A Caged Bird (Poem)

{I see myself, but it doesn’t look like me,

I see myself – but what should I be?

Yes, what should I be? And what should I become?

Be a dreamer – or achiever – you can only pick one.}

Ohhh, you want the bullet train to fame my boy?”

No, no, no! Just the mega bus away from plain and tame, would be a joy!

Well fucking stop that thought.”

Nothing good happens here.”

Oh, you’re into the arts? HA, HA, HA, must be a queer!”

Fuck off to London if that’s what you want – but know this,

we all think you’re an absolute cunt.”

{I want to think outside the box,

but I don’t have the keys to this cage,

I try every possibility in the locks,

that get rusty with age.}

HA! You don’t know about life! We struggle and strive, 9 to 5 that we hate, but we can barely survive, we buy things that we don’t want with credit we can’t pay, we turn on the television – it’s shit – but we watch anyway, we can’t wait for retirement, man that’ll be the day! We‘ll get to sit on our arse till we’re dead – ahh, bliss, don’t ya say?”

{I can see this for myself, but it doesn’t look like me,

I can see this for myself, but it’s something I don’t want to be.

Yes, there’s what I should be, and what I want to become,

I don’t want to cut my roots…I just want to grow: till my days are done.}

~~~

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Unwanted Room Mate

It’s a well recorded, and commonly recited sentiment – but you truly never know what sort of day a stranger on the street is having…of course our imagination fills in the huge gaping blanks, but that doesn’t mean we should trust these assessments – more often than not they are way off…

Like you may look at a berserk man storming down the street, and immediately come to the conclusion that he is a thug looking for old lady’s purses to steal, or children’s sandcastles to kick over. But who knows? He could very well be that, but it is also within the realms of possibility that he is just a regular Joe…and that he is simply having the worst day of his life. Perhaps his dog may have to be put down, perhaps there is a close relative who is terminally ill, or perhaps his girlfriend made him binge watch every single episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians the night before. We can never know for sure…

Crazy People GIF

Or you may be pushed out of the way by a severe looking lady – who resembles Miss Trunchbull in every way (except sadly there’s no chocolate cake)…and yes, your automatic thought will be that she is rude and you ought to say something passive aggressive to her. But what if she too is having an awful day, or a series of awful days? She could be about to be evicted, or she may be on the verge of losing her job…or maybe she is being bullied by some weird snooty kid with magical powers. Again, you just never know..

So it’s nice, to be nice – as my Momma used to say. Just in case any of these things are true…or just in case this one-dimensional cartoonesque image we have of odd looking strangers is not exactly on the money! To throw myself in as an example – if you were to see me out in public last week you’d instinctively have thought something along the lines of “who is that attractive, young whipper-snapper?!” no…sorry, getting ahead of myself. You’d actually have wondered: “who is that strange man, and why is he so red and sweaty?!” Well friends, what you couldn’t have known is that I was enduring a horrendous trial that week…which will go down in history as “The Battle of the Grasshopper Room-Mate.”

Scared Draco GIF

You see on one unsuspecting Monday I was met with a grasshopper in my bathroom – he was perched on the windowsill and had gotten in through the small crack I allow for ventilation. I wrongly assumed it would just be a brief visit – that perhaps he would just be someone to chat with while I have my pee, and then he’d be on his way. However the next time I was in there he was all laid out on the floor, making himself comfortable….time, and time again he was just sat there, changing positions every now and again. Not saying a great deal, but making his presence felt…making toilet time a little bit more uncomfortable than usual – with those buggy staring accusing eyes of his.“I’M JUST TRYING TO WIPE SIR, LEAVE ME ALONE!”

So now you’re probably thinking, “well just get rid of the fella, evict him! Call the police even!” which is all well and good, except I am not a proper man who can do the whole cup and piece of paper trick – also I teach kindergarten and I’m trying to make a concerted effort not to nurture future serial killers so I impose a ‘let’s not kill living things’ policy…I try to practice what I preach, rather than being a hypocrite so here I am…

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AND YES I EAT BURGERS, I KNOW, I KNOW – I JUST DON”T WANT TO DO THE EXECUTIONS MYSELF, OKAY!

Anyway, he was there. For days. So eventually I left my bathroom door wide open hoping he would just hop on out at some point so I could poop in peace… that perhaps he’d go under the bed – or any place else where he couldn’t be seen, or heard. We could cohabit. We could make this situation work, somehow…perhaps we’d have a day where we’d watch movies together and eat junk food – but otherwise we’d keep ourselves to ourselves for the sake of our own respective sanities. 

I’ll keep you posted on that. But this ongoing drama has undoubtedly taken a toll on me; so who knows what blustered and worrisome appearance I had on my stupid stressed out face on those days I was battling with my unwanted room mate…I was probably a bit more short with people, a little less good humoured. But I was going through something…and so are other people, probably.

Stressed Parks GIF

