Wonderlust!

What is this fabled ‘wanderlust’ that I see strewn around quite literally every form of social media these days? By the looks of it it’s something to do with handwriting fonts, pictures of maps, and photos of fields, seas, and mysterious pathways…right?

ahh wait no, here it is:

‘Wanderlust; a yearning or desire to travel and  experience adventure.’ 

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Makes sense! No wonder everyone’s auntie and their cat has the word littered around the place as if its as commonplace as regret after a face tattoo! I mean, surely every single person in the existence of existence has had such a will…haven’t they? And I can’t see that changing anytime soon, it’s in our primitive nature to make such demands on ourselves – life is but a small window after all, and it’s on us to fill each little panel with as much colour as possible…so it may be worthy of display.

Yeah, yeah – I know! I’m being a typical liberal arts major freak and contorting the meaning of what it is to ‘experience adventure’…so apologies for that, it must be at least mildly annoying – but I just want to put forward the notion that just because you haven’t or likely won’t have a huge dramatic The Lord of the Rings type of epic in your lifetime it doesn’t devalue the journey you are already on…as long as you are living and breathing you are on your own personal adventure – just without the hobbits, and dragons.

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Although you may encounter hairy feet, and cockroaches…which is kind of the same thi…yeah alright it’s not, sorry – real life does have its pitfalls. 

Anyway, but despite this people post these wanderlust pictures, bless their hearts – and I’m not that against it or even mildly offended (I suppose i’m just being a dick if anything), but they often wrongly think that it’s the travel that they are longing for…that all they need to do is board a tin can in the sky,  eat peanuts/watch straight to DVD type films for twelve hours, then take a few photos at their guidebook destination to show people back home, and then they will feel content…but that’s not what it’s about, and that’s not what they want if they were really to consider themselves thoroughly. 

They want to step outside of the ordinary maybe because of a stagnant or complacent lifestyle, they want to experience something that shakes them from their routine, and reminds them they are seeing, hearing, and feeling human beings. They want to be in wonder…in amazement…they want that “wow” factor which you can only get by witnessing things first hand. Can you get this from travelling? Of course you bloody well can! Can you get it from opening your eyes to the beauty of life all around you wherever you are…yes! And you are not any less of a person for being more in line with the latter than that of some mad bearded traveller type who talks down to people who haven’t spent months in an igloo drinking their own urine. Or whatever it is they do – was just a quick example. 

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That’s why as lovely and well meaning as it is, I really loathe the question; “so how many countries have you visited now then?” As it is completely missing the point in my book, I mean I don’t count and I never will – in doing so you are reducing the experience to a number, and a check-list…I find it robotic, I find it soulless. The questions that excite me are more focused on the human side of things; “what did you see? What did you do? Who did you meet? How did you feel?” These are what we should really be examining…and you should ask the same of yourself whether it be on a boat in Vietnam shifting through the islands of Halong Bay…or after you attended something in your hometown; a football game, an art show, drinks with your nearest and dearest…a hot dog eating competition – whatever it is just mull  it over and think;  “what did I see? What did I do? Who did I meet? How did I feel?” 

Life is just people wandering about aimlessly trying to make sense of things – it’s just people bumping into each other and saying hello then telling their life story; everyone has a tale to tell and you can make any experience richer by bearing this in mind. You see, thinking this way gives you a greater appreciation for life, and how amazing it really is – do I forget this sometimes and wallow, sure! Pfft, all the time! But that’s just more of a reason to remind myself again, and again.

Just look at yourself – you get to meet people everyday, see things, feel things – I mean how great is that?! Also you’re hot, and have a nice personality.

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With all that said, I would encourage everyone to travel if you can, it’s fantastic…but don’t forget to look at what you have right where you are. Chances are it’s pretty damn wonderful and more than worthy of your time.

So it’s wonderlust over wanderlust, my friends. Remember that. 

