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Everyone’s talking about: One-downmanship

You have no idea what a shocking summer I’m having!

We’ve a feeling you’re about to tell us.

Really, you can’t imagine.

This is what Martin Amis was talking about.

I never met Amis.

He coined the term ‘one-downmanship’ to describe competitive gloom.

Are you trying to tell me your summer hasn’t been miserable? Mine has been…

We know – terrible.

Public transport: chaos. Gatwick Airport: carnage. Weather abroad: furnace. Weather at home: flood. Mortgage rates…

Can we interject?

If you must.

Doesn’t this prove Amis’s point?

MARTIN AMIS COINED THE PERFECT TERM FOR SUCH MISERY-FESTS MARTIN AMIS COINED THE PERFECT TERM FOR SUCH MISERY-FESTS

MARTIN AMIS COINED THE PERFECT TERM FOR SUCH MISERY-FESTS

I fail to see how.

People like you love to woe-off.

That’s another of his ‘clever’ terms, is it?

No, that one’s ours.

Well, I don’t think you’ll find much support for this irritatingly buoyant attitude.

You could be right there because Gallup’s most recent Hope Index (which questions people about the year ahead) shows the biggest lead for the pessimists since the poll began in 2011.

Not so chirpy now, are you?

We are, in fact, as the Financial Times says it’s going to be OK.

Then it’s clearly as potty as you are.

By 2027, it reports, the world will generate renewable energy ‘equal to the entire power capacity of China’.

It still won’t be enough to get Gatwick moving.

OK, if that doesn’t lift you, then how about news that AI is helping to turbocharge the search for new drugs?

We wouldn’t need AI to turbocharge anything if people weren’t so lazy.

You’re referring, we think, to the current TikTok trend (which has 390 million views and rising) for videos with the #lazygirl hashtag.

Yes, I am.

Kicked off by the (now much-dissected) video of a girl spinning around on an office chair and captioned: ‘Lazy girl jobs are my favs, all I do is copy and paste the same emails, take 3-4 calls a day, take my extra-long break, take more breaks and get a nice salary.’

That’s the one. Given the summer I’m having, I do not find laziness amusing…

So in addition to the travel chaos and rain-laden weather systems being sent to test you – you’re now at the mercy of lazy people too?

Exactly that!

Has anyone in particular annoyed you?

EasyJet.

What has EasyJet done?

Not a great deal.

Sorry?

So there I am, stranded at Gatwick…

Yes, you’ve said.

It cancelled its flights, and do you know how many operatives bothered to come and help?

I’m going to go with ‘not enough’.

None. A random bloke grabbed a mic and told everyone he’d tried and failed to find some staff so it was probably best to go back to passport control.

Well, good for that particular Samaritan.

Stop being so positive! I will not even begin to recount the scenes I witnessed that night in the lift at the Sofitel.

Probably best not to… it’ll only make your black mood worse.

It’s not just mine! Other people are feeling it too.

True. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary recently made ‘one-downmanship’ its word of the day on Twitter.

I approve.

One wit did try to lighten the mood, replying: ‘Luxury! When I was a youth, to appear to be at a disadvantage I had to practise five-downmanship!’

Stop being upbeat!

Sorry. Anyway, now we know you’re taking the wet weather as a personal insult, we’ve checked the long-range forecast for you and we think you’ll be pleased.

If you’re about to make some idiotic quip about the sun coming out tomorrow…

Nope, not tomorrow.

When, then? 

September.

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