So let’s remember that, or at least try to – yeah?

Oh, and another thing before I go – does anyone have a spare room going? I’m asking for a friend…he’s clean and quiet – I’ll pay his first month’s rent. Shoot me an email if you do, would be greatly appreciated…

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Masterchef (For Two Hours!)

Received a message out of the blue from an in-need friend…modelling for a clothing line he said – well I’m never one to say no to anything weird, or wonderful – which is just as well as the photo shoot was for a chef’s outfit range! Good fun! 

These are just ones he got on his phone from the sidelines…I’m sure the professional ones will follow…

Cooking

p.s. my current hairspray is fantastic – doesn’t matter how many different chef’s hat they rammed on top of my head, it stayed firm and true. So shoutout to the hairspray, the real MVP.

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

Kids Go CRAZY.

So there was some weirdness today, as there is every day…actually it is so common place that I feel silly even reporting it to you – but nonetheless I will, as it got me thinking about something…

You see I was in the soft play bit of the kindergarten school, and had probably just fell down the slide, or been accidentally headbutted in the groin – when one of my students began to yell for my attention… “JOHNNN! LOOK. JOHNNNNNN! JOHNNNN! LOOK, LOOK, LOOOOOOK!” Well of course I span around, wondering what was so urgent that I couldn’t miss – you know,  what was it that meant I had to drop everything just to gaze upon it?

I wasn’t disappointed….there little Daniel was – flailing his arms in a frenetic motion, grinning from ear to ear, eyes half open – as if the joy of the moment was too much to fully witness. There was no rhythm, there was no steps, technique, or order…it was just whatever feels good, do. And oh my was he doing…

Peep Show GIF

I laughed, and he laughed…and the others laughed too, they didn’t join in – they just appreciated that he was having his own little kind of crazy moment, and he was having fun with it! And I thought it was amazing – adults are so restrained, and limited, and…well, let’s just say this – if I did the same thing it wouldn’t take long for the men in white coats to take me away, and sedate me for the rest of my life…how depressing. 

I love to just let loose – and just be yourself…your true self – not the pretend one you show people…it’s unfortunate that people find it quite weird, and unsettling when you just go with whatever is lurking in your head. Like on a date this Sunday I found myself laughing out loud quite literally – a thought I’d had crept into my head, and forced this reaction…then I had to explain myself to someone who really didn’t get what I was talking about – never mind find it funny…

“You see…well…the sections of that store – they have like…the BODY section, weirdly close to the HAIR section. So it looks like the BODY HAIR section, hahahaha…at a beauty store, haha…yeah, like…body hair – you know? Body…erm…hair…yeah…” 

Awkward Franco GIF

“There’s nothing funny about that. At all.”

And that was me put in my place. She was right of course, I suppose that should have just stayed in my head along with a bunch of other things I find myself saying, and doing – but it just gets so congested in there sometimes – it’s not surprising some hop out almost against my will!

I wish we lived in a world where we could just say, and do what we liked (as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else)…kids get an out. Where’s ours? And when did I trade it in – I don’t remember that at all…

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Curse of the Ninja

Was reminded of this childhood memory by Melanie, after my previous post regarding childhood lies!

When I was in primary school, like most kids my age – I used to love The Power Rangers. The kicking, the punching, the flipping, the monsters, and the explosions…I mean, the whole package appealed really. So it wasn’t a rare sight to see me, and a couple of friends acting out crazy fight scenes in our school break times! We’d be jumping out of trees, doing killer rolls…the whole works…basically just battling evil wherever we found it…

And we didn’t skimp on any of the realism…oh no…we’d be using elaborate formations, working together to beat these savage creatures which had every intention of taking over the world. We’d jump in, one by one; “HIIII-YAHH! HUHH! PAAAH! KAPOWWW!” 

Power Rangers Boss GIF

It often took a few hits, especially if our foe was one of the big bosses – but we always, always triumphed…I mean, we’re The Power Rangers, we’re only ever going to win – that’s kinda the whole deal.

But one of these bouts stands out…you see, one of them was very, very different…

Which is odd, because it started out very much the same; we fought over who gets to be who, and then fought again over who gets which stick…just the same as every other time – but after these usual formalities, we were able to continue with our normal crime-fighting ways as per! …but this truce wasn’t to last – and before we knew it we found ourselves  arguing over something else…something which hadn’t ever been an issue before…

“YOU JUST SAID A SWEAR WORD!!!” protested one of my so called Power Ranger colleagues – wagging an accusing finger in my general direction.

“No…no, I didn’t!” I argued, unsure of what he was referring to. I assumed he had misheard one of my amazingly realistic “SHIPOWWWW!” sound effects as something more menacing. So I pleaded my case, I was innocent GODDDAMITTT!

Power Rangers Oh No GIF

