5 Stages to a Job Search

To those who don’t know I am back in the UK:

Now this is as wonderful as you may expect; I’m seeing family and old friends, walking around familiar streets and experiencing our tropical climate – however it is also becoming increasingly frustrating. This is for one reason and one reason only: I’m on a hunt for a job, and a good one if you please.

So for your entertainment and my own catharsis I thought I would note down some of the stages to this job search so far – perhaps it may curse me forever, or perhaps (hopefully) the universe will decide to cut me break after this divine offering to the Blogosphere Gods.

Well we can always hope…anyway, here we go – in at number one:

1. Looking through the amazing opportunities:

(ENDLESS SCROLLING AND FUCKING CLICKING)

Clicking GIF

This is great at first as you can look through all of the wonderful positions and delight at how many there are! “I thought there were no jobs?” you chuckle with a moronic sneer to yourself, as if everyone was over-reacting and that somehow you are a genius who will slide into one of these roles so easily it’ll be as if you were always there…

Very quickly you begin to picture yourself in these roles – aaah yes there it is…an amazing image of a suited you dancing merrily in your mind’s eye at a workplace where everyone thinks you are hilarious. Unsatisfied you continue to design this world with further complexity…you will no doubt become a high-flyer, there will be lots of managers saying you did a great job, and everyone will just give you constant high fives for no real reason other than they want to be best pals, and…

But you have to stop your daydreaming at some stage or you will never get to the application process (this takes longer than others to get around to…)

2. Writing out the fine tapestry of your life:

(RE-WRITING YOUR RESUME AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN)

Resume Writing GIF

I blasted off 15 applications on my first day back in the UK…how? Well it was easy, I just found the jobs I liked and sent them a resume – case closed, that’s that! I then slapped my hands together and congratulated myself on a job well done with a sugary tea and a few chocolate brownies. Sounds great so far, I know. 

But this isn’t always the case – actually it usually isn’t for any of the jobs you truly want. You see these corporate devils don’t want your CV (they are allergic to the sight of Microsoft Word I suppose), and instead want you to fill in the exact information that is on your existing resume into their own little boxes. Cue typing, and scrolling, typing and scrolling – until you are so bored of your own life story that you begin to wonder if you should bother in the first place. And you probably wouldn’t if it wasn’t for the whole needing money to feed, clothe and shelter you thing. 

But eventually you get to the next hurdle…albeit with a sore clicking finger.

3. Patiently waiting for your dreams to come true…

(EXPERIENCING BOREDOM, EXHAUSTION, AND RAGE AT THE SAME TIME)

Waiting GIF

It is a well known and scientifically proven fact by the University of Job-Seekers Anonymous that time passes by at a tiny fraction of the rate it would ordinarily when you are waiting for a response about the job interview you just went on. Of course while you are waiting for the answer to what could be a huge section of your later best selling autobiography the people at the office will just be milling around…making cups of tea…talking about weekend plans and whatever else. You are not their priority. Hard to get your head around, but a sad reality.

This information doesn’t particularly help. You are still sat there stressing out and unable to focus on little else, thinking over all of the stupid things you said and all the tremendously impressive things you would have said if you were to be given a second chance…you also eat and drink constantly with little to no enjoyment, in fact grazing would be a better word.

This leads you to begin feeling like a big fat fucking moose as you fucking…argh, why are you such a big useless loser who – OOH AN EMAIL! YES! HERE WE GO FUTURE! 

4. Not getting the job this time around…

(BEING TOLD IN A LOVELY WAY THAT YOU SUCK AND SHOULD NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE)

FUCK YOU GIF

Perhaps you weren’t right for the position, or you weren’t qualified/experienced enough, maybe the owner got someone they knew in or they hired internally…there are many reasons you may have not got it this time…but only one sticks in your mind and torments both your living and sleeping mind.

YOU ARE THE WORST LAHOOOOOSER EVER – IF YOU WERE TO SHOWER FOUR TIMES A DAY YOU STILL COULDN’T WASH THE LAHOOOOSR-ISHNESS OFF YOURSELF!

