|Said to be one of 19 most imaginative insults|
It’s been some time since I was called “a pillock”. Not that I’ve minded. If the word means anything it suggests incompetence in manual skills – a failing I willingly own up to.
During national service in the RAF I was regularly called “a smart bastard” and this I took as a compliment. The result of uttering a moderately obscure word like “sentient”. Occasionally this led to fights but these tailed off when my opponents realised I was tall enough to apply the Commando Head Lock which rendered them helpless and – if they struggled – vulnerable.
Being called “a bore” could be one of two insults – one that mattered and one that didn’t. I am fairly articulate but prone to run off at the mouth; detected in this unforgivable sin I became contrite, otherwise “sulky”. If I’d been merely misunderstood by someone who was even worse educated than I was (there were a few) I merely smirked. I should add I was easily the least congenial airman – bar one – during square-bashing. The other – a skimp – came from Lancashire; case proved.
Once, during an early interview for a journalistic job, a very superior editor read my cuttings book and said I lacked the craft of writing. I cringed. At that time there was a justifiable reason for this judgment but I have no desire to resurrect it now. The smart-ass editor was right then and it was an agonising truth. I didn’t get the job but started crawling towards a better form of prose.
I have had – may still have – a particular weakness. Any woman who has chosen to insult me has seen me crawl away, tail between my legs. However extreme the wound I’ve tended to accept it as true. In my novels all women are heroines. Go figure.