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Escaping a Braying

A friend of mine recently created a lovely little video of my hometown, Sunderland. It’s the place we both grew up in, and the place we know as “home” no matter where we are in the world. The clip mainly follows through the countryside and coastal areas of the city- rather than the inner-city terraces that I grew up in – but I found it charming all the same, and it soon had me reminiscing of my past life there, and the many friends and memories I still deeply treasure to this day…

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Mind, that’s not to say that life there is always smooth sailing! And I think this story from the childhood archives should prove that! But you know what? You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth, and the good with the bad – and always, always make sure you laugh at the negatives later…

I’m going to stop my rambling and just get on with it, so without further adieu, here it is; ‘Escaping a Braying’:

          Every Wednesday without fail was “Mamoo and Grandar” day. So on days off we’d be there from morning to night, but if it was school term time then we’d have to wait for the bell to go…and it was only then that we could make our way to their home, and their sofa. You’d desperately want to be the first one there to get a proper seat, and dibs on the stuff we weren’t normally allowed; the stuff that rots your teeth and makes you fat – the stuff that other kids had in their lunchboxes every day – you see that’s the kind of stuff that was in Grandar’s biscuit tin. 

It was our little haven, just a few rooms that offered so much. You could have sugar in your tea as long as you kept it a secret, and if there wasn’t anything on the television Grandar would always have old cowboy films he was keen to show us…we could take or leave them usually, but he added a whole new dimension; giving running comedic commentary, and repeating the dramatic lines in even more dramatic voices…“DYAAAA FEEL LUCK-EE, WELL DOOYA – PUNK?!” He was, and still is – the funniest man alive, so sometimes I’d laugh so much at his little routines that I’d spill things on the floor – but it was never a big deal: “these things happen” they’d say. And Buster would probably eat it right up anyway.

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Eventually my Mother or Father would pick us up, and then we’d moan and ask to stay longer – so sometimes they’d sit to have a cup of tea and ask them how’s it going, but sometimes they wouldn’t. As we drove away we’d turn back and Mamoo would be waving us goodbye,  and she’d keep waving and waving until we couldn’t see her anymore. Mamoo is what we called my grandma, although we didn’t ever call her grandma unless we were talking to other people outside of the family…friends at school and others like that who would demand an explanation…it was just more bother than it was worth, so many why why whys and it always came across as weird for some reason. But to my siblings and I, she was undoubtedly Mamoo. Which is pronounced “Ma-maw” by the way…a baby’s mis-pronunciation that stuck forever.

 I remember one of the Mamoo and Grandar days more clearly than any other. I was walking over there, and was already late – probably detention for something that didn’t even really matter; laughing with friends, talking in class, not doing homework – something stupid,  that somehow  translates to a heinous crime at school. I was so late that all the other kids had cleared out from the streets and were nowhere to be seen; I was happy about this as I had to pass by another school to get to Mamoo and Grandar’s house and they didn’t take too kindly to St. Aidan’s lads, or Bent Aidan’s as they fondly referred to us as thanks to our all-male make up. Problem was there was no hiding my allegiance to this suspected homosexual club as the uniform marked me out…in black, white, and the gold stripes of my tie.

Anyway, I was late so hopefully nothing would happen this time arou-

“YA FUKEN BENDER!! OI…OI…OI, YA FUKEN BENDERR! OI!”

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Spoke too soon. There were three or four voices behind me, but I didn’t turn to look – all I knew was that they were advancing quickly, but some way away yet. “HEW! HEWWW! SCUSE ME?!” One of them suddenly remembered his manners, but I guessed that it wouldn’t change the possibility of him booting me in the face with his Rockport boots. “OI YA FUKEN BENDERR MAN!!” It was the same voice, but with a significant change in tactic. I hurried my pace, but didn’t want to run…if I ran it would be like attacks on those nature documentaries with the lions and the gazelles, running would encourage more running, and I was no runner. So I just moved a little faster, but tried to move my arms at a normal sort of speed so as not to arouse suspicion…perhaps it wouldn’t look so obvious and I’d be out of sight in no time! Or maybe if I got around a corner, then I could sprint, and just zigzag zigzag zigzag the streets in the hope of losing them? Well yeah, maybe. Maybe.

“ARNLY WANNA TALK TOOYA YA GAY FUKEN LIDL CUNT!”

