Elderly Children

The other day I laughed like I haven’t done in months…and it wasn’t from a well-crafted and intelligent political barb either, or an amusing satirical comment on Western society’s culture – or anything else that demands some level of brain activity to “get” – noit was a lot more simple and pure than all of that, but not any less meaningful. Well, maybe a little…

Anyway it was undoubtedly something silly; and it came about by me walking into a classroom, and coming across a rather strange sight – a small hunched character who couldn’t have been more than five or six years old. It was one of those moments where it takes a few seconds to take it all in and process…

Huh GIF

You see this kid had pushed his shoulders up, and his head down – basically eliminating his whole neck…making him look vaguely reminiscent of  both Frankenstein’s monster and a penguin with a spinal problem at the same time. To keep the shoulders in shape he was forced to waddle as he walked to maintain composure…and felt it was necessary to emit a few R2-D2 style “BOOP-BAP-BEEP”s every now and again, which (thanks to his missing front teeth) had an eerie and creepy sound to them…this was all probably necessary though,  just to remind people he was still there circling the table.

I also noted that he would occasionally outstretch his right hand slightly as if reaching for an imaginary walking stick which he had sadly misplaced…which led me to believe this was perhaps an older Frankenstein’s monster penguin model. But that was of course an assumption I am still yet to verify. Either way I felt in my heart of hearts that if I had some spare teeth lying around I wouldn’t hesitate to offer them to this bizarre yet amusing creature, he was just trying to live dammit – and seemed like a pretty nice guy.

Friend GIF

There was just something about the whole spectacle which made me burst out laughing, and as he inevitably began to giggle too the shoulders began to droop slowly but surely…and the beeps turned into baaps, and the baaps quickly turned into “ba-ha-ha-ha”s. Before I knew it we were both in hysterics with laughter, and so the rest of the kids in the class took the baton: copying the same character, busily circling the table with their now neckless bodies.

Such little weirdos, seriously!

But it made me think though…where do we lose this? And when…and WHY?! Because I know I still behave like this – but I’m seen largely as stupid, childish, or immature (there are other words but it’s a family show). However I do feel like if we were all a little more like this, just having fun and amusing both ourselves and each other…then life would be that little bit more enjoyable. In other words if the elderly had as much of a laugh imitating children as these kids had imitating the elderly then this world would be a lot less dreary.

Old Lady GIF

All I know is I’m writing a mental note to do the Frankenstein’s monster penguin shuffle at age 93. Don’t let me forget…okay? Even if I scream at you to get off my lawn and begin a rant about “kids these days”…make me do it.

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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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Simple Tips for Novel Planning (Video Request)

I’m currently working on a new novel…rather excited about it actually – I promise I’m going to come through with this one (motivation through “wooooo, you can do it!” calls would be greatly appreciated!) so it is rather bizarre that I got a wee video request asking for tips on planning out novels…

If you have any advice for myself or other writers then remember – sharing is caring! Would love to hear what has worked, and what hasn’t worked for you! 

Oh, and 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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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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KIDS ARE WEIRDOS!

A spot of unfortunate toilet trouble ended up in me coming to one pretty solid conclusion…that kids are weird, and there’s no two ways around it! I mean what would you have done in this situation I found myself in…

Every day is another lesson in straight up strangeness. I swear. 

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!

How to (PRETEND TO) be a Normal Person

As you wade through the mysterious complexities of life, encountering such typical philosophical travails such as “why are we even here?”, “what is my calling?”, and “will I get caught if I burn my boss’ house down?” we can often feel alone…as if we are weird, and no one else is having these feelings on a daily basis. And the fact of the matter is – you are weird. You’re strange – odd…actually if I was to be completely honest you are probably Norman Bates level mental…but other people don’t have to know that!

Here are a few top tips that I have gleaned over my tenure as a full-time sociopath, which are sure to help you fit in and walk among the muggles undetected:

1. Nod, and smile when people are talking (even if you don’t understand what is going on):

Nod Smile GIF

You can throw in a few “ahhh I see”s for good measure – even though you don’t see anything at all. Just keep nodding, and smiling…nodding and smiling…people will tell other people you are a good listener, and ironically subsequently a great conversationalist!

2.  Say “oh my God” instead of an actual well-thought out reply:

Oh my God GID

There’s really no need for any other reply these days, not unless you want to have the possibility of saying something weird like your actual sick thoughts. Instead stick to the script…just alter the pitch and pronunciation of the “oh my God”  to suit whichever situation you may find yourself in; shock, sadness, humor, joy – whatever, whenever – you’re golden.

3. Reply with “it’s fine, don’t worry about it” when someone wrongs you terribly:

Fine GIF

Let’s get this straight – it’s definitely not fine, and you will carry around this bitterness for the rest of your life like a heavy noose around your neck…but never mind – it’s…fine. I mean you may need counselling and perhaps some form of radical electric shock treatment years from now – but until then…you’re fine…no really, you’re fine. 

