I want to tell you a story about a middle-aged man called Gary. Gary isn’t an overly remarkable individual. You probably won’t see him on Dancing with the Stars or on the front page of The Press. He will definitely never be motivated to run for mayor or campaign to stop people using plastic straws – in his opinion these types of endeavours are a complete waste of time and best left to simple individuals who still believe the world can be changed.

That said, Gary himself could well be described as simple. He has a predictable job, with predictable hours and predictable outcomes. He gets paid on Tuesdays and brings his home-grown blueberries to sell at the office on Thursdays. Even his determined walk to the office and back is predictable. Heck, a hired hitman would be spoiled for choice with times and locations to setup and pop a cap in his ass buttocks (unlikely to kill him, in fact he’d most likely not notice, that’s how big his rear end is).

Heck, a hired hitman would be spoiled for choice

It’s possible you’ve even seen Gary on his regular commute to the office, as he legs it with such conviction you’d imagine he was heading to a job that the world depended on (spoiler alert: he files parking tickets). In fact, I would suggest that you have seen him, just not noticed him – there’s a difference.

Of course, Gary doesn’t care. He doesn’t want your attention. He has no desire to be a millennial insta model, or take selfies to upload for maximum likes and retweets – no, he’s happy to make it home alive in one piece and feed his brood of chickens, and then settle in for a night of watching the Chase.

Is this Gary? No one’s quite sure.

Gary might be simple, and his life mind-numbingly routine, but he’s not completely stupid. He hoards like a squirrel, known to pocket the odd teabag from the office kitchen, building up nuclear-winter-worthy stash at home. He observes the world around him like a magpie, quick to pick up on the scent of a one-day special for crown pumpkins or a free sample of sunscreen handed out for daffodil day.

He also looks both ways before crossing the road, a habit that has kept him alive to date – he’s researched the statistics on pedestrian fatalities and knows the odds are high he could be next.

he’s researched the statistics on pedestrian fatalities and knows the odds are high he could be next…

Weekends are a struggle for Gary. If he had it his way they wouldn’t exist. He dislikes the unorganised chaos of weekends. The disruption to his orderly routine of clockwork precision brings on an almost physical pain.

There’s a rumour they had to revoke his after-hours office access, after they found him spending entire Saturdays refiling parking tickets from three years ago. Now what he does nobody’s quite sure. Someone said they saw him at The Warehouse in Riccarton, which is possible because blueberries need repotting from time to time, but it could have been someone else, since Gary’s ordinariness extends to his commonplace appearance.

So yes, maybe he is one of the most unassuming individuals on the planet, some might even think this sad. If he died (because the rookie hitman missed that massive target and got him in the head), maybe no one would notice. The blueberries would get picked off by the birds, and the chickens would eventually go feral, break free from their hutch and terrorise the neighbourhood children. But Gary wouldn’t care – he’s dead remember, resting in peace, R I P (like died dead).

So while he makes his way to the office and back, walking that asphalt path to the grave, Gary isn’t worried what you think, how you judge his bad posture and poor fashion sense, because, while he’s not setting the world on fire, he’s content in his own skin (and there’s a lot of it) and he knows the chickens will be waiting for him when he gets home.

a world that somehow forgets they are the beige stitches that hold society together

So if you know a Gary, admire their nonchalance for pop culture and internalised melodramas, and watch them as they shuffle by, unaffected by a world that doesn’t give them glory or fame, by a world that somehow forgets they are the beige stitches that hold society together – in a sad, unremarkable way.

Let me tell you about Gary
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