I wasn’t so much in the mood for conversation, I just wanted to get to Mamoo and Grandar’s house – it was puddings in the corner day, and there’d probably be ice cream. I reached the end of the road and turned right…and started fleeing just the way I had planned – they didn’t seem to give chase, or if they did the adrenaline of sheer fear powered me beyond measure. I looped back around, and headed on a different route. When I’d caught my breath I took some time to reflect on how I could have probably taken them, and how I shouldn’t have ran – I mean, so what if they were older? I should have whipped out some karate moves, and used makeshift weapons out of things I could find around me…a brick as a hammer, a FOR SALE sign as a spear…I’d send them flying through windows – they’re lucky really, I let them off lightly. Next time they won’t be so lu-

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“WHYAYEE! LOOK HUU IT IS!! FUKEN GAY BASTAARD!” 

Shit. They were only a few feet in front of me. I span on the spot and belted away as quickly as humanely possible despite being knackered as it is. A glass bottle spun past my head and shattered on the jagged pavement – as a strong odour of cheap vodka temporarily filled the air. One of them grabbed at my shoulders with grasping heavy hands, but I shrugged free and darted across the road, not sure of where I was heading. But they were faster. I felt a heavy club to the head, not sure what – and then a boot up my behind. I pushed away in every direction, and one lost balance…falling to the floor in a pile, with a dumb expression stretched across his face. This surprised the pack temporarily, and spared me a few precious seconds…

I was still some way from Mamoo and Grandar’s. There was no way I could run all the way back without them catching up and slamming my head off a lamp post several times, or whatever took their fancy this particular day. So I made a split-second decision, to use this space for an impromptu theatrical performance…I really hoped they would enjoy the show and would refrain from heckling…

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I opened a stranger’s gate, and walked up a stranger’s pathway through a stranger’s garden, and then knocked at a stranger’s door. I heard the lads follow me, and caught a reflection in the front room’s window…they looked unsure as to what was going on. I rapped faster at the door and began Scene 1: “Maaaaammm! Maaaaam!” I knocked again, harder this time – “Daaaad! Daaaad!” Open the door man, I’ve forgot my key!” The lads were stood in the middle of the pathway with a shared puzzled look glazed over their faces. I moved to the window and tapped it while looking around the stranger’s house, it was pretty nice and well decorated – I wasn’t sure what I’d do when I met the actress playing my Mam, or the actor playing my Dad…but this was true improv, and I was out of options. “Maaaaaam, Daaaad! Can you open the door?” I shouted through the letterbox this time…catching a whiff of a scented candle as I peered in…

I felt a small rock hit my back. “FUKEN GAY BASTARD MAN, YA LUK-EE. Awer man…let’s go…” I guess he was the leader and had made a collective decision for the group.  Thank God. I carried on with my little one man play until I was sure they were out of sight…then I double checked the area before continuing on my way to Mamoo and Grandar’s house…

Puddings in the corner were waiting in the microwave, and they’d left me some gravy too. Later we had caramel Rocky bars, but I’d missed out on the ice cream. “Why were you so late?” they mused as the television flickered…

Lies GIF

“Detention” I muttered, as I stood up to fetch another cup of tea with two secret sugars.

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When Depression Strikes.

I’m in a mood, a raging horrible mood – but it’s not my fault because you can’t blame me for the fact that everyone around me is a fucking moron. Can you? No. So there we have it. Also you can’t blame me for the fact that the person who made this chair I am sat in intentionally made it too high to slouch properly in, and too low to sit without hurting your back – well done fuckhead you messed it up in each and every possible way, congratulations. And you can’t blame me for making this fucking table which appears to be designed so that the user constantly lashes their knees off it whenever they decide to, oh I don’t know…move.

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Imagine if your job is to design furniture…why would you design a steaming great pile of shit claiming it is ready for sale, and be happy to put your name to it? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed and ashamed of such a lousy lump of dog shit?