4. Whistle a tune you are literally making up as you go along:

Whistle GIF

People who go around whistling are so annoying right? Just wandering about totally in their own world, without a care as to how irritating they are to the entire population of the earth…urgh! But funnily enough by masquerading as one of these rogues you can don the guise of a normal-o! (Please note you will appear normal but will have no friends and your entire family will abandon you.)

5. And finally…always shake stranger’s hands aggressively whilst repeating “I’M NORMAL, I’M NORMAL, I’M NORMAL!” in a shrill tone.

Aggressive Hand Shake GIF

This is the clincher and takes a little bit of practice – fortunately you can train for this in the comfort of your own home (toddlers, cats, and your bed-bound grandmother make for great training apparatus) – remember to truly believe yourself when you shriek “I’M NORMAL!”; after all if you don’t believe yourself, then why would other people?

~~~

And here marks the end of my knowledge on this subject – but if you enact these five simple steps you will be surely well on your way to a life of normality (and repressed feelings)…

…but anyway I’m going to leave this coffee shop now, I think my whistling is starting to anger the rest of the clientele. Good luck, and keep smiling my friends – it’ll be our little secret!

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The Honesty of Children

After a small child walked up to me recently, and massaged my wrinkled brow while repeating “McDonald’s man” over, and over and over again (for the 100th time might I add), I suddenly recognised something that I have came to realise is rather important – and that is that little kids really don’t give one solitary shit.  

Nope GIF

Instead they parade around with a brazen brand of self-confidence – telling people they encounter whatever the hell they want…without much understanding or care for the consequences of these announcements. Whether you like what they have to say or not hinges on pure coincidence as; “you look like a fatty”, and “your hair is beautiful” both come from the same place…they are both just purely observational statements of fact.

They do things because they feel right in the moment. There is no hidden agenda or motive behind their words (as there is in the big bad scary adult world); where every sentence, word, and letter is broken down and considered in an effort to pick apart the speaker’s true meaning and intention. On the other hand as adults we lie on a daily basis, so much so that it’s actually out of control! Like telling your boss you like her flip flops and socks combination, despite the fact it makes her look as fashionable as a retired archeologist…or promising your significant other they are not getting fat – even though you just had to pay for an extra seat on a rollercoaster to accommodate his/her left buttock. Or even nodding and smiling at a stranger who just rudely barged past you…all the while holding back a loud and long; “FUUUUCKKKK YOUUUUUU MUDDDAAA-FERKA!”

Sick of Everyone GIF

If only we could carry through this sort of honesty as we grow to double digits, and then continue to retain it  as we meekly wander into the abyss of the adult world and its enforced white lie policy. I mean sure, the world as we know it would surely crumble…but how liberating it would be to just speak your mind at all times rather than being given no alternative but to tell extra large porky pies such as this:

Mr. Knob: “Where is that report Sally?! I told you to have it finished by Tuesday, and it’s now Wednesday…it’s not on my desk, this is absolutely inexcusable!”

Sally: “Oh I sent it to you already, did you check your email? Perhaps it didn’t send properly…I’ll re-send as soon as I get home, as it’s on my home computer.”

Mr. Knob: “Hmm alright…next time make sure I receive it – that’s why a hard copy is always better. Get it to me by tomorrow morning.”

(A-HA! SALLY HAS JUST BOUGHT HERSELF SOME TIME, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE WORLD CAN KEEP SPINNING. THANK YOU AGAIN LIES, YOU BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIES!)

Dancing Baby GIF

How would it go if there were no lies though? My imagination tells me it may go something like this…

Mr. Knob: “Where is that report Sally?! I told you to have it finished by Tuesday, and it’s now Wednesday…it’s not on my desk, this is absolutely inexcusable!”

Sally: “There’s this new flavour of Doritos, they’re great – I’ve been spending a lot of time eating those and binge watching sitcoms from the 90s. It’s been a pretty fulfilling two months for me.”

Mr. Knob: “WHAT?! Well when can I expect the report?! Another two months?!”

Sally: “Yeah, sounds great! Now can you leave me alone please? I’m in the middle of an episode right now.”

Man…if only, if only – right? But unfortunately this kind of answer is frowned upon…I’m not sure why…it’s a damn shame though…

But that is our reality unfortunately, and at least for now we seem stuck with it. I guess if I was to be a little less bias it sort of helps in certain areas…it’s a social lubricant (urgh, gross) in situations and interactions that can be tricky. And all out kid’s style honesty is probably not going to make you a lot of friends – I was always taught that “honesty is the best policy!” but I see now that is somewhat of a fallacy…ah well.

Oh, and before I go – you’re the best looking, funniest, and most intelligent person on the face of the earth. I promise. Like, really.

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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!