Setting the record straight: “my privileged life”

A few nights ago I was confronted by a bizarre experience that I wasn’t expecting … I was invited to join some people for drinks that I hadn’t seen in 30 years, and when I got there, I was basically ambushed by 2 of the 3 of them, I don’t know if the 3rd played any part in the ambush or not.

What was revealed to me in this ambush, was that apparently (based on 30 years old information, which wasn’t even correct 30 years ago, and was based almost if not entirely on faulty assumptions) that I had lived an ultra privileged life, and the conclusions drawn by these fellows was so convincing and unassailable in their minds, that apparently these childhood fantasies couldn’t possibly be wrong in the slightest details, because somehow as teenagers back then, they figure they knew more about my life than I knew myself, including every single detail since then, despite spending no time in my company whatsoever, and having no communications with me whatsoever during those 3 decades.

I kid you not … this really happened.

It has to make you wonder, how the fuck do people get these idiotic ideas in their heads, and apparently feel resentful about stuff that isn’t even real and never was, resulting in a combined attack all these years later to try to “bring me down a peg or two” (I’m guessing that’s their motivation).

Well … It doesn’t stop there.

The 3rd whom didn’t appear to be involved, he was the one of whom (if any) I’d have said could have had a legitimate complaint against me, and I even asked about it from my memory of our childhood, apologised to him in case he felt I had ever done anything wrong, and in his words he replied “I only ever thought of you as my friend, you weren’t a problem”.

I greeted all 3 excited to see them after 30 years, and physically hugged them saying “you’re not gonna get away with just a handshake after 30 years”. I spent the evening talking to each of them, genuinely curious what they’d been up to.

One of the two who did attack was the one who started all the trouble … when I was asked what I’d been up to, and I explained, I was basically ridiculed for it … but to his credit, when I ripped apart his ridicule with firm but diplomatic logic, demonstrating that neither would I back down, nor would I take shit, nor throw away the prospect of a friendship after 30 years, he did actually back down, and even a couple of times agreed that his comments had been entirely unfair. During the night (as an example of how nice I was to him), he remarked of my comments about him that he’d “never had a greater compliment from anyone in his entire life”.

This however didn’t stop him from trying again to ridicule me, and the other guy there eventually helped him, based on an utterly biased recounting of something that you can only say “happened” if you completely ignore everything but the cherry picked things he then voiced, and even then it wasn’t a valid argument against me anyway, merely an assertion that he has some kind of right to say what I should and shouldn’t do with my life. He then degraded into a primary school level attack by calling me a sissy or something (because apparently he knows more about my spinal damage than I do).

So as soon as I realised the entire night had gone to shit, I thought fuck it, I don’t have to take this shit from anyone, especially not some fucking loser whom after 30 years attacks a friend as some kind of “intervention” to save me from being different to himself, as if he was something to aspire to.

As I left the venue, wishing I hadn’t wasted my time & money, but glad for the recent sale of a disused personal item which allowed me to afford to go out for a change, one of them was still talking to me, so I said that he should come outside to talk (as I wanted to leave, and the other idiot was still yelling names at me from his chair that he couldn’t be bothered standing up from) … and so he came outside to talk briefly before I left.

At this point, I was still trying to make heads or tails of what the hell was going on with these guys, when he hit me with this revelation of whom he thought I was, and what my life had been like when we were kids … it was bizarre to say the least to hear someone who barely knew me, and whom hadn’t seen or heard from me in 30 years, be so sure of his convictions … So I asked him a couple of questions which helped reveal where this was coming from, and which gave me a nice simple path to providing the correct information that would set the record straight … but he didn’t want to hear, didn’t want to listen, talked over the top of me, and having had his say, he returned inside.

So at least I know now what these guys think (roughly), which runs something like this:

  1. I’ve lived a privileged life;
  2. Wealthy family;
  3. Big house;
  4. My childhood was piss easy;
  5. My adulthood easy;
  6. My spinal damage is no big deal;
  7. I’m being unreasonable to expect anything else.

… and why would they come to these conclusions?

  • Because my parents are doctors;
  • We had a 2-storey house when I was a kid.

… that’s basically the sum total of their evidence.