Perhaps they are  all watching me now, perhaps this is all some secret TV prank stunt bullshit, hahaha, let’s see if this sucker puts up with this fun-house carnival style seating arrangement! Oh the laughs, oh the giggles! Fucking bastards. Hate shit like that, can’t you just leave people alone and let them live in peace? Oh no, have to make your programme…have to make your viral vid. Scumbags.

So yes blatantly everyone is working  fucking extra hard to piss me off today, that much is clear. And yes I’ve had a lot of coffee but that has nothing to do with how irritable I may appear to be. Sorry, but why is there still a ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ sign up in the corner of the cafe? It’s fucking June. Fucking dumb-asses – if I was to ask could they explain it? You may as well spit in Santa’s face, what disrespect – after all he has done over the years, and this is how you treat him? Should be bitterly ashamed. Christmas is cancelled for everyone working in this coffee shop, give them some coal and make them eat it. 

And why do old people talk so loudly during conversations – well shit, just in general? I’m not even sure if the women to my right are even together…because each and every one of them is talking at the same time – like, don’t they know the social conventions of a conversation, huh? Or did they forget that at some point? It’s supposed to be one person speaks, and when they stop it’s another person’s turn – not “ARRRR-BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH” x fucking 3 all at the same fucking time! And what is up with old people having afros? I have never understood that. But perhaps that’s a different point altogether, I don’t know. 

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I started doing pretend typing for a bit there because some guy was staring at me and I didn’t know where to look. So I just ksdojasdopsadkaskljasdjksdankjasdnjksdakasdksa, until I sensed that he had sat down and had finally remembered that it’s rude to gawk at people you don’t know. No fucking Christmas for him either, coal for him too. 

And why do people take selfies? Okay obviously  I know why, but there is no humiliation in it any more. I really miss embarrassment, it kept people humble. My laptop just tried to change selfies to selfless, oh the fucking bitter irony.

If I had a rope I would probably lynch the horrible fuck to my left who is screaming down the phone to some sorry sap. He’s slapping the table with every sentence, as if it is fucking punctuation or something – well I wonder how he would like an ellipses of hammer blows to his skull? Probably wouldn’t be fond of that.

Murder GIF

Ahh, I feel a little better. If only people would stop slamming the door. God, I hate people – well no, I love people – I just hate each and every person in this specific area. How unfortunate that the most annoying people ever created have congregated in one spot. Lucky me.

I need fresh air. Goodbye.

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Arguments with Children

Arguments with children…I don’t know why I even allow myself to be suckered in – EVERY SINGLE TIME. Perhaps it’s some kind of vague ambition to truly educate, and make a difference…so that years in the future the now fully grown child reminisces and admits:

“He was right! I’m so thankful he steered me in the right direction at such a young age…I will have to find him and give him renumeration in the form of a cash lump sum…after all I am now a billionaire thanks to him!” 

Or you know, words to that effect. Basically I think there is a rather paternal instinct present in me which seeks to sculpt young minds in a positive way; perhaps impart some wisdom accrued from experience, and whatever else…I’m not saying I’m Yoda (after all my face doesn’t quite resemble a ballbag to the same degree), but I am certainly living with the belief I can create more Jedis than Sith…

Yoda GIF

Yeah…what he said!

But it’s not as easy as all that. There are always curveballs with children – you can’t ever take anything for granted, you can never just assume ANYTHING; how did you get ice cream in your eyeball? Why did you put my sunglasses in the toilet? Why are you about to jump out of the window? Why did you…well the list is infinite, so I’ll  stop right there – hopefully you get the picture, which is that they are little maniacs at the best of time.

So how do you try and teach life lessons to those who would rather discuss smelly socks? Well with great difficulty, obviously.That doesn’t stop be from trying though, although it probably should – you see I have already had two separate arguments this week, each lacking in logic of any kind – but both ending in myself being ridiculed, and jeered for being an absolute moron (바보).

