Bustin’ a Nut

Forgive me for venting, but don’t you think nuts get unfairly branded negatively just about everywhere you turn? I’m not sure who decided on the marketing decision to use nuts as a frame of reference for just about everything that isn’t wonderful in the world…but whoever it was has totally ruined the good nut name for generations since, and I for one think it’s not right.

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This is how much it upsets me (approximately).

Everywhere a nut dares to venture in the world it has to face horrendous stereotypes…typecast automatically before anyone can even get to know it. That’s largely because the n word has been stretched and contorted out of all reality, and transformed into something that it doesn’t resemble at all…here are just a few unfortunate but all too real examples:

That guy licking his dog’s leash looks like a nutter – let’s cross the road.”

– when detailing a possibly mentally ill man, and his infatuation with an inanimate object.

He thought he had came back from the dead to spread Noah’s message. He was completely off his nut.”

– when gossiping about a friend’s recent revelatory adventure whilst in the throes of an opiate high.

Urgh, this disgusting salad has a nutty taste…let’s go get a burger instead.”

– when blaming nuts for the overall dissatisfaction you have with your grossly unfulfilling healthy choice.

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Aragon is absolutely sick of it.

But you see it shouldn’t be this way, and we can be the change. After all nuts can be your friend, if you would only look past all of the false tall tales and into your heart. They can be great sources of protein, and from my personal experience are great listeners. They’re also rich in antioxidants, and have a number of other uses; such as something to throw off people who get too close to your picnic, a last alternative to have with beer if the world runs out of salty/cheesy snacks, and a whole host of chat up lines – such as “you remind me of a walnut, because you have a brain and I want to eat it.”

With all these plus points it’s an absolute insult that they remain slandered at every opportunity…so what are you waiting for? Get out there and reclaim nuts for all of their positive traits! Don’t let a few bad apples ruin it for the rest of them…

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For the record she loves nuts.

…and if you really have to hate on a certain group, make it apples. They don’t keep the doctor away at all – just ask Snow White. 

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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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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?

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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… 

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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…

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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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Tricky Decisions

There are often tough decisions we have to make in life – some of them are major heart-wrenching numbers, you know; should I move abroad to look for work? Should I go back to school? Do I really need extra cheese on this XL pizza? 

But occasionally these choices demand an instant response, and can’t be deliberated – the choice is a split-second one…and in this moment your brain spins into total chaos attempting to pick out the least offensive best fit ~

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That happened to me a few hours ago…in a frenetic snapshot that lasted only a few seconds. You see I was innocently on my jolly old way to the supermarket at about 3:00pm – so I could beat the lines, and get it all over with before I had sniffling school children, and their beleaguered parents wrestling with me for the last on sale pork chop. No siree – not today! 

I was moments away, when a silver blacked out car pulled in. I thought maybe it was the Korean version of The Men in Black, who would drag me in – question me, and then realise I am a complete dunce – and return me to my average activities. But it wasn’t. It was actually a family car, as out hopped a little girl (maybe eight/nine?) who went fleeing off into a nearby building with an excitable spring in her step…

That’s when I noticed she had dropped one of her gloves in her hurry…and was faced with a tricky split-second decision…

Which was of course exacerbated by the fact that I am limited in my grasp of the Korean language…I mean, I certainly don’t know how to say:

“hey excuse me, you dropped your glove! I’m not a creepy weirdo – this isn’t stranger danger, this is stranger…help…err…ing!”

So, my only real option was to pick the glove up, and go running after the girl in silence…like some insane modern-day child catcher…but yeah I immediately figured that’s not a good look – imagine if you dropped your child off, and you immediately witness a strange looking man sprinting as fast as his chubby thighs will carry him, in the direction of your now heavily freaked out daughter…you would probably be a little alarmed? Possibly a smidge concerned at the very least?

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My brain picked up on that thankfully, so high five brain! Anyway I had deliberated too long so my target had escaped…not target John…erm…mark? No…well yeah, she was safe, and sound in the building is my point. So I picked up the glove, and went over to the car…

Again – I couldn’t just knock on the window, and say “Excuse me there! Your daughter appears to have dropped her glove! Oh, what a to-do! There you are! Have a good day now!” Or whatever people in England say to each other, I can’t recall for sure – it’s been a while. So instead my brain had the bright idea of just opening the door, and throwing it in. The windows were blacked out, so it’s not like I would have to have awkward eye contact…

…well the car was pulling away, so it was now or never…I tried to bypass the possibly terrible idea, but I couldn’t think of anything else. I’m one of those odd people who would worry about this whole situation not meeting a nice resolution, if I don’t act. I’d be kept awake at night crying over someone’s glove, and what should have happened…I like a happy ending you know? Every glove should stay with their soul mate. 

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So that’s what I went with. It was probably the better of two evils – I know that people probably don’t like some random guy opening their car door without permission, probably would be quite a scary moment..what does he want?! Is he going to steal my car?! Try to kill me?! Is he selling something?! OH MY GOD – is he an extremist Jehovah’s Witness?! Maybe this is what they do now!?

Well as I said I didn’t have to deal with eye contact. I just opened it a little, murmured something which I couldn’t even hear through my blaring earphones, threw it in, and then slammed the door – before walking off hastily. I didn’t look back, the car could have blown up for all I know.

But the important thing is that at least it wasn’t on my mind, festering away for years. And the gloves were reunited…wait…perhaps it was a taxi?! That would explain the blacked out windows…OH GOD, I AM GOING TO BE THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!! ARGHHHH!!!

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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!

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