yep, that’s the ticket, blame nicely thrown back at the original person, where it belongs. Not to mention if they’d gone on some course like they were told to, they obviously would not be in the situation in the first place, no person is ever single after having gone on a course.

  • june says:

    I i just had a quick read of this before i went out and as usual plankton you had me in stitches, so funny and so true.

    No like you my friends are fine,as to be honest some of their relationships not great and those that are, not at all smug.

    But some of those others. i was talking to a friend yeaterday,one of the few fellow planktons i know, and she said was asked to barebecue by a couple, but told she had to bring a partner, now personally i would have told them to stuff the barebecue if they didnt just want me, she didnt and took a guy she knew casually,now he keeps ringing her though she finds him totally not her type. Can you believe in 2011 people can actually say you cant come anywhere without a partner! , are we in the bloody dark ages here and this is in a city not the backwoods. When i said to my friend whose birthday meal i went to with partners kids and friends , how nice it was to be inclued and not feel out of it, though single , she said well you are included, you are my friend,what the hell has having a partner got to do do with it, we are not all loved up after all, so refreshing as i have had so m uch of the other in my plankton status..

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear June, thank you. Just the reaction I hoped for: stitches, as opposed to any po-faced shit about me being bitter (which hasn’t been forthcoming so far, so good!). Thanks again. Px

      • june says:

        you are so funny and its lovely hearing stuff said that ive been thinking too, as you say its not true friends who do it, hence my friends remarks re the meal out, shes not iiving in la la land in her relationship, and sometimes stuff she says re it,have me in fits of laughter, god knows why she goes on with it, shes lovely, funny and worth more but she doesent want to be a plankton!

  • Independent Ms says:

    Dear Plankton, (oh how I hate calling you that, as I’m sure you’re a lovely lady). Have you been talking to my cousin? She spouts crap such as ‘count your blessings’, ‘maybe you’ve just not met the right man yet’, ‘maybe you’re meant to be single now’ (what?), or ‘someone will turn up when you’re not looking’ (I’ve not been looking for years!) and so the endless list of crappy platitudes goes on. She’s one of the smugly-marrieds too. Aaaaaargh!

  • JD says:

    “cunt like an angel” .. that’s why I read your blog…. just the best turn of phrase!! Love it 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – made me laugh out loud! I was a Plankton for many years, but for 2 have been with someone who is less than perfect for me in so many ways, but he makes me laugh, is great in the sack and the kids love him. And as for the smug marrieds… their lives are NEVER as perfect as they make out and they are often jealous of Plankton for so many reasons. Everything is a compromise and I regularly consider whether I should return to the compromise of life as a Plankton… the grass is always greener….

  • Sloe says:

    June, do you think some women only feel secure when a single woman comes to a social event with a man,otherwise they may appear available and have potential to lead their beloved husbands astray?

    • june says:

      you could be right there, but if anyone told me i had to bring a man to an event , i would tell them to stuff the b loody event. thank god my friends not like that, as i said my friends comment cheered me no end, as its nice to think you may be a plankton but your real friends really dont care, they love you for yourself. .

  • joules says:

    Don’t think you are bitter – think you are spot on sister.

  • Ciara says:

    I’ve been reading you for ages Plankton, and kept meaning to reply but somehow didn’t get to it but, janey macks, have to say today, just love it! Classic, thanks a million.

  • Leftatforty says:

    Buenísimo. Well done P!

  • Lydia says:

    The whole basis of this is an assumption that single people of either gender want or are only happy with a partner. That of course is complete rubbish for masses of people.

    Every study done shows unmarried women are happier and have better mental health than those married thus imagine how much worse you’d fee if you were married? Why do you want a man? What are the uses to which you’d put him? Why would life be better with one?

    • MissM says:

      Not everybody is happy only with a partner, but that doesn’t mean that some people are not in that category. I have had a partner and not had a partner, and for me having someone is an infinitely preferable situation. I am not imagining it or fantasising, I have been there. Perhaps had I been in an unhappy relationship previously I too would be touting the merits of being single, but I know how much better life is with a good partner.

