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No, it doesn’t make sense

My immediate reaction to the question ‘Does that make sense?’ is to doubt the reliability of what the person has just told me. Do they feel like they’ve not explained themselves properly? Is there something missing? Does it actually not make sense? Are they bullshitting me? And what happens if I say, ‘No, it doesn’t make sense, and neither do you, fuck nuts’?

Most of the time I suspect they think it makes them sound like a good communicator because they’re inviting comments. Please don’t. Just make sense in the first place and leave it at that. If I have any questions, I’ll ask them. It’s also really fucking patronising and serial users of the phrase are always slightly creepy, like an old colleague of mine, the Disney Prince, who used the disabled toilets at work as a proxy brothel for daytime dating-app hookups. He’d say, ‘Does that make sense?’ after every second sentence, and every time he said it, he cocked his head to the side and smiled quizzically like your sketchy uncle in a Smarties advert (this combination of wrongness still haunts me to this day).

The world is awash with annoying expressions people use to make themselves sound better than they actually are. For example, saying, ‘It’s like comparing apples with apples’, when you can’t be fucked thinking about the situation, or ‘I’m just being honest’, when you’ve just been a gormless shit weasel, or saying ‘you’re entitled to your opinion’ when you’re clearly not because you’re a manipulative narcissist. The list goes on.

But the absolute don of linguistic creepiness is when a sleazy man tells a group of women that ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’. This statement usually comes from a very hollow place called, Ulterior Motives Boulevard. Every man I’ve ever heard say that has also helped a woman with her golf stance, wears his polo shirt with the collar up, and believes that Jordan Peterson makes a lot of sense. Oh, and they’re into cycling. Have you ever met a male cycling enthusiast who’s not a dickhead?

Now, I’m not passing judgment on people for their linguistic indiscretions. If you’re a self-made person, who has created something that has made the world a better place, then you can pass judgement on people, but until then the best course of action is to shut the fuck up and enjoy the free lunch. However, if you ever meet me and say, ‘Does that make sense?’, I will frame you for a crime you didn’t commit, smash up your bicycle with a sledgehammer, and then, ‘at the end of the day’, tell you I was ‘just being honest’.

And BTW it’s not ‘You do the math(s)’, it’s ‘You do the arithmetic’. Let that one sink in … 

 

The last time I got blootered

It happened a while ago now. I’d been off the booze for months but got beaten up on a job, sustained three broken ribs and a busted up face, so I went straight to the shops for a promotional sized bottle of whisky and ordered a big bag of Banana Kush. 

I sat in my flat for a week, getting drunk, smoking spliffs and popping some painkillers I found in the bathroom that somebody had left there a few years ago, when I was a functional alcoholic and had a normal job, with benefits and cycled to work.

Over the course of the week, I got fuck all sleep because my ribs hurt like hell and hospital was not on the cards. So, I watched telly and numbed the pain. There was the occasional knock on the door, which I ignored, and people were concerned when they called me because I made less sense than usual. I have only vague memories of that week and I’m happy about that. So, let’s leave it there and move on.

When I eventually snapped out of it, I was still in pain but realised I had to go to therapy. At that stage, I’d been in therapy for 18 months because I’m a fucking nutter and all that stands between me, and total annihilation is a wee white pill. Anyway, I went to therapy via the pub, where I had three double whiskies, and then swanned into therapy thinking I was Jack the Lad but really looked like Gollum after a marathon session on xHamster. And that’s where it all started to go horribly wrong.

For those of you who’ve never had a blackout, it’s fucking scary and try as you may, you can’t remember a thing. I woke up the next morning with a cut hand, a bottle of red wine spilled across the bed and a load of voicemails that could only mean one thing, trouble.

The first message was from a mental health facility mentioning something about a firearm, the second was somebody from the Old Bill and the rest were from people I’d never met before, all telling me stories that didn’t add up. With my ribs still in a sorry state, I got up, got dressed, drank a bottle of red wine, and got the fuck out of my flat.

Twenty minutes later I was at my friend’s house trying to explain what had gone down, while swigging from a one litre bottle of gin and knocking back more unprescribed painkillers that were fucking awesome. Seriously, if painkillers and alcohol didn’t kill you and destroy your life, I’d spend every second on them forever. Unfortunately, life is better when I’m drunk or high, or both. But it comes at a price. 

After a longish haul on the gin, I built up the courage to listen to the voicemails again and made some reconciliatory calls …

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’d been ranting and raving in therapy about tracking down the two men who broke my ribs, stormed out of there with revenge on my mind and went to the pub across the road where I got into a barney with a local, pretended to have a gun tucked down the back of my trousers and smashed the lad’s head into the bar, walked out of the pub, answered a call from a concerned mental health triage person (my therapist had contacted them), talked to him about the incident in the pub – told him to fuck off, went to see Greek Steve, got more wine, went home and called an old friend who was hosting a lovely dinner party on the other side of the world, passed out on my bed, spilled the wine and woke up with only one thing on my mind; a drink. 

So, after finding all that out via a few awkward phone calls, I decided to call it quits once the litre of gin was finished and get back on the wagon. And here I am now, many moons later, having narrowly avoided being sectioned, arrested, and beaten to death. All in 24 hours.

Thankfully, I’ve kept my shit together this time but like all self-centred addicts looking for a round of applause on a talk show for not wetting the bed, I’m bored. Plain and simple. I’m less stressed and not afraid of my phone anymore, but life’s different and that’s my fault. I got myself here and I’ve never wanted anybody’s sympathy.

