Saturday, August 17, 2013


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.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


The last two days I had the bright idea of getting up early, and heading to the pool and gym respectively, with the hope that it would give me a shot of productivity.  The other benefit of doing this, aside from the sense of well-being that comes with physical exercise, is being able to tell other people about it.  Unfortunately I don't own a smartphone, so facebook and its inhabitants couldn't see that I checked-in to the Mardyke at 6.45 on Tuesday morning.  Fortunately the pool didn't open until seven, so this gave me fifteen minutes to text a huge portion of my contacts to let them know what I was up to.  One would never be so vulgar as to blatantly say: "Hey, I'm just heading in for an early morning swim, it's the kind of thing I do, you know, seeing as I'm so much better than you."  A certain amount of tact has to be observed, so the approach was to send a bland generic text along the lines of: "Hey, what are you up to?  Any craic?"  The replies would be along the lines of: "It's not even 7 am, why the fuck are you texting me?  Is everything alright?"  Then I would casually deploy my answer: "Yeah, everything's grand, just going for a swim, might catch up with you later, yeah?"  If they replied while I was inside breast stroking and back crawling it would be: "Sorry for not replying sooner, I was just having a swim, everything's grand here, might catch up with you later, yeah?"  This lets them know that I was up bright and early exercising, and being better than them is not thrown in their face, but skilfully and smugly implied.

Unfortunately, this did not work out according to plan.  Most people did not reply, because usually when they see a neutral and benign text from me it really means that I'm after something, and that this is just the first move in some game I'm playing.  Of the few replies I received, most were along the lines "Just on my way to work, have you ever thought of getting a job?", or "Just coming home from work, working nights is a bitch, but this is how it goes", or "Just finished the morning feed, teething + breastfeeding + dreaming of sleep = ...."  As it turns out, none of these people were impressed that I had gotten up with the aid of an alarm clock at a time that most grown ups are awake and getting on with their grown up lives.  I also felt that they were giving off the vibe that finding and holding down stable employment, and/or starting a family somehow made them better than me, a 31 year old adolescent and out of work DJ.  Way to go and flaunt your life achievements in the face of the less fortunate.  This did not phase me (ok, it really really irked me, but let's pretend it didn't), as if I cannot get the admiration of the masses for kick-starting my day with porridge, scrambled egg, and good overhand technique, they would surely applaud the immense productivity which followed.

In terms of creativity, Tuesday was a black hole of nothingness and despair.  The hole was incredibly dark and black, as if its owner had been drinking shitloads of stout the night before.  I felt like a jellyfish floating around this void, with nothing to sting and no sting in my tentacles, a cytoplasmic blob of blancmange in a pointless sea of infinity.   There was an hour or so of banging away at the keyboard, but all that poured out were increasingly morose variations on the theme: "Why am I such a useless sack of shit?"  This eventually morphed into: "Why I am such a useless sack of shit."  Reading over it today, it was eloquently phrased and incredibly well-written (as one would expect), but the tone was oh so emo, and the content was far from entertaining, so it will have to be scrapped.  Yesterday I got up early, hit the gym, and again had a day that was a lot less than creative.  The kitchen was cleaned (it's not clean, just cleaner), and I replaced the battery in the smoke alarm.  Visitors always complained about its regular beep to hint that it required a new battery (which had been going on for at least two years), but to me it was like having a slightly annoying flatmate who was a source of company and companionship nonetheless.  The downside was that I didn't have a smoke alarm in the kitchen, which meant I had no way of knowing when the toast was burnt, and all the butter in the world is no match for overly burnt toast (readers of my Toast blog will be familiar with the many lengthy experiments I conducted in this field).  Today I reluctantly decided to write about the lack of inspiration and productivity of the last two days, which means that this topic can never be covered again, and there will be many more uncreative, unproductive, and uninspiring days ahead.