How to (Pretend) to be a Human.

I just read through, well attempted to read through – an entire list of things that make up what it means to be the ‘Modern Man’.

Well it should go without saying that it made me violently sick…after all, lists of that kind can only ever be restrictive and judgmental…sort of like; “this is the way you should do things and if you do anything else then you are a massive knob head who no one could possibly ever love.” That’s all I hear anyway – there’s just something off about it, something not quite right. I don’t get why people believe there is a fixed way to behave; what a drearily dull place it would be if we were all just dragging ourselves around humming the same tune and exchanging pleasantries until one day we are in the ground.

Which is why I am creating my own set of principles in which we can all live by as semi-functioning humans…I know, I know – there’s a glaring hypocrisy in all of this, but think of it like religion: mine is completely 100% correct, and all others are a steaming pile of shit. Hmm…did I just compare myself to Jesus? Well, perhaps. That’s for you to decide, although I don’t have a beard which may be a drawback…every good messiah needs a beard. Dammit. Fell at the first hurdle…urgh – but still yes, listen to what I have to say (please). 

ANYWAY. So,  every good human needs to keep a few things in mind as they go about their business otherwise he/she will likely be burned at the stake or cast out into the wilderness and banished from the office kingdom. Thankfully I have the scoop on what these criteria are, so you have no reason to worry. The chances of the aforementioned happening to you are now a lot slimmer*…you’re welcome. 

1.) Every human needs to be able to pretend to be a “Good Loser” – (whatever that is…)

Good Job GIF

Remember that life is about loss – we lose our child-like fascination, we lose our hope, we lose our hair, and then we lose our marbles…so you sure as hell better get used to losing. Consequently mastering sentences such as “Oh that’s great.”, “I’m so happy for you.”, or “You are absolutely amazing!” when you lose, or someone else achieves something, is vital for your survival…bonus points are awarded if you do it without a sarcastic tone or aggressive bestial snarl…advanced humans will also master the art of refraining from puncturing the winner’s tires, or throwing a brick through their window (although it is understood this is rather difficult to avoid at times). 

2.) Every human needs to pretend to only have community-approved obsessions:

Weirdo GIF

For some unknown reason some obsessions are deemed okay, and others are thought of as psychopathic…and often verge on the criminal side of things. For example if you announce you are “obsessed” with Game of Thrones, or with collecting fridge magnets – you may be thought of as pretty typical, or at worst quirky. However if you were to cheerfully let people know that you like catching, skinning and disemboweling vermin around your city, and occasionally attempt botched  Frankenstien-esque experiments on them…you are suddenly branded as a “weirdo”. It’s a strange world, and one I don’t particularly understand – but sadly that’s reality: some obsessions are okay, and some aren’t. You can check if your obsession is regarded as peculiar by practicing on strangers in the street…just walk up and let them know – if they run away as soon as you start talking, then it’s probably best to keep that one to yourself.

3.) Every human should pretend the internet is a bad thing:

Hate Computers GIF

This is one that baffles researchers everywhere but again appears to be a trend that cannot be shaken…despite the clear evidence that the internet is absolutely fantastic, most humans enjoy divulging the conclusion that they hate Facebook, or that they are sick of Twitter, or that Wikipedia is awful…usually this is told across some form of social media which only creates even more confusion. So even though you likely spend a tremendous deal of time watching great YouTube videos, or you learn something new everyday thanks to Google, or you never have to leave the house to buy stuff because of a whole host of online stores…it is best that you claim everything to the contrary. The most typical lines are; “I hate Instagram – why do I want to see people’s food? I don’t care if they starve or not.”, “I absolutely hate getting music for free, why can’t we just pay for the album which only has one good song on, like the good old days?!” and my personal favourite – “if it wasn’t for the internet, I would have written 400 best selling novels by now!” 

4.) Every human should pretend they never ever see difference, because no one is different:

Copy GIF

Yes we look different, yes we live in different places, yes we have been brought up in different cultures, yes we speak different languages, and yes we are blatantly different…but listen to me clearly; we are not different. Say it with me…“WE ARE NOT DIFFERENT.” Well done, great job – now say it with a more confident tone, you don’t sound like you believe it.