I had initially estimated both scenarios to be sterling opportunities to give some important guidance to the younger generation; the first being of the utmost importance (the plot of The Lion King), and the second a lot less pressing but still kind of necessary I suppose…(where babies come from)…

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Concerning The Lion King, we were looking at animals in my kindergarten class…and then having a bit of a debate about which animals we liked, and which we didn’t – some people were big fans of snakes, some enjoyed gorillas, others tigers…it was an all-inclusive zoofest up in that classroom! Until I chimed in…“My favourite is the lion! He’s the king of the animals!”cue tumbleweed, and bitter stares…should go without saying I immediately regretted voicing my stupid opinion.

“NO. LION NOT GOOD.” barked the entire population of the class…well, I was a little taken aback – but I reinforced my reasons which I felt were legitmate – “NO! NO! LION NO KING.” 

I calmly asked them if they had ever watched the film The Lion King – they all nodded that they had – “you see…the film is called ‘The Lion King’ – because the lion…is the king!” I thought that I had put it across in a simple enough way, that the kids could surely rec – “NO JOHN TEACHER, LION NO KING!”

I should have just left it. I should have…I know I should have, but I didn’t. I lost my cool – “RIGHT…in the film there is a big lion, yes? And he is the king. The film is called ‘THE LION KING’ – because he is THE LION, KING! THE LION IS THE KING OF THE ANIMALS!” they glared back at me, all four of them…until someone broke the silence; “the monkey is king. Grandfather king.” – everyone began to agree, and nod frantically before suddenly breaking into laughter, and sarcastically patting me on the back as if to say “you were wrong, but never mind.”

YOU SERIOUSLY CAN’T REASON WITH THAT SMUG LOT.

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The second argument came around today. And started off when for some bizarre reason a young boy asked me if I would rather have rabbits, or a rabbit. You get used to these seemingly inane questions when teaching kindergarten – and I find myself just answering without much hesitation or thought; “RABBIT! Just one…” As always with kids I was asked why, and I gave my reasoning which was that rabbits together have so many rabbit babies, and it can be like a mad house! Such a horribly boring adultish response, man I hate myself for even coming out with it, but nevermind.

“JOHHHHHNNN TEEEEEAAAACHER! SILLY, SILLY!” he crowed, in an imitation of the voice I use when they make a spelling mistake, or drop their snack on the floor. “BOY RABBIT, GIRL RABBIT OKAY! HAHA – JOHNNNN TEEEEAAAACHHHHERRR!” 

He went on to explain in detail how stupid I was, and why I was wrong in every way possible – I was under the false impression that daddy rabbits and mammy rabbits fall in love and then babies are dropped off by the stork, or whatever – but Daniel educated me in the truth and totally opened my eyes to the fact that rabbits are only trouble when you have the boys together – that’s how you get babies after all…

“But Daniel…you have a Mommy, and a Daddy…where did you come from?”

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His mouth fell open a little, and his eyes peered around in confusion…as I waited patiently for the penny to eventually drop. But it didn’t. 

Instead he shook his head and yelled…“JOHNNNN TEEEEACHER, SILLY, SILLY”…and wandered off to get his chocolate milk, whilst chuckling to himself.

There’s always next time…one day…one day…

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The Dadbod Myth

Okay internet, we have to talk…and I think you know why…

The fabled “Dadbod” thing that seems to be doing the rounds recently…apparently it’s the new hot thing? That every woman cannot resist? Is…this…like, are you actually for real though? You mean to say that suddenly those Grecian demi-god types, those sculpted walking statues, those action figurine looking fellas… are now of absolutely no value or merit whatsoever? I mean…huh?!

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I have seen a lot of commentary about Leonardo DiCaprio, and many articles appear to use him as a figurehead for the Dadbod movement…as if to say;

“Look! Leonardo DiCaprio is slightly overweight, and has a number of girlfriends! This Dadbod thing must be true!” 

Which would make sense, if it didn’t make absolutely no sense. It’s almost like people are looking past the fact that he is a multi-millionaire…who also just happens to be LEONARDO DI-FUCKING-CAPRIO! I mean come on! Get real for God’s sake.

The truth of the matter is that it’s an attempt by the media to square up the conversation of body-weight acceptance between genders. A few years ago the “big is beautiful” thing was rolled out for females, and it really caught on – and I can see why! Suddenly women didn’t have to feel marginalised or devalued just because they were not Hollywood slim…this led to many men nodding in agreement, claiming they actually prefer real women, and blah blah blah.