      Since you ask, for me having a man means not having to go to bed alone every night, enjoying hugs and cuddles and physical shows of affection. It means having someone to act as a focus for lots of little things that make life more enjoyable. It means thinking “I must remember to show this to x, he’d find it funny” or “I’ll get that for x, he’d enjoy that”. It is having someone to cook favourite meals for rather than just myself.

      It means having someone to share all life’s trials and triumphs with. Being needed for support, and getting support when it is needed in return. It means that my mere presence makes someone else feel good and cheers them up, and theirs does the same for me. All these things give life meaning for me.

      To say all studies find “unmarried women are happier and have better mental health” is false, look at more studies and you will see the results actually vary with different studies. Generalisations can be dangerous, and it is clear not everyone is the same. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. I only know what I need in my life, I cannot speak for anyone else.

      If you get all the things I have outlined above elsewhere in your life then, congratulations, and I would agree single life is probably just fine for you. In fact, I would expect such a person to have zero interest in reading a blog such as this in the first place.

      Now I have to ask, if single life is so very superior then why are you spending so much time sorting through a string of “lovely men” on a regular basis?

      • Lydia says:

        I am just putting the glass half full point of view. I do believe having looked at it fairly closely most studies show female mental health is best when the woman is single although society may have conned them into thinking having a mate makes them happier (as that suits men to have women think that). However I am not one of those people who is actively aiming to remain single. I like men. They are fun and I’ve had nice boyfriends since I divorced. It’s just that I wouldn’t see it as failure or bad if I were alone hereafter. Virtually all women end up alone anyway as they marry older men and men die younger than women anyway.

        I don’t see it as a burden to date men or seek one. I think it’s an interesting part of life. I like meeting people and I have quite a hit rate in getting business from them actually although I certanily don’t aim for that.

        Anyone can find a man if they set their mind to it, even plankton and even MissM. Those of us who think it possible can advise and guide and then you can have me sing at your weddings – people sometimes pay for that believe it or not.

        The things Miss M wants to do for a man above are exactly what loads of men are after. That’s a really really good start. That puts you ahead of quite a pack of women who may instead want to take, be paid, be kept and the like. It’s very good.

    • EmGee says:

      This comment needs additional citations for verification. 😉

      • EmGee says:

        I meant Lydia’s, not MissM’s. M’s wasn’t there when I posted mine.

      • Lydia says:

        This is someone criticising my point that marriage make women unhappy and men happy but does refer to the earlier study

        “The “Marriage Benefit Imbalance” was first popularized in 1982 by Jessie Bernard in her book, The Future of Marriage. This work created a lasting myth that women do not benefit from marriage. Bernard argued that there are two marriages: his and hers. She tried to prove this by showing: that women were unpaid for their parenting and domestic responsibilities and therefore not as valued as men’s work outside the home; that men, by controlling the finances had power over women in marriage; and that married men lived longer than single men while married women did not live longer than singles. Bernard also claimed that married men reported they were happier than single men but also that they were happier than married women.

        And the list of the supposedly toxic effects of marriage continued. Bernard claimed that more women than men are unhappy in marriage, so unhappy that they are depressed and have poorer mental health than single women. In short, Bernard believed that marriage was a good deal for men and not so kind to women.”
        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-true-love/201003/is-marriage-toxic-women-part-i

    • MissM says:

      Thank you for your reply Lydia, I appreciate it as I do find it good to get different points of view.

      I admit I do find it a burden to seek out and date a man. That is just my personality type I guess, part of being an introvert perhaps. As people have mentioned, online dating means a lot of work if you want to get a result. It never even remotely occurred to me that anyone would consider that sort of stress as fun, so it is enlightening to learn now that some people do.

      If I could just skip all that and just get to the point where my partner and I were just happily in contented togetherness I would be thrilled. It is just another reason why I don’t like being single, I find dating to be a chore not a joyous activity. It doesn’t help my chances of finding someone, I know. My personality is all wrong for the business of single life.

