‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’
I wish the people that say that they’re ‘really competitive’ apply it to better things than board games and laser quest. Why are they not competitive at finding cures for cancer or world peace or becoming Britain’s next top model? Something actually useful. I normally look at people who proclaim they’re really competitive, and think ‘Really?’. All you have to show for it is a couple of swimming certificates, a health and safety course and a Duke of Edinburgh award.
I’m not competitive at all. It always seemed to me like too much effort. You have to apply yourself. You have to study and focus and work hard. It just isn’t for me. Most people are competitive because they like to win. I reckon winning is overrated. I actually really like coming last at things. I think it’s the comedian in me. I find it funny to come last. And not because it sounds rude. Coming last, i.e being the worst at something is hilarious and I think in a weird way it’s something to be proud of. Not just losing at things though, what’s also better than winning is cheating. I love cheating. Now, cheating is funny. Like it’s properly funny and fun. Which I think are my two favourite things. Things that are fun and things that are funny. Whenever I played Monopoly with my family, as a kid, I took great pleasure in cheating. I was like the Lance Armstrong of board games. I took performance enhancing drugs (a litre of fizzy pop and a double pack of Haribo) and would then systematically proceed to steal all the money from my sister- ‘the Bank’. (My sister was always the Banker, it was like she intrinsically knew what she was destined to be: a right twat).
I was proper devious at Monopoly. I didn’t do anything heinous like escaping from jail without a get out jail free card. I was more a Louis C.K than a Harvey Weinstein. I mean,I did make everyone feel very uncomfortable when I got overexcited about buying Old Kent Road but i wasn’t an animal. Well I was always the dog. That was because it was the best one and because I was the youngest I got what I wanted and my sister had to be the iron like a right numpty. Which probably explains why she had resting bitch face from the age of 7.
I loved cheating. Fuck the system! Fuck the establishment! (I wouldn’t actually shout this because I was only eight and had no concept of the Capitalist Manifesto). I always found that the best thing about cheating was getting caught. I think in hindsight it was because it was an action which showed people that I was a renegade. Who didn’t care for rules and restrictions. I didn’t want to win, because I didn’t even want to be part of the game in the first place. I know, I was very meta for an eight year old, right? What I always loved about getting caught cheating was we, as a family would always have a good laugh about it. Which is what I associate with cheating. It’s funny. Sadly various infidelities in my family weren’t treated with quite as much of a sense of humour.
As a kid I loved going the opposite way of being competitive and playing the game. Cheating was thrilling and frivolous and fun.
I remember doing the navigation and map reading expedition part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award and seriously suggesting to my team of five 14 year old teacher pleasing play by the rules girls (think a State school version of Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers) –
‘Why don’t we just order a taxi, I mean who’s gonna know?!’ But it’s fair to say I’ve changed since 1997. I would order an Uber now. (Totally devastated they’re taking Uber away from London I mean what next red wine away from Parisians, fake tan away from Essex, guns away from Republicans?) I digress…
Being competitive at fun stuff like board games and laser quest or karaoke or canoeing or whatever lame arse hobby you’ve taken up that helps you forget about your inevitable immortality and existential crisis is pretty dull. I mean RELAX. You’re supposed to be having fun, that’s what hobbies are for. You can’t have fun if you turn the fun into an Exam. Chances are if you’re competitive with fun trivial things then you’re just a bit too ‘Monica from Friendsy’ for me. That’s a nice way of saying you’re probably a bit of a knob. What did people say before ‘Friends’ existed when they wanted to passive aggressively insult someone? Did they actually just say it to their face?!
I insult people by referring them to their Friends characters so it doesn’t sound so awful.
So if I say that someone is a ‘Phoebe’ it means I think they’re mental, a ‘Joey’- they’re stupid, a ‘Rachel’ they’re a spoilt princess (hey sis!), ‘Ross’ they’re a geek (hello sis, again!) and ‘Chandler’, well I’m afraid you’re emotionally insecure. Thank you, ‘Friends’! The tactful way to slag someone off.
Oh and Monica? Yes you’re a competitive knob. If you were a real person I think you would drive me insane. But you’re not, you’re Courtney Cox, the first person to say the word ‘period’ on TV and ‘bezzies’ with Jennifer Anniston, my all time favourite Rom Com actress and idol. I salute you. (Angelina Jolie can go fuck herself, I’ve always been ‘Team Ann’, not that I advocate competition between the two ladies).
Why are we so competitive? It was Charles Darwin who said ‘it’s not the most competitive that survives but the species most adaptable to change’. I think that’s why I’m not competitive. I am always looking to evolve in some way. I find being competitive the opposite of evolving. It’s animal like. It’s basically the equivalent of peeing like a dog on something and marking your territory. And even though I was always the dog in Monopoly and would often get called a dog by the boys at school when I was a teenager because I was hairy and also, I really love dogs. I don’t want to actually be a dog.
What I want to be is a chameleon, constantly changing and adapting and evolving so as not to get caught cheating at Monopoly.
Oh, actually change that I want to be Madonna because she is always reinventing herself. Oh no wait, I want to be Jennifer Anniston because I love her. Oh no wait, maybe that means I want to be Jennifer Anniston’s husband Justin Theroux…..
Change is good! That’s what my new friend Jordan Gray that I met whilst hosting Colchester New Comedian Of The Year told me. (She only blooming won the competition too so she must be right) And that’s what her show is called. ‘Change is Good’ all about her life as a transgender woman.
She knows all about being competitive too because not only was she competing for Colchester Comedian Of The Year which she won but she has also got to the semi-finals of BBC’s The Voice. She doesn’t want to talk about competitiveness or competitions though she wants to talk about change. And that’s exactly what she is doing in her stand up show ‘Change is Good’.
So before you go and try and compete with your neighbours about who’s got the better car or the better behaved kids or the better Facebook profile or the better mortgage or the better job or the better Instagram account or the better lip fillers why don’t you take yourself out of the race and walk along at your own pace. The others might be racing ahead of you but you have time to stop and smell the roses and actually enjoy your journey.
Check out all of Jordan Gray’s stuff here: http://www.jordangrayofficial.com or follow her on Twitter @talldarkfriend
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