Or something like that. My point is your mind can be a cruel cruel thing…it is unrelenting and with each email and phone call your resolve only weakens and your lack of confidence grows. It’s pretty grim, but you should…

5. Recognise you are a great person, and that the right job will come along soon.

(HATE YOUR LIFE, AND ALL YOUR PAST CHOICES)

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This is where I am at right now, or at least somewhere between these two polar opposites – things look bleak, and despite the fact it is sure to work its way out somehow/someway eventually…this offers very little comfort. 

So drop some inspiration in the comments…a stage 6 if you will – it’s really what I need to hear right now! And who knows, we could help some others feel better about their job search at the same time!

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Burden of Crystals

I have NO IDEA how to really write this sort of stuff, still want to possess an amusing narrative voice but don’t want it to appear odd/off-putting. This piece is basically the back-story of the world which my central character will find himself in once he crosses over…essentially a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It’s not finished yet, but want to flick between the back-story and the protagonist’s experience as he encounters this world…so in many ways then the reader will be more aware of the conflicts and structure of the further world. Is it okay to do it like that? Is that the done thing?! Anyway, here we go – the creator Father Nature bestowing magical crystals on the unfortunate six:

My energies and wisdom will be divided between you all, as the most prominent and powerful races to be found in this world” spluttered the now decrepit and decaying God…his voice shaking with doubt and regret as he lay there surrounded by six of the most unusual-looking war generals you are ever likely to see. To your eyes they would be figures of dreams or nightmares (depending on your sensitivities), but in this world and at that time they were noble and trusted leaders that were being handed the fate of all they knew and held dear in their hearts. No pressure then, none at all – I mean granted, if they were to mess it up and power was to fall into the wretched hands of Typhon then the world would likely become an active volcano of death, darkness and destruction…a place where vile tyranny, mass-enslavement, and loud perpetual crying would become more commonplace than oxygen, water, or human’s aversion to Mondays. But each of the weary figures were doing all they could to forget such things, as it was the only way of coping with how monumental the task at hand actually was…

And so whilst sharing telling glances with one another each of the chieftains were handed glowing purple crystals, which they were told possessed the shared potential of the creator himself. Energies which would boost the capability of their race, making them worthy matches for a demi-God, rather than weak beings who would otherwise be thrown aside quicker than fruit at a toddler’s birthday party. With these stones they would be able to rise up as heroes in this grave time of need…combining their differing powers and weaknesses to create a sustained harmony wherever and whenever darkness threatened.

This all sounds rather bright and rosy, but it would prove to be no small task. In fact each and every facet of the plan was stacked up in a precarious line of dominoes where even the slightest knock would send things spiralling into a cataclysmic mess – it would have to be cooperation between all six, or sure defeat…let me try to explain this lunacy as best as I possibly can:

You see, The Satyrs are renowned for their vast intelligence and deep connection to the natural world (great!), but are hindered by their selfish and often vain personalities (not so great.). However this could possibly be softened by the wise nature of the enchanted Djinns – a warrior- mage race who were ardent scholars of sorcery. And yet wars and battles can’t be won with brain-power alone, so therefore a physical presence would be necessary…which is where the immense Berserkers come in, with their four hearts, six powerful arms, and a penchant for beating people senseless for next to nothing (what could possibly go wrong?!) Well a lot, clearly, and so to counteract these rather dense behemoths, the miniature race of Claurichauns were also selected…with the idea that their cunning, plotting, and resilient nature would be helpful when dealing with the grumbles of the Berserkers. Finally the lizard race known as The Glycons and the ferocious 9-Tails were summoned, largely because they both possessed sheer numbers which would prove pivotal in vanquishing the legions of vitriolic creatures Typhon was likely to enlist. These choices still raised a lot of eyebrows, especially the choice of the latter for one reason in particular; they possess a biological necessity to feast on people’s kidneys in order to return to their none bestial form. So not ideal house-guests then.

Naturally this was a humongous burden on every person in the room – after all it wouldn’t be right to say “no thank you” to such things as power crystals and the dying wishes of a God now would it? But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t wishing none of this had ever came to be in the first place. If only they could have stopped it all before it had gotten to this point…

All critique is good. Even if it makes me cry. Thank you! 