      I wish I naturally had the positive outlook that seems to be so effortless for you Lydia, then I might indeed be able to have you sing at my wedding some day. Although I confess that for me marriage is not as important as just being in a stable long-term relationship.

      I too have seen the studies that show women as being worse off married than not married, At the same time I have yet to find any study at all that shows men do not do better in things like happiness, health, and longevity when married as opposed to being unmarried. Which is why I find it so interesting, or odd, or confounding even, that men in general, (or the ones I have met in my life at least,) seem so hell bent on avoiding marriage as though it was the guillotine. It is they who would supposedly benefit the most. Whereas women who have more mixed results depending on which study you look at, desire marriage so strongly. The human race can be quite strange at times.

      • Lydia says:

        I’ve met a lot of middle aged men who want a relationship (not just sex) including two widowers and various others. They defniitely want marriage. indeed 2 or 3 of them I briefly saw have remarried (and they were ones I rejected so I don’t begrudge them a remarriage).

        Traditionally MissM would not have had to seek out a man. her family/father would have done it for her at a young age not much beyond puberty and she would have been exchanged for some goats or even a dowry and given away without having to worry about choice or dating. If her husband died she might well have been in a culture where she then passes to the next single or not single brother.

        I prefer our current system but at least that other system removed the need for choice and dating.

      • MissM says:

        Funny I never said I don’t like choice, what I don’t like is having to spend time with a string of dreary uneducated men in the hopes that one of them turns out to be someone with whom I could fall in love, aka dating where I live. This whole kissing a lot of frogs in the hopes one may be a prince thing. I don’t enjoy that bit, I don’t enjoy their company, it is not fun. Actually I suspect there is not a single prince there at all and only toads.

      • Lydia says:

        Do a lot of vetting first by email and on the telephone so you only meet the ones who may be good which is what I do, perhaps. Even if they live far away if you both end up liking each other enough people can make things work even across continents and then change their lives to be together.

      • MissM says:

        Thanks Lydia, all advice is appreciated. I feel truly stuck at this point since vetting leaves no one worth meeting. I think I have to give up totally until such time as I can move. Then I rather hope I will be too old to care anymore since my increased age it will make it even harder to find someone. I hate that precious good years are going to waste.

        I am totally open to overcoming the tyranny of distance, even intercontinental, but sadly it seems others are not. Some online dating sites even have settings that do not allow you to contact a person if you live outside a certain local radius, which must be a response to what the members want. I have heard quite a few tales of people who have done the whole long distance romance successfully, and I confess I both envy them and am at a loss as to how they achieved this.

    • EmGee says:

      I have no idea where in the hierarchy this reply will end up, but I see your point regarding unmarrieds being happier, particularly women, and particularly women in the 19th century. It is easier now, but even though laws have changed and society has eased up on what is accepted of people, traditional gender roles are still intact for most women, and they are also expected to pick up the financial slack as well.

      I doubt I will ever harbor thoughts of marriage again, but that doesn’t mean I don’t desire a partner. These are 2 distinct categories for me. I have been far more satisfied being in long term relationships than in my marriage.

      • Lydia says:

        I don’t know if they were happier and I bet loads of them wanted (and want in cultures where marriage is arranged) choice. I was just saying MissM not liking choice might have preferred the arranged marriage easier. Indeed there are cults you can join where your spouse is picked by the cult never mind all those cultures where that remains the case.

        Marriage gives more security to most people as it is a public commitment for life with all kinds of responsibilities on both sides. Living together does not have the same effect.

        Most women in the UK work and have children and also ensure they have a fair division of tasks at home. Only idiots in the UK today tolerate sexism within their relatinoships and the above mentioned “traditional gender roles”.

  • anna says:

    Spot on! Have been reading your blog for a while now, and loving it!

    Anna

  • How do you get a picture to appear in the icon next to your name here?

  • Oxonian says:

    Terrific! That rant has surely been one of this blog’s highlights. I guess it’s a shame to see a perfectly sound nugget of wisdom cheapened by repetition in the mouths of people who’ve never had to avail themselves of it.

