Saturday, April 17, 2010

17

How To See Yourself As You Really Are

One of the many books I have lying by my bed is How to See Yourself as You Really Are by the Dalai Lama. It's one I picked up while working in the charity shop (His Holiness and his publishers would have liked me to have paid seventeen quid or something for it, but hey, I guess that's not who I really am). There's some good advice in it at times, and even the odd sniff of genuine profundity. Still, one can't help but wonder, at times, whether yer man's quest to see himself as he really is has ever taken in that noblest of pursuits in the pursuit of self-actualisation,the one known as "snorting vodka."

I've this friend who snorted a bit of vodka, in his time. The first time was on New Year's Eve, at a house party, when he was seventeen. Another lad, undeniably the smartest in his year, told him it that it had never done him any harm, so it must be fine. Solid enough logic there. He sniffed it right up and it burnt his nostrils and gave him brain freeze but just that one teaspoonful made him feel like he'd drunk three naggins so he had another one. A few minutes later he jumped up really high in the air thrashing around on his air guitar to the intro to Radiohead's Just and he landed hard on his left hip. Everyone laughed really hard so they put the song back to the start and he did it again. He only started to feel his hip ten minutes later. He reckons now that he cracked it, but he was far too embarrassed to ever seek medical attention for it. Still gives him the odd sharp pain now, eleven years on.

The second time was when he was eighteen, about to finish school, and he and his entire class mitched off to celebrate this step into adulthood by going and getting absolutely fucked in the sand-dunes of Brittas Bay. This was to be achieved through a cunning combination of cider and sunburn. And a capful or two of uncle Smirnoff, route one through the nose and into the good times. He remembers deliberately head-over-heelsing down a steep, high dune, and little else. A few of them headed straight to The Forge once they got back to town. They weren't all eighteen, but no-one gave a fuck at 5 o'clock in the evening. He remembers ordering gin and tonic and smoking a cigar, in what he can only imagine was intended as a display of louche decadence. He remembers blowing cigar smoke in the face of a toddler who looked over from the neighbouring booth. He remembers the child's mother not seeming to mind, as she said they were keeping him entertained. He remembers being warned that he had tapped cigar ash into his G&T. He remembers drinking it anyway. And how he vomited all over the table a few minutes later. And how they just changed tables and how, inexplicably, no-one kicked him out, this friend. Someone should really have kicked him out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

13

You're toxic, I'm slipping under

"It's not fair!" Words you haven't uttered in years, now directed at two Leinster Hockey Branch referees on the occasion of your team being dumped unceremoniously out of the cup by a team bolstered beyond all recognition by a load of illegally unregistered players from a much higher division. A team whose legitimate side you had strolled to a 6-0 victory over in the league just a couple of weeks earlier. Yet another example of the skulduggery that dogs lower-level hockey to a surprising extent. Not fair at all, but your team are slowly learning how to play that game. Come to think of it, it isn't really fair that you're a hockey player at all, being a refugee in its middle-class bosom for over a decade now. Forced out out of football - a game you're much better at - as a delicate 15 year-old by one too many taunts of "Proddy bastard" from your own team-mates. And they laugh at you, these elder gentlemen, much as you do when teenagers approach you with the same whinge when confronted with a punishment they don't feel they deserve. Life's not fair, lads, I'd kick you up the hole too, if The Man'd let me.
The words come rising to your throat again in an acid bubble tonight, as you sit down with one of your best mates to watch the football over a few pints and he comes clean about who his new employer is. AnglofuckingIrishcuntingBank, of all people. The ones costing the state about 30 billion euro; you may have heard mention of them recently. Good to know they're hiring, innit? Loath to hear too much about the bastards, you fill him in on my recent own employment status. Which is that, after more than four months without a speck of paid work, things have been a bit better recently, a few TEFL hours and a bit of secondary subbing work making things feel a lot better. You don't bother spitting in his pint when he says that he's glad the hourly rate for  subbing has come down a bit, as it was too high. You don't bother pointing out that it would take his new friend Seán FitzPatrick a full 1200 years as a full-time secondary teacher to pay back the debts the government reckon he won't be able to get back to them. You just let him get the next round in and you sit and watch your team take a hiding with an odd mixture of glumness and awe and you think that it's also not fair having to play possibly the best club side in the world with five of your cast-iron starters missing. Trying to counter  Lionel Messi, the best player in the world, with Mickael Silvestre is most likely a contravention of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. .You console yourself with the fact that at least the horrible little banker fuck beside you is a Liverpool fan, so he knows something of pain. And a job's a job and a mate's a mate, right?
Right.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

6

he did make some observations

Having a bonsai tree really is like having a child, a puppy or syphilis: you have to bring it fucking everywhere. And so it was that Stella joined Rosie and I on a week-long jaunt to the west of Ireland, where we indulged in our customary pastimes of walking a bit, grumbling at the rain, reading a bit, watching DVDs, gorging ourselves like sows with tapeworms and cooing at each other a lot. It was precisely like that Discover Ireland ad, especially the bit with the couple looking affluent and aroused in Westport. We also flew (yeah, flew) to Inis Mór like motherfucking rockstars. More about all that another time, perhaps.

I was planning on throwing in a few grumbles into this post of odds and ends, as it's been a while since I've used the 'gripes' tag. Then Holemaster shows up in my feed-reader with a worthy list.
To his complaints I add:

People who won't switch their headlights on before the sun sets. Try driving down the M50 in a driving rainstorm with the backwash from a truck obscuring everything and tell me you wouldn't notice the fucker in a silver Audi cutting in front of you just a split second sooner if they had their lights on.

Bohemian Rhapsody. Tonight I sat through all two and a half hours of Channel 4's unfathomably unfunny Comedy Gala. It climaxed, like a sixteen year-old jizzing his pants, with one-trick pony Lee Evans performing his one trick, sweatily, to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody. And I realised that that song, far from being the 'greatest song of the twentieth century' that it is so often feted as, is a bloated monstrosity of a yoke that should have been left alone to enjoy its Wayne's World based resurrection and then banned from public consumption. Think about it: you don't like it half as much as you've been told you do, do you?

Overuse of the word 'rant' on the internet. There is a tendency among bloggers to preface and/or conclude any strong statement of opinion with a caveat along the lines of "I hope you'll excuse this rant", or "Don't mind me, I'm just ranting". It seems almost apologetic - anticipating the fact that some fucker will come along and take offence at something you've said. If your 'rant' is in any way blog-related you can be absolutely certain that someone will take offence, and will probably read far more into your words than was ever there. It happens. if you have something to say that may cause a few snarks then write it, read over it, sleep on it if needs be, then if you stand by everything you say then publish the fucking thing and don't use dismissive words like 'rant' for your own thoughts unless that is truly how it reads, in which case delete it. Or call it a rant, by which you might as well type "I'm not sure I mean this at all, I'm just not thinking right now."

And now, to close on an upbeat note, two splendid blogs that have recently come to my attention: This Limbo and Conor Creighton. Both well worth a click and a bit of your time. And Jennie, for fuck's sake, if you haven't already been round there.