Hurrah! I no longer feel guilty about being horrid: Now scientists say poor Claudia Connell is just a victim of her genes
She sniggers when people fall over.
She won't donate blood if it means giving up Botox. And she refuses to
join Neighbourhood Watch because HER flat is secure.
00:22 GMT, 13 April 2012
My family’s nickname for me is Cruella. I was given it around 40 years ago after I developed a worrying affinity with the evil puppy abductor from 101 Dalmatians.
I loved that film. The only thing that ruined it for me was the happy ending when Cruella De Vil’s plan to make a coat out of cute spotty dogs was foiled.
The owners had over 100 of the yappy little creatures, surely they could have spared half a dozen
Cruella: Claudia Connell laughs when she sees people fall in the street
I felt similarly let down by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the irritating brats who sang about a flying car and somewhere called Hushabye Mountain didn’t meet a grisly end at the hands of the menacingly nasty Child Catcher. I watched the movie dozens of times in the vain hope that one day I would stumble upon a version where their parents didn’t get to them in the nick of time.
It’s fair to say that I definitely wasn’t a little girl made of sugar and spice and all things nice.
Of course all children have their peculiarities and eventually grow out of them — which is where I tell you that I’m now in my mid-40s and I still feel exactly the same way.
To this day I don’t like to share — whether it is food, clothes, make-up or money. In fact, I find the very concept of sharing totally baffling. It’s my stuff, why would I want to give it to other people They have their things, I have mine and let’s not get the two confused.
So why am I so lacking in the milk of human kindness I wasn’t spoilt or badly raised and there was certainly no lack of discipline when I was growing up.
As it turns out, the answer could simply be that I’m born that way. Yesterday, the Mail reported how a new study has found that some people are genetically predisposed to being nice. Participants were asked questions about their attitude to things like giving blood or helping out in the community before having a sample of their saliva taken for analysis.
Researchers discovered that people like me, who’d rather pull their toenails out with pliers than go to something like a charity fundraiser, had a certain type of DNA.
In other words, why should I have to stifle giggles when someone falls over in the street while everybody else rushes to help It’s not my fault. It’s my genes.
Just as there are some good eggs who are born to sit in baths full of cold custard to raise money for charity and organise Diamond Jubilee street parties, there are also those who are hard-wired to sit back and sneer.
I have to say, these findings have brought me great comfort. Barely a day goes by when I’m not asked to justify why I don’t feel sorry for someone or how I can possibly find humour in the misfortune of others. Now all I have to do is blame that nasty piece of work Mother Nature.
Not that I don’t, on occasion, try to be a better person — like the time I volunteered to give my blood — something singled out in the study as a fine example of doing something nice.
OK, the only reason I stepped forward was because I wanted to find out my blood group in order to go on a diet where you ate certain food according to your blood type. But let’s not get bogged down in petty detail.
During the screening process it transpired that anyone who has regular Botox injection isn’t eligible to donate.
I had a decision to make. I could either do something selfless and heroic for my fellow man or I could carry on injecting my forehead with a toxin because I’m too vain to go through life with a few wrinkles. If I tell you that I’m typing this with a face that wouldn’t be able to frown without being placed in an industrial strength vice, you’ll know which way I went.
Yes, I felt a tad guilty for a while, but I appeased my (rarely pricked) conscience by telling myself that there were loads of other people queuing up that day who seemed happy to donate their uncontaminated pint.
Leaving it to others is a system that has worked very well for me over the years.
Whenever notes come through my door about a campaign to save the local library, an initiative about conserving energy or a meeting about tackling crime, my first thought is always the same: include me out.
My flat is the only one on my street that doesn’t proudly display a Neighbourhood Watch sticker.
I’ve got better things to do with my time than be constantly twitching my curtains on the look out for suspicious looking characters.
My flat is fairly secure and I don’t really care what happens to anyone else’s property. That’s their problem, just as my car being vandalised over Christmas was my problem to deal with and no one else’s.
The rallying around to help others is not a cause I’ve ever thrown myself into with great gusto — especially when it comes to sick people.
Sorry, but I don’t want to make a casserole for someone laid up with flu and then take it round to them — I want to keep my distance.
‘Nice’ is one of the most insipid
words in the English language. It’s the sensible shoe, vanilla ice
cream, plain boiled potato of personality traits. Why would I want to be
My friends and relatives have learnt that I’m the last person to go to if they want any sympathy when they’re unwell. I don’t do sympathy. I actually find sick people really annoying, which certainly ruled out nursing as a vocation.
I’m not talking about serious illness, I’m not that hard-hearted (I don’t think)— I’m talking about tedious every day ailments that some people seem to think merits them a few favours. Not in my book!
I’m not particularly proud of the way I am and at the start of every year I nearly always make it my New Year’s resolution to try to be a nicer person.
My efforts usually last no more than a week. Invariably someone who doesn’t know me well will make the terrible mistake of asking for my opinion on something.
In the end the relief of no longer having to choke back the venom is overwhelming. I always justify my spectacular fall off the cart of kindness in the same way: it’s so boring being nice.
Renowned wit Dorothy Parker once said that she always started the day the same way — by brushing her teeth and sharpening her tongue. I’m with her.
‘Nice’ is one of the most insipid words in the English language. It’s the sensible shoe, vanilla ice cream, plain boiled potato of personality traits. Why would I want to be like that
Now, thankfully, I no longer have to waste my time trying.