Now that’s all well and good, so please don’t think I’m knocking it.

But then along comes the male version of “big is beautiful” – the Dadbod

Dadbod GIF

…and well, simply put – I’m not buying it! I would argue males have NEVER had the same kind of pressure based around physical beauty that women have – so this little trend is almost like someone saying; “hey! I took off the shackles – run free!” when the individual wasn’t even chained up in the first place. It just makes no sense…sure men would love to look like Ryan GoslingHugh Jackman…or (PICK ANY GLORIOUS CHISELLED ADONIS OF YOUR CHOICE), but if we are not gym going types we just shrug our shoulders and accept our lot; aka pick up the remote and some sort of cheesy snack…

Reason being we don’t get the same body shaming tactics that I feel females have historically received – that’s why it’s hilarious to hear that the Dadbod thing is “in!” You mean to say that I now have permission to eat eight slices of pizza, and drink a few pints of beer whenever I want? And that I am allowed to have that inevitable extra bit of weight as a result?

THANK YOU SO MUCH, I WAS WAITING FOR YOU TO GIVE ME THE GO AHEAD! I HAD BEEN STARVING MYSELF, AND HAD BEEN STONE-COLD SOBER! BUT NOW…PHEW…WHAT A WEIGHT THAT HAS BEEN LIFTED! AND I FEEL HOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TOLD ME I AM NOW HOT. WOOOO!

Homer Dadbod GIF

 Ridiculous. Let’s live in the real world. 

Perhaps I’m wrong though…well, I’m not for sure – but what do you think?

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Mixed Messages

You can’t win em all…

MIxed Messages

Play good music at my funeral, and have a few drinks in my honor. That’s all I ask.

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HOW NOT TO FACE-PAINT 101!

So this week we had a “fun day” for the kids because there’s a Korean children’s holiday coming up soon! We sang songs, did some arts and crafts, and there was even a magician! Such laughs, such jokes, such jolly good fun! 

Then a big horrible monster of a man ruined it. As soon as he came bursting in a dark cloud was cast above the classroom…thunder and lightning began to crack, and air became cold. The beast spared no one…scarring both faces and minds alike – with simple strokes of a paint brush. Ruining childhoods, and lives with every ignorant flick of his accursed wrist.

Here is a picture of one of the survivors…he’s still alive, but who knows what degree of mental damage has been done?

Face Painting

I’m sorry, so so sorry…what’s worse is this was 100% my best effort. I’m surprised the parents haven’t came around to my home with flaming torches and pitchforks…

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Japanese Faces

I just read of a Japanese proverb which goes something like; “you have three faces, – the first you show the world, the second you show to those closest to you, and the third you never show anyone…this is the truest reflection of yourself.”

Mirror CK GIF

 What do you think about that?

Well I’m not so sure, people often bandy around the expression “two faced” with differing levels of severity; ranging from iconic comic book villain, to your husband/wife sleeping with the neighbour for twenty years. But the truth is we all wear a whole host of different masks – we are each our own personal halloween costume store, and we pick and choose a different guise as and when necessary.

For your viewing pleasure why don’t you take a little tour around my little internal shop? Let’s see what you may find! :

1. The “I just ate an entire large pizza by myself, but I’m not even sorry” face:

Pizza GIF

2. The “what you said wasn’t remotely funny, but I’m trying to spare your feelings” face:

Fake Smile GIF

3. The “why are you distracting me from writing with YouTube videos?” face:

Distraction GIF

4The “hello little old lady, I promise I’m not one of those hooligan/thug kids you hear about” face:

Innocent Smile GIF

5. The “kindergarten teacher” face, aka – the “John Lee Taggart”:

Kindergarten Teacher  GIF

Clearly there are many, many, many more…but I am sure there are other stores to visit, and perhaps you are a little peckish – so off you pop, and come again soon! I get a new collection of masks every month! 

But what about you? Come onnnnnn…honesty is the best policy!

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