Myself and a friend were discussing how school days are not the best days of one's life, and how that phrase is probably responsible for the rise in teenage suicides in the last few years. We also talked about how great it is to be free from homework and why no longer being a teenage male is a many splendored thing. Yes, it is good to be a grown-up and getting on with one's life.
Except it isn't. Being a grown-up is so fucking shitty at times I often wonder why I bother. At least with teenage angst and melancholy there was the hope that someday, maybe when school is done with and one moves away to a different town to go to college and reinvent oneself, things will be different. Unfortunately I can no longer kid myself that what's going here is just a phase I'll eventually grow out of, and that maybe when I hit my forties things will be different (and maybe they will: socks and sandals, being a man who wears jumpers, and the possibility of rocking a comb-over all hold a certain amount of appeal).
The worst part of being a grown-up is having grown-up conversations. A few years back I bumped into a guy that I partied hard with back in the day. Our conversation involved the obligatory "And what do you do?" that no grown-up conversation can do without, and eventually moved into "Where are you living?" He was pleased to inform me that he was a renting a nice cottage just outside Claregalway, whose rent was cheaper than a boxy flat in the city centre, and, although the time and money associated with commuting every day were a bit of a pinch, having a back garden with a clothes line really makes it so much more worthwhile, because, let's face it, who wants to walk around all day in clothes that smell like a tumble dryer? Naturally I had to respond in kind by letting him know that although I was renting a room in a shared house in Salthill, it was within walking distance of both the sea and the city centre, had shops and other amenities close by, and was on the bus route. Walking away from that encounter made me realise that things had changed for me. This was a few years ago, when I was in my mid to late twenties, and the worry was that I was getting older and would no longer be cool. Thankfully, now that I'm in my early thirties, I can say with an assured confidence that I was never cool. Ever. For a large chunk of my teens and twenties I worked under the delusion that being uncool actually made me cool. My grasp of the English language has improved considerably since then, and now I realise that such a statement makes as much sense as "being dead actually makes one alive".
One of the lowpoints of being a teenager is the constant need for peer validation. I'm looking forward to when I'll actually be free of this. Thankfully the need to laugh loudly at poorly told, unfunny (and often completely illogical) dirty jokes in order to be one of the lads has now gone (-How many blowjobs does it take to change a lightbulb? Eight! -HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!), but in its place other little clumps of neediness have sprouted up. About two years ago I went legit and registered myself as a sole-trader (I no longer make the soul-trader pun as too many people saw this as a reference to nefarious dealings with the devil rather than an enthusiasm for music of an African American disposition, although there are others who believe that both of these things are one and the same). Of course everyone who bumped into me around that time had to be told this, and I even kept my certificate of tax registration in my backpack for around three months, just in case there was any doubt that I was indeed a grown-up legitimate businessman of a certain earning capacity. After roughly one year in business it was very necessary to tell everyone that I had to see my accountant to file a tax return, as that's what us legitimate businessmen of certain earning capacities have to do. Not that I'm telling you to prove that I am indeed a human grown-up and need your validation, you asked what was going on with me and I just told you (approve of me, approve of me, approve of me).
It's coming up to that time of year again, and so far I've only casually mentioned to this to three people. This time it's a wee bit different. There is still that need to try to prove that I am in fact a human grown-up, but it is coupled with "Being a grown-up with homework to do is a load of bollocks". As I sifted through reams of receipts and bank statements I came up with the idea of asking my mother to write me a sick note to hand in to inland revenue. "Dear Department of Finance, please excuse Herringbone for not having his tax affairs in order as he had a bit of a bug. Please find enclosed copies of the receipts for the flattened 7-up which was used to alleviate his symptoms." Unfortunately my mother refused to go along with such a ploy, but luckily my older brother still has no qualms about forging her signature. My accountant was having none of this, as apparently this kind of shit does not work in the adult world (further evidence that school does not prepare you for real life). Instead, she told me to buy the latest copy of the DSM and find a plausible enough condition that I could have acquired, then find a doctor who would be willing to write me a letter confirming such (keeping all receipts as medical expenses can be written off). I chewed on this notion for a wee while, but then decided against it. Not on the ethical grounds of wanting to be an honest, upright, tax paying citizen. It was really that it sounded like way too much work on my part. Also having to spend that much time trawling through the DSM would certainly wreak havoc with my hypochondria.