Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Fill in the blank

"I met a 27-year-old man who had just managed to re-enter the world of work ... I wondered: did he think that the fact he [had been] unemployed was his fault?

His reply was [         ]. "Yeah," he said. "I do. I think I should have applied for more. I should have picked myself up in the morning, got out, come to a place like this [a sort of job centre] – tried more. When you're feeling down, you start blaming the world for your mistakes – you feel the world owes you. And it doesn't. You owe the world: you have to motivate yourself, and get out there, and try."

How would you fill in the blank in the square brackets? 
"Enlightening"? "Sober and responsible"? "Fair minded"? "To his credit"?

The writer of the piece from where I took the quotation (John Harris in the Guardian) went instead with "just this side of heartbreaking". Toby Young lays into him here, in typical Toby Young fashion. But he is surely right that someone trying to take responsibility for his own life, rather than blaming the rest of the world, is the very opposite of heartbreaking. Blaenau Gwent - that is heartbreaking.

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