March 16th, 1999.

Being different.

They say you shouldn't drive a car when you are angry because in taking your anger out on the car, you may accidentally hurt someone. Do those same advisers think that getting behind a keyboard in anger is equally as ill-advised? If so I am just about to go against their advice because I am here just about to write this week's' Meanwhile' and I am pissed off. Seriously pissed off at that!

I wish I knew what it was that people felt was 'dodgy' about me. I am thoroughly fed up with people using the word 'dodgy' in connection with me. For years people have branded me as some kind of threat or person to be wary of. From so-called friends to absolute strangers, people have cast doubt over my character more times than I care to remember.

I'm not going to skate around this issue. Why should I watch my P's and Q's when there are those out there who would tarnish people's opinion of me without a second thought? For years I have accepted the unfair labeling given to me by others. I have tried various approaches to dealing with this from confrontation to ignoring it.

I have had preachers in churches label me as dangerous and then suffered the backlash of a whole bunch of 'loving Christian folk' treat me like some kind of sub-human and spread blatant lies about me. I have befriended the mother of a friend of mine when she needed a friend, only to have her rip into me whenever the opportunity arose. She has managed to color the opinion of others who now see me as dodgy and conveniently forget all the things I have done for them.

I have had a so-called friend advise another friend of mine to steer clear of me because our friendship would "all end in tears". I have had people who I thought were good friends express opinions about how they would "never go into business with Simon" because they couldn't trust me.

Don't these people think before they open their big mouths? Did they think these words would not get back to me? Or maybe they thought I wouldn't care. Perhaps if it happened just once that would be the case, but for these people who I thought were friends to continually stab me in the back is really hard work to deal with.

I am a master of hiding what I feel and a master of telling people how I feel. However, I usually get it all screwed around the wrong way, telling those who matter not enough and those who don't matter to go fuck themselves, or something equally as daft!

I wish I didn't care about what people thought about me. And for the most part, I can honestly say I don't. But I'd be lying if I said that people's stupid little comments didn't get under my skin. They do. Having so-called friends cast doubt over your character is hard, having their strung-out mothers constantly calling you all manner of not very flattering things just adds to the bad taste of it all.

I think it stems from the fact that I am 'different'. I am the guy who shakes things up a little. I am not afraid of change and dare I say I "have no respect for the status quo". It's not that I go out of my way to be different, I just seem to be different with no effort.

The thing that pisses me off is the fact that people make up such utter bullshit about me. Calling me 'dodgy' is a blanket term open to a vast amount of interpretation. It could be dodgy as "in a little bit whoa a little bit whae" or it could be dodgy as in criminal. People don't tend to qualify their sweeping character summarization, they just leave it at dodgy.

In many ways, I wish I could just fit into a mold that doesn't attract such controversy. But I have had a few jobs in my life and in all of them, I found it hard to be 'just someone else' like everyone else. I have always been different somehow and as nice as that can be, it can also be a pain in the ass because your average corporate knobhead employer doesn't like different. They like a factory line model of a person, normal everyday garden variety people who run off the evolutionary chain like candy off a conveyor belt.

My previous place of employment is a fine example of the kind of blinkered vision that I have to contend with. The powers that be saw fit to ax me from the staff (well, my contract was unexpectedly not renewed in a time they most needed staff). The person in charge of staffing took a dislike to me and tried to convince me that I was no good at my job. The truth is that I was, to be blunt, bloody excellent at the job. I didn't need them to affirm me because as arrogant as it sounds, it is the truth. However, a circle can't fit where a square should be, and my future there came to an end when my contract reached its conclusion. Difference, it seemed, had reached its use-by date.

So I started MELT, the best choice I made. With my brother as a mentor MELT has taken off and is doing well. However, certain people at my previous workplace were recently quoted as advising someone to beware of me as I was "dodgy".

I nearly hit the roof. I loaded my lawyer gun and took aim. How dare they, how dare anyone. This isn't me they are talking about. This is MELT, my company, my living, and my source of income. In the end, I managed to convince myself that firing the lawyer gun was a bad idea, and to be fair it wasn't management that was quoted.

I don't mind being different. Like I say, I like it. Wearing brightly colored hats and using a Mac in the world of PC using sheep is cool. However, I am left wondering whether I will ever be allowed to be different without being "dodgy". Steve Jobs (Apple's CEO) and Richard Branson (Virgin's CEO) were once seen as the "crazy ones" and "dodgy". Now they are hailed as geniuses. Their success has somehow validated their difference.

So perhaps that is my answer. Live the difference, revel in, and enjoy the difference. Allow myself to have those crazy aspirations. "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." .. Damn right!