The Big Issue : Edition 502
THE BIG ISSUE 8 – 21 JANUARY 2016 13 those brave researchers in the emerging field as Smug Type 3: overwhelming satisfaction with the fact of actually having behaved for once like an adult. If you see me, or someone similarly stricken, in the street or on the Dandenong line, you must take precautions. It’s not pleasant, of course, to avoid smiling at someone who looks like they have a case of conceit – after all, they could just have gas. But such is the virulence of the disorder that you must remain on your guard. So, be vigilant when you see arrogance in facial expression and run right away if you see someone tapping their smartphone with great resolve. In the difficult few months that have elapsed since I returned my tax on time (I RETURNED MY TAX ON TIME!!!!!! AND AM THEREFORE BETTER!!! Goodness, sorry, this is a Smug reflex) and made three consecutive payments to my internet provider before the due date (BEFORE THE DUE DATE!!!!!!! SUCK IT), I have been making “to do” lists on my phone and checking them off. This exaggerated motion of the thumb followed by a glint in the eye of auto-appreciation is a telltale sign of Type 3 Smugness. Although I do not suffer Type 2 Smugness – that explicitly associated with the purchase of a particularly expensive new smartphone – I do know that this gesture is here also symptomatic. And, of course, Type 1 Smugness – peculiar to people who are soon to get married – can produce a similar quirk. Brides and grooms-to-be are just as likely to check off things on a smartphone “to do” list with great satisfaction, so you should count this as a symptom, as well, of course, as the wedding itself. I would ask for your sympathy for this terrible range of disorders, as well as your personal awareness. Yes, the Smug – or, as some sufferers prefer, those with Humility Deficiency Disorder – are contagious and unpleasant and should be avoided at all costs. But spare a thought for how difficult it is to be us. It’s not nice knowing that we are the only decent and admirable people in the world. It gets awfully lonely knowing that we put our tax return in on time for a single year and that there are those others who do not even bother to fill their smartphones with a series of Smug apps. Smug is something only newly acknowledged by the medical profession; The Lancet has published findings on its various forms. There is New Car Smug, I Have Had Visible Abdominal Muscles for Two Weeks Now Smug and, of course, the most fatal form of the disorder, which is Paleo/ Natural Health Smug. This latter group of persons are seriously damaged by their devotion both to hocus-pocus masquerading as science, and meals made entirely from the bones of animals featured on reality cooking shows. Of course, if you do manage to outrun this terrible illness that has become so widespread, you should by no means feel smug. “But spare a thought for how difficult it is to be us. It’s not nice knowing that we are the only decent and admirable people in the world.” RAZER Smug Shot PHOTOGRAPHSBYJAMESBRAUND LOOK. I HAVE some news that I convey not to trouble you, but as an urgent matter of public health. There are persons whom you must take care to avoid and I will here, as an act of civic concern, describe their symptoms. I describe these afflicted, possibly contagious, people because – oh, goodness, this is hard – I am one of them. I have an acute case of Smug. I cannot say how the Smug started. It seemed to start at around the end of the last financial year, and may or may not be the result of the timely lodgement of my tax return. Or, it could have been proximity to my accountant, David, who is not smug but very organised, and is therefore a potential carrier of the particular brand of Smugness that befell me, known by » Helen Razer (@helenrazer) is a writer who would like you to know that she completed all her Christmas shopping by 1 December and has already knocked over one of her New Year’s Resolutions.