28 May 2014

The word ‘common’ is offended*

My name is Common.   Yes, there’s a reason for the upper case ‘C’.  That’s a proper noun and not an adjective.  I write because my name has been prostituted so much that it is hard for me to figure out who I am when people refer to me or pin me to their favorite nouns such as law, place, people, sense wealth, thief, ground, factor and so on.  It’s clear to me that I am being abused by a bunch of illiterate people. I mean, if they don’t know what ‘common’ means, they should never use it.  Some say that ‘love’ is the most abused word in the English language. I say ‘fiddlesticks!’ because nothing is more abused that my name, which of course is a word in the English language, ‘common’ (upper or lower case).

There’s talk on the street about a ‘common (sic) candidate’.  Other names are bracketed with mine.  A few years back there was a different name, Sarath Fonseka.  There’s nothing ‘common’ in that name.  Well, since ‘Sarath’ is a popular name and since there are many Fonsekas, it is probably more common that the name Janahithakaamee Pinidiyapathirage for example, but the word ‘common’ was not used in that sense.  First and foremost there is and was only one ‘Sarath Fonseka’ that counted.

But was he commonly desired?  Turns out that he was not.  That ‘proof’ had to wait an election, but an election was not necessary to figure out that he was only a common and temporary solution to widely different political problems of a handful of people.  In this sense, common he was not.  That was an insult.

Now we hear about common candidates once again.  What’s up with these people?  Are they lacking in self-confidence?  Isn’t there anyone out there who has the confidence to stand up and say ‘hey, I can beat the other guy; support me by all means, but I will prevail even without your assistance!?’ 

What’s ‘common’ about Ven Maduluwave Sobitha? What’s ‘common’ about Chandrika Kumaratunga? What’s ‘common’ about C.V. Wigneswaran?  Indeed what’s ‘common’ about any of these names that are tossed around when a small bunch of people discuss over tea, coffee or alcohol who would best offer Mahinda Rajapaksa a run for his money?  If we went for the true meaning of my name then of course Anura Kumara Dissanayake would be the ‘best of the bad lot’, but then again he too represents a fringe doctrine with few takers at this point in time.  Going strictly by his popularity among the people, even if the man is celebrated in less raucous tones than he was a few years back and even if it’s more for the lack of alternative, that man Mahinda has so many ‘common-backers’ compared to the above lot, Anura included, individually or as a collective, that it is high time they dropped this common-approach altogether. 

All these common-candidate voice-cut politicians and (I)NGO upstarts should have understood by now that using my name is a first-step-lie and therefore anything that begins there must necessarily end in disaster.  If they cannot understand the sheer deception that constitutes abusing my name, they don’t deserve to be candidates, let alone win elections. 

My concern is this: if they continue with this common-candidate thing each time an election comes around, people will start to think that my name is absurd.  I am worried. Really, really worried.  So, please do me a favor. Stop abusing me.  Use another adjective or a different tag.  Here’s some: Default Candidate, Default-Choice Candidate, We-Are-Clueless Candidate, Feel-Good Candidate, Rahu-Kaale Candidate.  The best of course would be to drop the pretension and go with the name.  Sarath Fonseka, Shirani Bandaranayake, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Tom, Dick or Harry. 

Just leave me alone.

*In a parallel universe