  • MissBates says:

    Literally GASPING with laughter, Plankton. You’ve outdone yourself with this one.

    I hate the platitude-mongers, and very nearly punched the last person who told me “it will happen when you stop looking.” Pretty fucking stupid advice, really, but anyway: If this person ever paid any attention to me instead of glazing over once every three years when I venture to mention the difficulty of my plankton status (you know, when I can get a word in edgewise while listening to all of HER important, married-person GROWN-UP problems), she would know that: (a) I’ve already stopped looking; and (b) I didn’t ASK her for dating advice, I just wanted a little sympathy; and (c) um…I’ve forgotten where I’m going with this, really, so I’m just going to spare you all and stop.

    • T. Lover. says:

      Perhaps it’s me. I don’t see the laugh or the logic.

      Underlying the counting of blessings is a plank of behavioural psychology viz look to something positive if you want to drag yourself out of a hole, don’t dwell on the bad and look forward to something nice.

      “When you are not looking” underpins two wisdoms.
      One: one can give off an aura of anxiety which can be picked up by the opposite sex. If you are not relaxed your behaviour alters. So your chances reduce.

      Two: the thrill of the chase. I thought a woman would understand that a little bit of distance (rather than I am actively desperate to trap you pal) adds to the attraction.

      The swearing. Some words are not nice in mixed company – I know context is important but I am struggling to work out whether they are used in this blog because they are the blogger’s natural habitat or just effect.

      By the way if one turns the pages of Times 2 (September 19) back from page 7 (a piece by this blogger) to page 3 you will see an article entitled “It’s no surprise that the hyper achieving have colourful love lives – success and sex are linked” which may be worth a read when considering whether to take on a multi married/mistressed/lovered bloke/woman.

      By the way again, I enjoy reading the blog not because it makes me roll round the floor in tucks but because it helps me understand when I feel down. Thank you.

      • EmGee says:

        I agree, T.

        I think 1 & 2 go hand in hand.

        And while I think playing ‘hard to get’ is too teasing, keeping a distance and not being constantly underfoot like a cat that needs unremitting attention, is quite attractive to most men, and women for that matter. Clinginess and neediness are too emotionally draining.

        Since this is a blog, I give the excess of swear words, and not every entry is awash with them. Plankton only overuses them when she is really really frustrated.

      • MissBates says:

        T. Lover: Re your explanation of the theory behind the “when you’re not looking” platitudes: Um, yeah, I actually do understand what it MEANS. Always have. My point is that my very existence as a plankton seems to invite these inane & unwelcome comments, despite the fact that I’m NOT looking, and haven’t been for years. Period. Totally given up; no expectations; no interest in what men think of me. Thus, no “aura of anxiety” that you mention, no air of “desperation,” and no concern about my “chances reducing,” as you put it.

      • EmGee says:

        Plankton, Miss Bates, et al,

        What kind people are around you that say such things? I get sympathy when a potential suitor doesn’t work out, but I swear my friends seem more disappointed when things don’t work out than I!

        They never tell me to lower expectations, try online dating, try harder, don’t try so hard, count my blessings, or discharge other vapid platitudes.

        It may be why I am not so overwrought about all this.

      • T. Lover. says:

        Miss Bates, hello.

        Your specific situation and outlook (of which I am jealous – I wish I could be self sufficient) has nothing to do with the platitudes: look to the positives. And you can appear too anxious.

        And and next time someone senses you are down and tries to be positive, to help – count your blessings – respond by telling that person she is “slack cunt on botched legs”. Sure she will be delighted.

  • Fi0na says:

    That was funny, and yes I agree with Sarah their lives are never quite as perfect as they make out.

  • AMJ says:

    Tell them that you count your blessings evey day thus:

    1 (No asshole male subsuming your personality with his boorish blokeyness and hogging the remote to watch Formula Fucking One) plus 2 (no acrid testosterone stench permeating the house) equals Fuck Off.

    • t lover says:

      I am really really sorry you feel this way, you seem incredibly bitter. Hate must be eating you up.