So … just in case they read this, let me set the record straight:

  • I was born with scoliosis, and spent part of my childhood having musculoskeletal manipulation which was uncomfortable, distressing, and sometimes quite painful;
  • I was allergic to pretty much everything, so a single bite or sip of the wrong thing could have me doubled over in agony;
  • I was subjected to pesticide, herbicide, heavy metal & asbestos poisoning in my environment;
  • I developed extreme asthma and often couldn’t breathe which was terrifying;
  • I barely remember much before a certain age because my mind was so clouded by all that was wrong;
  • My dad couldn’t handle my reactions and didn’t understand so he hit me to try to force a change in behaviour that I couldn’t help as it was medical in nature;
  • I was subsequently beaten by teachers for the same reasons;
  • I had hundreds upon hundreds of injections and prick tests to try to find out what was wrong with me;
  • I had an inguinal hernia at age 3 requiring surgery;
  • I was put on an extremely strict diet to try to solve the problem, so I’d watch as other kids ate nice food and I had to eat things that to a child’s tastes are revolting;
  • My mother, while a self employed doctor, didn’t make much (if anything) more than his mother until long after I finished high school … and while my dad made a little more, it wasn’t a huge amount as they were both very honest and diligent doctors who spent a lot of time with their patients;
  • Both my parents were on call 24/7 for more than 20 years without a break unless they paid a locum to take over the surgery;
  • When they got divorced during my childhood it was the first peace we’d had in the house;
  • The house itself was bought as the kind of best house in the worst street, just a couple of blocks from a horse and greyhound racing track, so late at night you’d just hear the races being called – it wasn’t quite so flash as he imagined;
  • My mother only just retired last year at age 74, doing hours well into her 70s that most people don’t do in their 20s, and still isn’t debt free so she can’t afford the retirement shed hoped for, but was too exhausted to go on;
  • My father is still working today at age 76 later this year, after suffering at least 3 heart attacks (that I know of) as well as a stroke that I only found out about through my mum;
  • I’ve watched my sisters go through hell in life;
  • … and so I only have vague memories of moments during my childhood when I wasn’t afraid, alienated and very sad.

Now … I don’t tell everyone this, I don’t go around thinking about it all the time … but when people ask me “why didn’t you become a doctor like your parents”, I tell them: “I wouldn’t do what they do for less that $500K per annum, and that’s for 3 days a week and no home calls.

Being a doctor is tough … they did 10 years approximately of combined medical school and residency, during which residency they worked as many as 100+ hours per week … that’s almost no time left for sleep or anything else … then they’re on call 24/7 for decades, working mon-fri just to pay overheads and tax, on,y taking home what they make on the weekends … and for all that, my mum earned no more than the average wage of the country at that time for many years, until finally after a few decades more she managed to build it up … and my dad around those same earlier days, was also making well less than $100K … in fact it’s quite arguable that any plumber in the business would have been making more money from less hours and less responsibility and stress.

People seem to have this idea that all doctors are wealthy … it simply isn’t the case.

Specialists and surgeons are wealthy sure … and GPs that are willing to pump patients through as fast as possible without much care or concern, they can make a reasonable living also … but my parents weren’t like that.

I know well there are people who make my childhood seem blissful next to theirs, I’ve met them … but it wasn’t any of these 3 guys that’s for sure … they just had chips on their shoulders and an axe to grind, so they took it out on me.

What I’ve mentioned in this article is mostly a long time ago, it’s not my concern … when I meet someone I haven’t seen in years, I don’t want to have a contest over whose battle scars are the worst, or bring them down to size … I just want to get to know someone, have a drink, and share funny stories. It’s a shame things didn’t just go down that line.

If I was to sit down with any of these guys, and tell them the intricate details of the suffering I’ve endured during the course of my life … and I’m not just talking about the kind of problems that come & go, I’m talking about the kind of shit that comes into your life, fucks you up, gets continually worse, you don’t have the resources to solve it, so it entrenches itself for a few decades without relief, and causes a snowballing effect of other problems that you also can’t handle … ASSUMING they’d just shut up and listen without interrupting … I reckon it would blow their minds … BUT … I also know they’d call me a liar, as their view of me is so entrenched, no evidence nor reason will dissuade them from their beliefs, so there’s no point having any such discussion.

The sad thing is … my memory of them as kids, is that they were all really nice young guys … I don’t know what happened to them, but at least (unlike them) I don’t presume to know.

The scary thing is, one of them (by the sound of it) is a reasonable senior bureaucrat … and it just makes me think “if he’s one of the more reasonable people who work in government, we’re fucked”.

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