Dec 30, 2008

Great being number two

A British writer for the LA times attempts to explain to American readers the benefits of fading power:—
The fact is that when you're No. 1, you always get blamed for everything. When you're No. 3, or No. 5 -- or No. 135 -- you can put your hands in your pockets and whistle tunelessly with a "Who, me?" look on your face, and no one ever asks any questions.... If Britain's experience is anything to go by, Americans will soon find more satisfaction by trying to break pointless world records or writing absurdist comedy, or recovering from apocalyptic, three-gin-and-tonic lunchtime hangovers.
It echoes a recurrent conversation I have with my wife, wherein I try and console her that's its okay getting knocked from the top spot. Look at the British and the Italians and the lugubrious sense of humour that comes from losing an empire, I explain, but then I dry up. I can't think of much else besides "your sense of humour gets more ironic." Public transport gets better? Not necessarily. People like you more? As she pointed out to me the other night, "if its so great being number two, why are you always on at me about how great it is."