Friday, 2 September 2016

Transfer Deadline Day And Rocky Dennis

This past Wednesday was Transfer Deadline Day in the UK. The capitalisation is apt because it has now become the single biggest event in sport if such a thing is to be judged by the levels of hyperbole afforded to it. I can remember when the biggest event in football was the FA Cup final, but that competition has now been rendered so irrelevant that the winning manager cannot even be expected to keep his job for the rest of the day. In fact, Louis Van Gaal was sacked at least partly because of his consistent failure to shine on Transfer Deadline Day.

Of course, the reason that Transfer Deadline Day has overtaken actual sporting events in the public consciousness is television. Its insatiable appetite for bringing you round-the-clock 'news' has turned Transfer Deadline Day into a yellow-themed telethon as a succession of besuited clowns and their absolutely-not-there-for-their-looks companions bellow at the camera like children's television presenters in response to Walsall loaning a left-back from Dagenham. Telethons are at least vindicated by the fact that they almost exclusively exist to raise money for some deserving charity or cause. Transfer Deadline Day benefits nobody but an already bloated pair of television companies and the all-conquering behemoth that is the Premier League which swims around in insulting amounts of cash yet still expects you to hang on its every word, for 24-hours solid twice a year.

None of this disapproval of the concept stopped me from attempting to join in with the joviality on social media. What can I tell you? I'm a conundrum. Or a twat, whichever you prefer. Some time ago I took a photograph of myself. A selfie, leaning out of the car window on the driver's side. Shades on, crap stubble. I posted it on Facebook but it was a bloody joke, because I have a friend who went through a phase of posting this type of car-selfie and I wasn't altogether sure whether he was joking or not. I know, I bantz. Either way, it should not be misconstrued as an attempt at self-promotion. I hate all that. People who carry selfie sticks around just make me want to leave this world for good. Anyway, more on self-promotion later.

For now I want to explain that this 'pose', if you must insist on calling it that, was similar to the standard shots you see of players and managers leaving training grounds on Transfer Deadline Day. Harry Redknapp was the number one exponent of this kind of thing. I'm sure he would just spend the whole day driving in and out of his club's training ground in the knowledge that the idiot press would follow him and ask him to please elaborate on the future of Peter Odemwingie. The similarity between The Redknapp and my own shot inspired me, if that is the right word, to recycle my photograph on social media along with what I thought was a brilliant joke about disability. As a wheelchair user I'm allowed to make jokes about disability, right? Wrong, but I do it anyway. Alongside my recycled car-selfie I wrote that I was just leaving QPR's training ground after completing my medical on Transfer Deadline Day, but that I was worried about failing the medical. I can't walk, ho ho ho.

Lots of people agreed that this was funny in a childish, stupid sort of way. Or at least I thought they had agreed judging from the response it received. Yet I turned up for work the next day and was grilled about the post by my female colleagues in particular. I'd reckoned without the non-football fans who have somehow managed to stay unaware of the enormity of Transfer Deadline Day. They went ahead and accused me of vanity and self-promotion. Of being the type of piss-hat who posts pictures of himself that he has actually posed for in a doomed and quite desperate attempt to get the female population to 'like' it on various social media platforms. All of which works for some people and good luck to them, even if I wish they would fuck the fuck right off with their relentless positivity. I know one guy who is attempting to make a living out of his pure loveliness. He's great and he should inspire me, but he doesn't. He makes me want to stick forks in my eyes.

The point is that self-promotion was not my intention. My only intention was humour. Even down to the minute detail of choosing QPR over any other club because they were most recently managed by Redknapp and were also the club to which Odemwingie drove in a bid to get himself signed without invitation one Transfer Deadline Day, an act that defines desperation and which has assured his place on TDD folklore as well as his interminable lampooning. The idea that my motive was my vanity or that I think anything of myself as a physical entity is beyond risible. When I look in the mirror in the morning I see Rocky Dennis, the boy who suffered from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia and died in 1978 before his 17th birthday. They made a film about his life which starred Cher. It was the weepie to end all weepies and you do not want to put yourself through it if you haven't already. All you need to know, and as you can see from his photograph below, looking like Rocky cannot in any way be considered a plus and is not the sort of thing that would inspire you to start hoiking your image around social media looking for approval.

My malaise has worsened since. While I was sat at my desk contemplating my error in my Rocky-esque fug one of my female colleagues made a derogatory remark about my appearance. It was a joke, and it doesn't even matter what she or anyone else thinks. It's more about what I think, but when you think like I do you don't need people's honesty even if it is offered in jest. And it can be. Just because she was joking doesn't mean she doesn't mean it.

And so that is how Transfer Deadline Day can lead you down a dark path. You just have to be pre-disposed to that kind of thinking in the first place. Jim Fucking White has much to answer for, and not just that appalling yellow tie or the wearing way he bawls down the camera about Grimsby.

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