And you must, it is paramount to every human remaining in good favor. To suggest otherwise is to face the firing squad. Even if you embrace difference as a clear positive thing, in which we can all come together as a global community and learn from one another – you are still considered to be an enormous prick who doesn’t deserve friends. You are boxing people in, and it’s rude to put people in boxes (it’s cramped and there is poor lighting). 

5.) Every human should pretend their current job was always their dream job:

Ken GIF

Do you remember when you were a lot younger and you dreamed of the adult days which would be whiled away without rules, and limitations…where every day would be filled with aspirations waiting to be met, and ambitions waiting to be embraced…where you would spend the morning eating your weight in bacon, but still looking amazing, and then spend the afternoon rapping your latest hot single to thousands of adoring fans…possibly in the evening you may fit in a stand up show if you can be bothered to drag yourself away from your hot tub…yeah? Sounds great, right!?

WELL NO IT DOES NOT – THAT WAS A TRICK QUESTION, IT SOUNDS DREADFUL.

What you actually find as you grow from a smaller more positive human to a larger and more miserable version of a human, is that all of that was an illusion and you didn’t ever want it in the first place; and that coincidentally what you really wanted was to take calls from angry old ladies, get screamed at by a moron boss, and spend every morning weeping. So please at least pretend to tow the line…keep it on the low if you are doing anything that brings colour to your life, and certainly don’t openly wish for something more…apart from winning the lottery, people are allowed to do that apparently…

Done GIF

So there you have it, you are looking more like a regular human already! I can sense the dissatisfaction in your attitude, the redness in your eyes, and the look of desperation in your furrowed brow! Great job! Go forth and repress yourself!

*you could still be burned at the stake, sent out in exile, or find yourself friend-less – Storytime with John offers no guarantees. 

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The Rocking Chair Theory

Sometimes you see something and it sparks a whole chain of thought almost immediately…often it’s in things you don’t expect, and from places you wouldn’t have guessed – but despite this it feels central to your life in some way…as if it has always been a part of you, even if you hadn’t realized it before. I mean…if it wasn’t, why would you suddenly feel so strongly about it?

Safe Life

Anyway, that’s how I felt today when I stumbled across this photograph and caption on the Humans of New York Facebook page…

And no, settle down…it wasn’t because I saw the bit about STDs. It was just because I realized that despite also being quite a cautious person I am forever attempting to push myself free from those “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t” shackles so that I can hopefully live a life well lived, rather than a one full of safe regret instead…

Mind I’m not calling this fella a square because he hasn’t ever had a battle with chlamydia…there’s every cause for congratulations in that respect – however it did sadden me that his words have such a final tone to them…even though I imagine his life is far from over…I mean, there’s still plenty of time for him to volunteer in Africa, develop a drinking problem, become addicted to crystal meth, and/or blow his  life savings on cocaine fueled hookers. So why the negativity? Stop wasting time, and get on with it! 

Seriously though…people often say things like: “that’s something to tell the grandchildren!” when they do something out of the ordinary, or have an experience that is half-way interesting…and I suppose it’s this miserable fear of sitting in a rocking chair at 80 years old with nothing interesting to say that motivates me to push on and fill my life’s tapestry with weird and wonderful stuff! You only get one life to live, and all that lark…right? And I don’t want my most thrilling tale to be something about how milk and eggs used to be a lot cheaper, “back in my day…” as I slurp on soup, and fill a plastic bag with pee…

With that said being a cautious person is not entirely a bad thing, and you certainly shouldn’t relinquish control completely, that could prove to be disastrous! In fact, it actually reminds me of a situation a few years back where I found myself cornered in a Sunderland bar in the early hours of the morning – you see a possibly (definitely) psychotic football hooligan had taken an interest in me and wouldn’t let me go…he was too engrossed in his life story, which included a penchant for stabbing police officers in the neck with broken plastic pens during riots – and a claim that he will never stop doing heroin because it is “too fucking great to stop”. And whilst I must concede his sounded like a very interesting life to live – this is perhaps not my suggestion with this rambled post.

I would in actual fact suggest a person can still live a wonderful life even without stabbings, and heroin. I know, a controversial view – but I’m somewhat of a radical I guess! 

All it takes is simply loosening your grip on the “what ifs?” every so often…letting your guard down to different experiences, and occasionally pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. After all it is here where true rocking chair memories are made…

So why not get started today?