Night in an Igloo

I often notice that spending a night in an igloo is on quite a few people’s bucket lists…and I think it’s clear why this may be; after all it’s out of the ordinary, a one off experience, and at the very least there’s potential for fun (if not frostbite and/or hypothermia.) 

As children we see drawings, cartoons, and photographs of these strange and snowy lands…and the igloo is a constant if not integral feature of this setup – it fills young and old minds alike with wonder as to whether the inside is warm and toasty…despite being made completely of chunky slabs of ice.  I mean surely it is right, or how would people survive the bitter cold?!

Please 90 GIF

Well while I was in Finland I was lucky enough to get to spend a night in one…it was a now or never situation as soon the slightly hotter March temperatures would melt them to the ground. So of course it was a yes without much hesitation. I  had some slight reservations mind you, so I piled on all of the clothes I had just in case (glad I did), from socks, to long-johns…hats, scarves, gloves…jackets, body warmers – the lot! I ended up looking like a cross between the Michelin man and a greasy German sausage; the only skin showing being my pink chubby face  and my constantly snivelling wet dog-like nose…

I went in with a friend I worked with, and my older sister: and we began to note how the outside looked rather bizarre, like a goblin barbarian camp – not sure where that idea came from, but it just looked otherworldly, you know? A long way from the winding uniform streets of my hometown,  the clanging of old clock towers, and the hustle and bustle of the bus schedules. Here there were strange ice huts, looking completely different to the post-card type of igloos my imagination had always held on to…instead they were draped in the skins of dead animals, and held together with strange sharpened wood…I could have sworn I had witnessed something similar in one of The Lord of the Rings movies – but anyway, I digress…

I was first into the igloo and threw myself straight into the center – meaning I was going to be a lovely cosy hamburger pattie with two agitated (and rather jealous) human bread-buns on either side…I had to ignore that and think of the bigger picture though: there was now a much lower chance of me freezing to death that night – try not to judge please, sometimes in the arctic wilderness you have to be savage like that:

Very Cozy GIF

The inside was just as bizarre as the outside and almost as cold; so I got straight into a sleeping bag still fully clothed like Joey on that episode of Friends – and then from my little cocoon surveyed the whole area…as my sister kicked me in the side and made every excuse under the sun as to why she should get to be in the middle as opposed to me. No sale. 

The place was adorned with even more animal skins, and there were a number of candles scattered sporadically around the outer ring – probably serving as both ways to warm as well as to add a little more quaint beauty to the otherwise sinister looking unlicensed fur store…I mean sure they were relatively comfy, but it made me feel slightly sadistic to be lying on Rudolph and all of his other now dead pals…

Anyway, I tried to forget about how some of Christmas had died just to keep my bum comfortable – and actually started to warm up a little…was still shivering though – so we passed around a bottle of the Finish spirit Minttu, hoping slurps of it’s 40% alcohol charm may work wonders and ease some the discomfort. It sort of did…we then fell asleep sometime after that whilst talking about the stars, the animal furs, and of course – the horrendous cold which was mostly all we could think about:

Cold Sucks GIF

I woke up the next morning warm and toasty though! Well all apart from that small opening I had for my face…which was now covered in frost on my eyelashes, and bogey icicles from my nose – but hey, at least the rest of me was okay – who needs a face anyway?  Not me!

But there was one monumental problem…I had to pee…desperately. And that would mean both going outside and leaving my lovely cosy cocoon, as well as potentially losing out on my commanding human hamburger position – this could not happen, no way…there was just too much on the line, the pee would have to wait. So I thought of other things…like…snow, ice, water…and…urgh…forget it…

As soon as I stepped out the -20°C temperatures hit me like a steam train and I knew that there was no getting back to my previous state – the other two were up now anyway, complaining about me leaving the door open (ooops) and the fact that they had to go to work in ten minutes…whereas I had managed to arrange a late start: “you sneaky bastard! How did you get that?! Totally not fair!” – this meant I could get my stuff together, brush off all of the animal hair (which was no small task!) and head back to the “Santa House”
as it was known, and get some solid sleep in a real bed…within, you know: four solid non-ice walls.

