Since the dawn of time, man has created social groups. These groups or ‘packs’ consist of many different characters. From our early school years, through young adulthood and on into our later years, we all have that special group/pack we choose to spend our time with: the best friend from school; the old enemy who is now our closest ally; the next-door neighbour; or perhaps people we have met through friends, who have now become our own close friends.
This pack is nearly always made up of the same recognisable characters. There is always a leader. This person is the rock; the one to be looked up to; the protector of the pack. Then there’s the confidante; the one we turn to in times of need or despair. There is always a successful one; one who can’t seem to put a foot wrong, whether in business or in their private lives. These people usually drive the fastest cars, have palaces for homes, have found the perfect partner and are seemingly living the perfect life.
Next, depending on whether the pack we belong to is male or female, there is the beautiful or the handsome one. This is the one who attracts more attention from the opposite sex than the rest of the group put together. He or she can’t or doesn’t want to settle down because life’s just too good and waking up with a different partner each week is, as they put it, “all part of the game”.
Then there’s the one we all feel sorry for. We won’t say that out loud, of course, or let them know, although they usually do. They are the ones who may not be the best looking in the pack or have, in the past, been bullied or mistreated before finding the protection of the pack that now surrounds them. They are the ones we feel the need to protect, and we will do so at any cost.
And finally, there is the joker in the pack. He or she is always the first one in the bar and the last one to leave; the first one on the dance floor and the last one off it. The joker is the one who dares to go the furthest and is always ready to entertain. The joker drinks the most shots and dares to try the strongest drinks. Jokers do the most outrageous stunts and are always ready to shock!
Everyone loves the joker in the pack, or so it seems…
The pack knows that the joker doesn’t care about anything. I mean, how could he/she? Jokers are always willing to do the things the others in the pack dare not or will not do.
Sometimes, though, the joker tries so hard to entertain the pack that, like the record that once made us dance and brought happiness, he or she now only brings irritation and embarrassment.
The pack invites the joker along for the entertainment value, but eventually, without even realising it themselves, they start to plot in secret. No longer entertained, they revel in the consistent downfall of the joker and, after plying the joker with a few drinks for their own entertainment, the pack ridicules and eggs on the joker so that he or she falls further into the pit of folly.
While the joker continues to play the game, smiling and laughing, the rest of the pack mock and distance themselves further and further, waiting and watching to see just how far the joker will go.
What those in the pack don’t realise is, they are not the only ones thinking this. The joker knows; the joker has always known. Jokers know how the other members of the pack feel about them. They understand their role, and they even play up to it. They know their place within the pack and they accept it. And I’ll tell you why.
The joker is usually the dreamer of dreams that never quite come to fruition. The jokers are the ones who are carrying the greatest weight on their shoulders, the most pain in their hearts and the most anguish in their souls.
Secretly they are tired; tired of being Miss or Mr Understood.
Deep inside the joker lies another person: the depressed and worried underachiever who is crying out for attention. The joker yearns to be wanted, to be loved and to be understood.
On their nightly sojourns home, which are usually fairly lonely, they wonder how they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. They long to be just like the others in the pack. They crave to be the quiet one who sits and listens instead of blurting out – usually at the expense of someone else’s feelings – the first thought that comes into their heads. They are trapped in a lonely world of needs that they wish they didn’t have. Inside, they desperately seek the approval of the pack, searching for the affirmation and attention they think they need to survive and wishing that they could rid themselves of the inner torment they’ve suffered their whole lives.
The joker in the pack lives behind a painted smile. Jokers are hoping, praying and screaming out in a silent voice for someone to see through the comedy veils they wear and discover the person they really want to be; maybe someone just like you.
How do I know? Because I was once the joker in the pack.
Look at your group of friends and ask yourself, who is our joker? What can I do to lift the comedy veil and tell them that the last curtain call has come, that the show’s over and it’s time for them to be who they were created to be?
Who is it that needs your true love and attention? Just five minutes of your time could help to free them from years of self-doubt and loathing; to save them from the shows they never really wanted to star in.
Take a look and see if you can find the joker in your pack. And if you can’t… maybe it’s you!
Remember: We all need to take care of each other and ourselves.