‘There is no I in team,’ Norman Thrush informs me in what has become our morning meeting call. It was meant as an admonition and so I did not retort as I sometimes do, ‘Yes, but there is a ME in it.’ I can’t understand why that has not caught on as a better and killer response to the original, unfunny, uninformative, clichéd idiom. Of course there’s no I in team, we can read. But if there were, what difference would it make? I am an utterly self-centred arsehole, and as there’s an I in Thiem I intend to continue to behave that way, despite the need for cooperation …
I imagine it was first coined as a means of persuading team members of a non-collegiate nature to collaborate for the common good, but so often I hear it said by those most likely to behave selfishly, to broadcast to the rest that they can be counted on to suppress their natural me-first instincts, or that they didn’t possess them in the first place. In this case, the ‘Yes but there is a ME in it,’ doesn’t work, because it either signals to them that they can, after all, despite the no-I, go ahead with their narcissistic pursuits, or that you intend to yourself. I suppose a better response would be, ‘there’s no WE in it either but …,’ or, ‘and it is an anagram of MATE, mate,’ depending on what point you’re trying to make. Neither are appropriate for the circumstances I faced this morning, where I needed to summon up a pithy response to articulate, ‘I am not the one who refuses to work to anything but their own personal agenda whereas you are.’
I suppose ‘fuck off you hypocrite/ponce’ would have done, although that doesn’t quite convey my own team player leanings with it. You could say, ‘you don’t seem to spell it with a WE either,’ stressing the YOU, but then it just starts to get confusing.
I say all this in the light of the Meghan Markle interview; she must be the archest of exponents of the tactic I’m accusing you of the very thing that you think I’ve done myself, – like a six-year-old troublemaker who’s mastered the dark arts of parent PR before any of their friends and seems always to escape unharmed, nay praised, whilst nursing faux injuries and leaving her peers to suffer the consequences of her sophistry. Who has ever been better at it bar Machiavelli himself? I think that I’ll craft and adopt the new portmanteau word Markiavelli as a means to counter my enemies like Norman Thrush. ‘Oh, that could have come straight out of Markiavelli’s Prince,’ I’ll say, all camp and hurt.
But, lest we forget, she has nevertheless also empowered us with there is only I in truth which is a very timely boost for all us existentialists who have been too long oppressed by those with a plan.
Our tiff came as we were finalising the short-list for our TV Show, A Sock in the Eye. His argument that it lacks diversity, countered by mine, that he should be pleased that middle-aged white men make up the rump of arseholes. Quite liderally.
It is to be revealed shortly but meanwhile, as a PR stunt, we plan to contact every two-bit entertainer/broadcaster/presenter slag on the circuit with a short note to say, ‘sorry to inform you that you haven’t made the long list for A Sock in the Eye. You were considered too thick/you too often end a sentence with a preposition,’ – whichever is the most appropriate.
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