Sometimes it’s the little things in life. Like, not dying of hypothermia. Know what I mean? Still a fun experience and one I would recommend to anyone! But…just make sure you pack a bottle or two of that Minttu, it really does work wonders.

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Tokyo Tantrums

Japan ~ Tokyo – 2015

Tokyo has a big city sort of reputation to it, an air of grandeur accompanied with a sense of mystery somewhere within the non-stop luminous glare of the lights and the 24/7 rush…

So many films have painted a picture that has made an impression on me, and because of this it was high on the list of places I wanted to see…so when I realised I had a long weekend coming up I didn’t hesitate and booked it up straight away! Just a couple of hours to get from my home in Korea to the unknown world beyond – armed with nothing but a friend’s recommendations (which proved invaluable) and a feeling I was soon to be in my very own Lost in Translation remake…

Lost Trans GIF

Sidenote: when travelling you really do need to think long and hard about who you will actually travel with. Well maybe not too thorough – nothing too ridiculous, but at the very least you need to see a clean bill of health (both physical and mental), a criminal background check, and dental records. Also check their voice and typical conversation topics as otherwise you may be locked in with the most boring groaner on the planet – which is never going to be fun. With this particular adventure I was meaning to go alone originally, and then at the last minute a lady friend of mine tagged along…which brought some erm, shall we say – complications? 

Anyway I mean this sincerely when I say that Tokyo is a marvel. So much to see and do, a far cry from the more reserved and traditional parts of Japan I had visited earlier in the year.  But oddly I found it manages to retain a fantastic balance between the two often conflicting sides; you see one second I’d be staring up at a 60 foot tall science fiction juggernaut in the form of the powerful Gundam, the next I was wearing a traditional yukata and relaxing in an onsen…then I’d blink and be back to the mad rush of the Shibuya scramble crossing! I was completely in my element, roving around searching for the weird and wonderful, straining my neck to try and see as much as I possibly could…it was everything I had dreamed about for so long, and so much more…

Shibuya GIF

But yeah: the ghost at the feast…the wasp at the picnic…the drunk and slightly creepy uncle at the family reunion. Hmm, that last one was a bit weird, but you get my point – this is the part of the story where I say what didn’t go so smoothly, and most of it had to do with my travel companion: hence my warning earlier. You see I try my utmost to remain as friendly and light hearted as possible during trips, as from experience I understand that it can be a pretty stressful period if you let the small things seep in and truly affect you…if you do that suddenly the foul smell of a certain street, the incessant honking of horns on the road, or perhaps even your friend’s breathing can have you suddenly enraged beyond all comprehension: like smashing an axe into a locked door screaming “heeeeere’s Johnny!”  sort of level rage. So it’s best to take a deep breath instead, and just let most hiccups roll off your back…

However, my lady friend didn’t share this ethos…which meant that any small thing became the reason for a monumental day-ruining mood. Juxtapose that dark rain cloud along with my attempted cheery sense of humour and you had quite a pairing; something like if Voldemort was to meet one of the Teletubbies. Well actually that’s unfair (to he who must not be named): it would only be like that if Voldemort had the emotional range to both grimace and groan about public transport, and literally burst into tears about the levels of salt in Japanese food…as it stands I don’t think he is quite on her level yet.

I can understand the frustration though, Tokyo is huge and it’s far too easy to become dazed and confused by the sprawling subway system: which I honestly think was designed by someone throwing spaghetti at the wall, and saying: “that’ll do just fine.” We took many wrong turns during our days there, and the hours were long and well travelled…but I don’t see how it helps remaining silent or dragging your feet along as if you are a pathetically non-threatening zombie, or almost defunct robot:

Robot GIF

There is an answer to such problems though, and one which I will gladly share with all of you…and that is; beer. Yes, you heard it here first! The golden elixir is the perfect remedy to all sorts of ailments, including the frustration you may feel when a friend (or something more) is becoming more than you can bear. Thankfully there was a so-called “English pub” just off a side street near to the Shibuya crossing…where for three times the normal price I could enjoy beer, ales, and all that good stuff as if I was back amongst the smoke and laughing guffaws of my homeland…“Wait, it’s how much?! Jesus tap-dancing Christ!? It’s not worth that!”