      I don’t like Formula One either (to be truthful I don’t care for 99% of programmes on the telly) and despite being a bloke I can imagine the scene.

      You two scrapping after a quick pint and Babycham at the local on a Sunday. Another three or four strong lagers at the side of the leather suite.

      He won’t let go of the TV controller.

      You hate that motor racing and you both want your own way, a bit of alcohol involved.

      An atomic flare up and the end. Leaving you an embittered woman.

      The frightening thing is that we might meet. Me – a bland, little, easy going chap. You an embittered man hater.

      Not a treat to look forward to. Nice, bright, no chip on shoulder is my sort preferably someone who is able to count to more than two.

      • The Plankton says:

        NB. This comment from t lover is in response to AMJ, and not to me. It states that in my Manage Comments box, but doesn’t seem to when I approve it, which is strange. I must look into this as sometimes comments aren’t replying to me but to other comments but it doesn’t say so and I feel it must. I am not much of a techie but on to it. Plankton

      • t lover says:

        Blogger, your assumption is correct but when I looked just now to see if I had attracted a dragon’s breath response it seemed obvious. My barb was indented below the AMJ observation.

        Perhaps it would help if I stopped trying to needle your correspondents and behaved. I see you are disapproving of the vitriolic. But you know what it is like….the pleasure of touching a nerve.

      • AMJ says:

        I’m sorry you mistook ascerbic humour as bitterness, t lover, but unfortunately as The Plankton is discovering, there are people everywhere who are far too easily beguiled into a snap character assessment and resultant ad hominem attack based on nothing really except a few words out of context in a blog’s comments section. Sorrier for you than you are for me, champ. You know fuck all about me, bitter or not, but your (thankfully unsuccessful) attempts to make a stranger feel shit about herself are duly noted. Bravo! Classy!

      • T. Lover. says:

        Amj,

        I read your response at lunchtime and tried to reply. I tried again. I dwelt on what you said. Here I am an afternoon later and do not know what to say.

        I do know a little about you. I have hurt you, you say not but I think I have. I want to apologise but have no idea how because a qualified apology is not a proper apology.

        So straight. I didn’t like what you said.

        I thought you deserved a finger in the eye answer from a bloke. I think I have upset you. It was intentional but for the wrong reason. I didn’t take it to be light hearted, the opposite. I thought your comment was OTT.

        What now? You are not the think skinned misandrist I took you for? I have misjudged?

        Well I am therefore sorry and will make a donation to the (British) charity of your choice. Name it.

  • EmGee says:

    t lover’s barb was indeed indented, and directed at AMJ (who has a valid point, imo, but I digress).

    Speaking of, I may like to try a bland, little, easy going chap. A professional musician friend of mine, who is an absolute dear btw, has had one for 15 years; after 30 years experience with other LA based musicians, and Hollywood prima donnas. They couldn’t be happier. She is 60 and he is in his late 40s, and live with her ailing mother, also a dear. It would almost be cloying if they weren’t such genuine people.

  • Dawn says:

    On the bright side, I had two renovations done on my house this summer and never once argued with myself about colours or styles or choices once. Try THAT with a partner!

    What I find galling is when I run into some Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady who I haven’t seen for a while and her only question is, “Got a man in your life?”

    “No, but I have a rewarding career, both girls are grown, healthy and on their way to being successful, I’m enjoying renovating and decorating my home, I stage manage theatre productions, sing in a symphony choir, enjoy hobby photography, etc., ….” but they don’t want to hear about that.

    The point is, I’m happy. Very happy! I’m sure I’d enjoy having a loving partner with which to share it, but I’m not sitting around wringing my hands for the lack of one.

    I think the next time I’m asked that question I’m going to reply, “Several, actually! Would you like to borrow one?”

    • Lydia says:

      People would never dare ask me. It’s interesting. Why do people feel free to pry of some people but not of otehrs? I suppose it’s because I don’t really do gossip and yet I know lots of women get a lot out of long chats to girl friends on the telephone so if you do that kind of thing I suppose you have to expect it back. If I ever were asked eg my sister I just say I don’t discuss my private life.

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