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Up or Down? (THE TOILET SEAT CONUNDRUM)

Since the dawn of porcelain potties there has been a vicious global debate…no sorry, not a debate – in fact I’d say it’s closer to a war. An unholy battle that seems to have no end in sight…relationships have crumbled, families have been torn apart – and billions of toilet seats have been spattered with hostile revenge pee…and for what?

Toilet Explosion GIF

I’d say it’s pride and ego mostly; which has been the unmaking of mankind from the very start of our civilised existence – and just like most of these rifts we will never budge from our own separate barracks, instead telling ourselves over and over that we have it right, and they have it all wrong; in this particular case women want the seat down, and men want it up. It all sounds so silly, and maybe it is…but if it’s so moronic a quandary then why do we have so much trouble overcoming it?

Now this debate doesn’t really affect me as I live alone and poop standing up (I enjoy the challenge) – so I feel I am at a unique position to weigh in for both sides impartially. As we know the main argument from the women’s camp is that they shouldn’t have to touch the bacteria infested toilet seat just because men are too lazy to put it down after use…well this would be all well and good if men absolutely loved touching gross toilet seats that are painted in various people’s faeces – but research suggests they don’t. There have been numerous reputable studies that have backed this up; or at least there probably would be if it wasn’t so glaringly obvious…so alas it seems only a small section of society take pleasure in such exchanges, and they are banished to a very dark and peculiar cavern of the internet – the large majority however find the prospect of handling human waste stained plastic horrifying, and rightly so… 

Vomit GIF

But what can we do? How can we solve this age old dilemma? 

Well, I think like all arguments in life a resolution can only come by making admissions and allowances on each side; a toilet treaty if you will. So this is my proposal as an impartial adjudicator…I suggest from now on we make efforts to meet in the middle, that way things are fair for everyone. What do I mean by this exactly? Well what I’m saying is we should leave the toilet seat in the middle – not up, not down…strengthen those hinges so that it can sort of just hang there awkwardly…that way it is just as inconvenient and annoying for everyone – and no one (not man, nor woman) profits from acts of kindness or outdated versions of chivalry…instead everyone’s toilet time experience is equally as frustrating. This can be one more remnant of a forgotten age of good manners that we cut off, and do away with forever.

But actually…as I make this suggestion I can already foresee a wealth of problems…well one problem really – and that is men and their fondness for peeing on things. Because even if hypothetically we have a utopian middle of the road toilet seat situation…guys will actually see this is a little challenge, sort of like one of those game stalls at the fairground – except even more rigged…after all we don’t have a Super Soaker  as much as we may like to pretend – more of a leaky faucet if anything…better than what the ladies have for sure, but still no sharp shooter…

Cowboy GIF

So where does that leave us then? Well, right back at the start unfortunately. I am not sure there is one acceptable answer, as either side will never back down – if we wanted to blame something then maybe we could pin it on our ultra fast, ultra busy way of living these days…we are so wrapped up in our schedules that no one can afford the half a second it takes to put up/down the toilet seat…in fact it is completely absurd to even suggest anyone undertakes such an exhausting task! But yet, the saga rolls on – and a glimmer of hope remains, hope that someday some visionary like an Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, or a Steve Jobs will come through and revolutionize things for us…but until that day the war will rage on.

Peeology man…it’s a tough one. 

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Lazy Sundays (ARE THE BEST SUNDAYS!)

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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“Should I Be a MGTOW?”

Another video request…and a rather controversial one at that – but I feel it’s best not to shy away from these topics – otherwise how will we have conversations that can lead to resolutions?

I was asked what my views were on the relatively new ‘MGTOW’ movement (Men Going Their Own Way)…

I’d love to hear people’s (men’s AND women’s) views in the comment section…maybe you can educate me, I am rather ignorant of everything surrounding this movement, and would like to hear more from both sides…is it something that limits, or aids us as people on this earth?

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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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!

Batman Returns

You may not expect it, but as a kindergarten teacher – you have to be VERY aware of what you wear, on a daily basis. If you just slap on clothes, without a second thought…you are asking for trouble!