But yeah, that’s how things go! Ups and downs, smiles and frowns…you have to take the good with the bad, and try to carve out memories that will last: and despite all the issues we were still able to do that…pretty much.

However I must now look for an AA meeting in South Korea: so yeah, wish me luck. 

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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.”

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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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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.

Baby Born GIF

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.

Omg Aragon GIF

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…

Snow White GIF

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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Adult Movies and Angry Stares

I think as an eternally awkward and embarrassed individual certain scenarios are made doubly worse and triply…trebly…erm – errrr…three times as dramatic as they should be. Phew, that was an ordeal in itself! 

But I have somewhat come to terms with this fact and now consider myself to be a somewhat fully functioning nervous wreck, as opposed to a few years ago where I was a full time rocking chair enthusiast…

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That doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly a cool cucumber, reminiscent of Jude Law in his prime (before his hair receded and he started looking like a half peeled potato). You see, I don’t particularly have a strut, and my smile to strangers is still weirdly forced – but I no longer poo my pants at the prospect of talking to someone working in a supermarket. Which is sort of like a victory…in my own strange way…well, it saves money on new clothes anyways – which is practically the same thing.

But on a recent flight I found myself resorting to old habits…as the nerve-racked Mr. Hyde-side of my being crept uneasily back into my life, stammering and sweating with every embarrassed step. You see I was on a long-haul flight just a couple of days ago, and was the reddened meat of a Chinese grandmother sandwich…we had nodded, and smiled to each other – and had even exchanged some muddled pleasantries before growing suitably bored and reaching for our respective sets of headphones. (The internationally known sign for “don’t talk to me please.”)

Dont Talk GIF

I began to look through the selection of films, hoping to catch sight of a new-ish one I’d missed the first time around. There were a few that stood out; a serious looking one with James Franco and Jonah Hill, a thriller with Jake Gyllenhaal, and…the newest Spongebob Squarepants movie – all promised to offer some entertainment, and an opportunity to put a dent in the horrendous thirteen hour flight time. I then decided that I would keep these three in reserve, and would only start to watch them when life suddenly didn’t feel like living…until then I would watch some funnily bad films, whilst I still have the energy to put up with them. Strange logic, but made sense at the time. 

So on went a low budget movie picture about a serial killer…can’t recall the name but after ten minutes some poor lady was being strung up in ropes as she screamed and begged for mercy – it was brutal. Unfortunately this opinion hadn’t escaped the grandma buns on either side…who were now staring at me as if I was the crazy killer myself…I mean, the scene had me uncomfortable, but the looks had made it unbearable: as if they were saying “ahhh, so this is the sick shit you’re into then, huh? I wish I had never smiled and said hello now…I retract them both from our shared history books.” 

Kanye Judging GIF

Anyway, the humiliation and embarrassment took over and so off it went – it was a terrible movie in the first place so nothing lost, right? Instead I searched for something else to fill the silence and put on a rather unsuspecting drama of some sort…which opened with a gratuitous sex scene – naturally. But surprise-surprise they weren’t fond of that either, and both began to swivel their heads, and tut louder than I had ever heard anyone tut. “Hmmm-mmm, oh” they began to murmur…but any fool could have worked out what they were really trying to say…

“So this is the sick shit you’re into, is it? That’s the check list for any movie you watch; violence, gore, and overly dramatic and cringeworthy sex scenes? Can’t you just watch fucking Toy Story like a normal human?! You make me sick – and after all we’ve been through as well…urgh.”

So I zapped off that as well; I had got the message loud and clear. There was something nice about staring at the blank black screen after the whole palava – there was to be no judgement, which felt good. I then pulled out the book I’m currently reading (W.H. Davies’: ‘The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp) and flicked through its pages until the grandma bread on either side of me slipped away into unconsciousness…about three minutes later thankfully. 

Grandma GIF

I was then free to watch whatever I wanted. So on went the classic: ‘Killer Penis Hostage Bastard’. It was a fun watch, I’d recommend it to anyone! Apart from my new grandmother friends of course. But shhhhh, they don’t need to know about that!

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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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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):

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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