But my parting advice is this, if you find yourself walking the path of addiction, remember you’re on your own, even with other addicts by your side and concerned loved ones telling you everything’s going to be okay, you’re flying solo like Kevin Spacey at a high school reunion. So, when you wake up after that night, and there is always that night, the motherfucker of all nights rolled into one vulgar bundle of joy, and wrapped in self-loathing, get your shit together and stop bein’ a fucken idiot. You owe it to yourself.

Headbanger

For two months, a bird’s been attacking my window with gusto. In fact, I now call the bird Gusto because I’ve never encountered a creature with such tenacity and mindless courage.

The first time Gusto slammed into my window, feet, and headfirst, I almost shat myself because I was doing the dishes and the window in question is about two feet from my face. When Gusto hit, I did that thing from Jaws where Brody sees blood in the water and the camera performs a dolly zoom, AKA a Hitchcock shot. That’s when the camera is dollied either forward or backward while the zoom on the lens is pulled in the opposite direction. A bit like life. Easy!

After ten seconds I reached for the bottle of whisky that’s no longer there because I’m a recovering alcoholic with a ghost addiction. I regard these reactions in the same way that amputees claim to still feel a missing limb. I sometimes wake up with a phantom hangover on Saturday mornings.

Apparently, Gusto is a Pee Wee and part of the Magpie family. In the realm of birds, I’ve always regarded the Magpies as the traditional 1920s mobsters and the Indian Myna Birds as the Eastern European gangsters. So, Magpies and their ilk are getting fucked over by the Mynas and that’s why I’m not too bothered by Gusto. The poor fucker’s the last of his kind and I feel a bit like that too.

And why? Because I’m drowning in a sea of miserable absurdity. I understand why Gusto is smashing himself against my kitchen window because he’s done with it all. It’s an existential crisis, poorly disguised as a reflective territorial dispute. We all have territorial disputes in our minds. Think paranoia versus reality, seasoned with good old-fashioned vitriol. But life’s not bad, it’s just problematic. Well, that’s what I tell myself in the dead of night as Gusto continues his attack on my kitchen window. Neither of us knows what’s next. My dreams absorb his attacks.

But we are at one, that concussed bird and me because I get his absurd task, and I hope he never stops, or at least stops before he breaks his neck. Before he does break his neck, I want to invite him in, have a sneaky whisky with him and tell him all my hopes and fears.

Maybe that line of communication will make him realise that all is not lost, it’s just a wee bit out of reach for now.

BTW this is a dolly zoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5JBlwlnJX0

Love in a time of coronavirus

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And just as the zombie apocalypse kicked in, I quit my job. I’ll tell you why later in the piece. So, now I find myself unemployed at 50, in the middle of a pandemic. This is a concept that should scare the shit out of me but I’m strangely calm about my state of affairs because hysteria only leads to anxiety and anxiety ends up leading to expensive counseling sessions, with somebody who speaks softly and does a lot of nodding.

For the first four weeks of unemployment, I was holed up in my flat because I went over on my right foot and stretched a few ligaments, meaning I spent a lot of time sitting in my IKEA chair with my foot up on the coffee table, watching depressing stuff on the telly. Just what you need when you’re unemployed and injured. I also drank a lot of wine even though I have the word ‘Sober’ tattooed on my right wrist. Meanwhile, the coronavirus was seeping into our collective unconscious around the world, and I was already self-isolating.

Self-isolating, when you’re not sick, is fucking awesome. You don’t have to deal with the ocean of idiots who exist beyond the front door, endlessly bumping into each other while they stare at their phones like cretins caught in the headlights. Why the fuck should I be responsible for their spatial relations? Every day I suppress the urge to knock their phones out of their hands and explain the laws of physics to them. The other upside of self-isolation is that you have time to reflect upon your life.

However, in the wrong hands, self-reflection can be a dangerous venture. It can lead to suicide, a mental breakdown, and the agonising realisation that life is meaningless. Not so for me. I had a great time picking through my ‘reason to be’. It was an existential holiday in my wee flat. I worked out that my life was meaningless because I’d made it that way. In short, I’d spent the last two years hating my job, which was akin to having somebody take to your soul with a potato peeler. Hence, the decision to quit.

I live in a state of chaos and my workplace could no longer accommodate this. A sense of order had been installed by top brass – project management software called Slack, the worst kind of corporate mind control. There was even a stream called #wheremyhomiesat, where you had to let ‘the team’ know where you are at all times; cue Orwell and that cage with the rat in it. So, in short, dishes were done. Plus, I have recently diagnosed PTSD (PCL-5 – 63), so something like #wheremyhomiesat is about as helpful as dropping me in a K-hole and telling me the paranoid hallucinations are all part of my new reality.

But let’s get back to being unemployed at 50, amidst the zombie apocalypse AKA the Coronavirus AKA Covid 19. What’s next? Will our hero ever ride again? Every once in a while you have to make a stand in this life and tell the people who don’t add value to get fucked. That’s what I did. I quit my job in the middle of a pandemic and strode, sorry limped, into the unknown. Now, I’m going to concentrate on the things that matter to me, the things that don’t make me feel like I’m an injured hamster on a wheel, spinning recklessly into a void of chocolate-coated diarrhea. In essence,

To love oneself is to truly understand the secrets of the soul.

#wheremyhomiesnot