Awful Wear GIF

Case in point, today I haphazardly threw on a Batman t-shirt, under an open shirt – without really thinking! I just thought it would be an ordinary day…how wrong I was! You see what ensued was an uncontrolled brazen assault by just about every child that spotted me – I had a target on my back! Well, you know…chest…but you get what I mean. They would come up, and attempt to beat me down with their chubby little fists – or attempt sneak attacks from the rear…which were very unwelcome, let me tell you that straight away. No one needs that kind of surprise, especially so early in the morning…the phantom fingers of death as you try to wash your hands…

Jonah Shock GIF

WOWWWEEEE! PLEASE DON’T!

Usually I dress differently, not for any real reason other than I wear what I like to wear – which just so happens to be shirts, ties, and blazers. I’m sure I look quite odd, a little out of place for a kindergarten teacher…who should probably be wearing a rainbow sweater, with like HAPPY UNICORN CHOCOLATE WISHES! Or something like that, written all over it! But no, it’s not really me.

Mind I totally understand where Batman is coming from now, especially the Christian Bale incarnation…not that I am saying I am like him or anything…although we do have the same chest, abs, and biceps…kinda...if you are in the right light…on the right day…HEY IT WAS JUST CHRISTMAS, NO FAIR! But yeah I can relate, I totally get why he was so pissed off all the time, and why his voice was so croaky…it was probably from all the Korean kindergarten kids jumping on him whenever they saw him, prodding him in every orifice – all the while he is screaming in failing desperation “NO, NO, NOOOO!”, but it’s no use! And he has now yelled so much that his voice starts to become crackly after time. He tries drinking honey, and lemon water…but it’s no use.

It would get to you after a while I’m sure. Short version of all this; I’m Batman, basically…but yeah, don’t tell the kids!

Party Hard Batman GIF

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Manliness

What makes a man, a man? Is there a solid definition…should there be? I don’t know really! After all, I rarely refer to myself as a man…in fact I don’t think of myself as one. That, err…yeah, that came out wrong! I don’t mean that I don’t think of myself as male, and instead prance around in ladies’ underwear every evening, whilst applying red lipstick…well never say never…ahem, but NO! I just mean that I am not too comfortable with referring to myself in that way. I think of a man as a finished article, and in no way am I there yet…a man is a grown upa man has confidence in himself, and his mustache. A man is fearless, and can drink whiskey without being sick in a nearby gutter. A man…

Sponge Man GIF

Well the truth is the modern man isn’t shackled with the same stereotypical constraints that he was a few years ago, so the definition of man is a lot more obtuse these days, thankfully. Not to say I haven’t always longed to slap someone with a glove, thus challenging them to a duel…but yeah, those days are long gone. 

You’re probably wondering what made me begin this slightly waffling, and vaguely ranty type of writing. Well one of my brothers recently told me a story – he was walking down a corridor in one of his university’s buildings, and as he was going through  – two ladies approached, and he held the door open for them rather than bursting through, or shoving past them. Pretty normal. I would like to think we have been brought up well, my Father used to always say “manners make the man” when teaching us little lessons, and when my sisters would inevitably complain, he would chuckle, and chime “manners make the wo-man, too!” 

What one of the two ladies did next, was somewhat bizarre. She refused to go through the door – instead, she left my brother standing there like a buffoon holding the door open for no one. Apparently she then screamed, “you know I can actually open a door myself, I don’t need YOU to do it for me!” and remained standing, holding back her friend at the same time.

Faint Door GIF

Naturally my brother was shocked, stunned in fact…I mean, his whole world had just came crashing down – after all he was sure, up until that moment, that no woman could open a door themselves, because how can any woman manage to work out the intricate push/pull mechanism of those tricky things…instead all they can do is wait, like damsels in distress, hoping, wishing, praying for a knight in shining armor to come on through, and release them to freedom.*

OBVIOUSLY, I jest (felt I needed to state that so people don’t get it twisted)*

But people are strange. My brothers and I were not taught one-sided chivalry rules; “open the door for ladies, but anyone else – fuck ’em! They have arms after all!” We were just taught common rules of decency, like I don’t know…“it’s nice to be nice!” It sounds oversimplified to state that the world would be a better place if people lived by that little motto, but it really would. Small things like giving your seat up on the bus for the elderly, dropping change in a homeless person’s cup…whatever…they should be encouraged, and it honestly upsets me to see that it is A LOT less common these days.

I don’t know…have I got it wrong? I hope so.