“NO. NO. NO. I’M TELLING.” He smirked out the side of his mouth…the grin sent my blood boiling – did he really think I had swore, or was he just trying to fuck with me? I wasn’t sure…but for once, I hadn’t actually done a thing! So I tried to grab him, I had to keep him from spreading his lies – his arm alluded my clutches, and I found myself pulling desperately on his empty jumper sleeve…but with one big yank, he was free – albeit with a stretched bit of material that was now twice the length…

“YOU FUCKING BACK-STABBING PIECE OF SHIT!” I screamed after him, as he ran towards the classroom. Well obviously I didn’t really say that; I was eight or nine – so it was more likely I said “GET LOST, YOU BUM HEAD!” Which roughly translates to the same thing.

I ran away in the opposite direction, hoping that this would somehow make all of my problems go away – or at the very least bide me some time. It didn’t work. Before long I found myself in front of my teacher Mrs. Mc.Dermott…she was usually so friendly; she always appreciated my artwork – even the ones using paint which I constantly messed up. But she wasn’t friendly now, after all he had whispered his bullshit into her ear – and she had believed him.

He was sent away, and the interrogation began. Why had I said it?! What had driven me to use such horrible language?! Where had I learned it?! I tried to explain, tried to sputter out my defense – but she wasn’t buying it. So it was a stalemate. I didn’t know what to do…and hunger pains began to pulse through my body…urgh, now I come to think of it – I was STARVING…

“LISTEN, JOHN! You either own up, and apologise – and then go for your lunch. Or we just sit here. Your choice.” 

 Well obviously I admitted to it. It was like the carrot, and stick – except it wasn’t a carrot on the end of it…it was a lovely chocolate doughnut, apple juice, and whatever other goodies I had waiting for me in my bag. I’d probably do the same thing now, food trumps just about anything…for me anyways! 

You see I needed my energy. I’d be playing Power Rangers again in the afternoon break – and there was a new enemy I’d need every bit of strength to take down…“HIIIIII-YAHHHH!”

Power Rangers Beat GIF

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DRUNK Snorlax!

My second YouTube video…this is my first real story, story…so I hope you enjoy it!  Hopefully it’s funny – I mean, I never really know until I get people’s reaction! 

On an unrelated note, thank you for everyone’s kind words regarding last week’s unfortunate situation – I wanted to bring it back to the fun times, rather than focus on the negatives. Take care, love from me as always!

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The Friend Zone

I have a HUGE, HUGE problem – you see, I have a friend…

I KNOW – TERRIBLE! BUT IT GETS WORSE…MUCH WORSE…

This friend, unfortunately…is of the opposite sex. It’s unthinkable! Unfathomable! Urghhh, I can’t believe this madness exists in the world…it’s made even stranger as it doesn’t feel weird, I mean it feels the same as a regular same-sex friendship – but it is NOT – I am in the friend zone; a desolate land that no one wants to be, ever…it’s kind of like a desert of broken souls, and unimagined dreams…and the fact that I didn’t realise I was here, makes it even worse, even more sad, even more depressing.

This was me and my so called friend, just before I found out about my wretched, and impure soul that our so called friendship was built around – 

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People actually feel sorry for me, and so they should. I’m a total, and utter, loser. I didn’t know I was breaking any rules…I just thought I had a friend, a nice-normal friend…but no…I was in the friend zone all along – the betrayal, the disgusting series of lies…I feel so stupid, how did I not see this coming?!

All those times we laughed and joked, just like real friends. All those times we met for coffee, lunch, dinner, and hugged goodbye – just like real friends. All those times we discussed opinions, vented about our relationships, or family problems – just like real friends. THEY WERE ALL A FILTHY ILLUSION.

I felt like Neo in The Matrix when I heard the truth…I saw all of the memes, read all of the internet stories, heard the lines in films and TV – they flooded through and everything suddenly made sense! Guys – just like me were realising they were “friend zoned”, and were waking up, aka – “getting out of the friend zone like a boss!” 

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It doesn’t matter that I am in a happy relationship with another girl, and that my “friend” is with a good man…what matters is that we now realise, despite the fact there is no sexual attraction whatsoever – we do not love each other, we are actually in love with each other – because we are of a different gender, and that is the only possible solution…we must battle this friend zone thing together.

After all you can NEVER just be friends with someone of the opposite sex, the world says NO – even if you both say, YES.

I’ve called her up…she hasn’t been in touch since – she was kinda freaked out – which I understand, it was a shock for me too; but surely it will all make sense soon, and she will pick me up from the friend zone. It’s the only way either of us will be able to survive this life.

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Did you relate to my tale of “woe”? Then make sure you like the facebook.com/storytimewithjohn page – we can make it through with each other’s help. 

(p.s. I know this kinda thing does happen sometimes, I am just trying to make the point that it is not always the case! After all I have a number of amazing friends, some who just so happen to be male, and some who just happen to be female! So can we cut the friend zone bullshit out, already?!)