Hello there. This is my first post since November 2013. It is now 2015.
That means I didn’t write anything last year.
I don’t really know what happened in 2014. I definitely had a headache one of the nights. Possibly two.
I was working a fair bit.
I also spent a lot of time listening to ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and admiring her impossibly high cheek bones.
I guess when you consider all those things, it’s no wonder I didn’t get around to posting anything new here.
Anyway, I’ve decided to share a story that until now I’ve been too embarrassed to tell anyone about.
Years ago I wrote this Bus Girl post. Read it if you want. Don’t read it if you don’t want. You’re your own person, pal.
About 18 months ago I encountered a serious, real life case of Bus Girl.
A girl, she was. A female girl.
I started seeing her on the bus to work each morning. I admired her from afar. Not that far, actually. Like, a couple of seats away.
She had sallow skin. Brown eyes, brown hair. I know what you’re picturing. It’s this, right?
You’d be wrong. Far prettier than that.
She was always well wrapped up. She always, always, wore a hat. Sometimes I worried she might have some sort of bald patch under there. No matter, I thought. Just wear the hat all the time if you want. I mean, look at that singer, Gabrielle. She covered up her eye the whole time. Probably helped her career in the end. Yeah, go on love, cover up that bald patch.
Anyway, soon enough we started making eye contact. Looking at each other with our eyes.
This soon escalated.
I’d get on the bus, have a scan for her. We’d lock eyes and smile.
SMILING AT EACH OTHER!
WITH OUR MOUTHS!
WHILE LOOKING AT EACH OTHER WITH OUR EYES!
Thank God my dear mother couldn’t see me now, I thought.
Not that my mother’s dead or anything. She was just at work, probably. The crucial point is that she certainly wasn’t on that bus.
It got to the stage when I’d feel a little bit excited every morning thinking about this real life Bus Girl.
Where’s she gonna be sitting? She’ll definitely be sitting a few seats back so we can do our daily eye-contact-and-smile as I make my way to a seat. Maybe if I sit close enough to her I’ll find out what she smells like. Probably smells nice. Do I smell nice? I do smell nice.
I definitely smell nice. She’d better fucking smell me if she gets the chance. SMELL ME!
Sometimes she’d have to stand up to let the person beside her, get off the bus. She’d glance in my direction as she did this. Another eye-contact-and-smile.
Multiple eye-contact-and-smiles in the space of half an hour! I was a stud!
This was going on for about two months. Sometimes her smile was cute. Sometimes it was more lustful looking. As if she was thinking “ooh, you smell nice.”
Eventually, I decided something had to be done.
This has gone on long enough.
Some day I’ll get on the bus and she won’t be there, I’ll never see her again, and I’ll be disgusted with myself for not acting on all this eye-contact-and-smile action. It had been happening so undeniably, for so long, that there was no question of me imagining it, or mistaking mere friendliness for something more.
The internal debate rages.
Do something, Mark.
Do what, though? Give her some fucking flowers? It’s 8am and a public bus. Can’t exactly buy her a drink.
What about your friend who was given a note from a guy on the bus before? She loved it. That’ll work. It’s a note. Girls love notes. Remember school? They were always sending notes! She’ll know you’re literate too, that’s a bonus. She’ll probably think you’re all romantic, like Shakespeare, or one of the Backstreet Boys, or something.
Ah, fuck’s sake. Maybe I should just carry on with my life as normal and then everything will be okay.
No! What about that quote annoying people sometimes put on Facebook? Some shit about it being better to regret the things you did, rather than the things you didn’t do.
Yeah, I bet Fred West comforted himself with that little maxim when he got caught, didn’t he?
Don’t bring Fred West into this. What about Rosa Parks? She was brave on the bus, and look what that did. She made a difference, Mark. You can too.
I do love Rosa, in fairness.
Go on son, do it. Do it for Rosa. Do it for AJ from the Backstreet Boys. Do it for your people. Do it for your willy.
I’m doing it.
I take out a pen and scrap of paper.
It’s good that I only have a shitty scrap of paper. This way it looks off the cuff. If it was some pre-written prose, written on some nice paper, I’d look like an over-prepared little nerd.
I don’t remember what I wrote. It was quite simple. Something about how I like seeing her (and her hat) every day. Followed by my name and phone number. That sounds really lame and shit, but come on, what the fuck can you write? I’m just a man. A man on a bus writing a note. Give me a break.
As I’m getting off, I tap her on her adorable little shoulder, and hand her the note.
I do my best to stride confidently off the bus.
This is definitely a good idea.
I’ve definitely done the right thing.
She’s definitely going to text me.
I glance at her as I exit the bus. She’s reading the note with a big smile on her face. An unmistakable smile.
She’s definitely going to text me.
I was supremely confident I’d hear from her soon. Usually I wouldn’t feel so certain of such matters.
But this flaccid flirting had gone on for months. There’s definitely something there. She had the biggest smile on her face reading the note.
She’s texting alright. Probably before I’ve sat down at my desk.
Shit. What if we date, it goes sour, and then I see her every day on the bus still? Oh Christ. I’ve made a huge mistake.
Then again, what if it doesn’t go sour? That’s probably what’ll happen. You gave her a note for fuck’s sake. That’s the opposite of sour. That sweet. Sweet. A sweet gesture from a sweet guy.
I’m checking my phone at a rate of knots.
Whenever I get a text or alert I’m absolutely disgusted when it isn’t her. Enough to feel angry at the person who has texted me.
WHY ARE YOU TEXTING ME? GO AWAY!
DON’T YOU KNOW I’M WAITING FOR A TEXT FROM A BUS GIRL? A REAL LIFE BUS GIRL?
WE’VE BEEN MAKING EYE CONTACT! WE’VE BASICALLY BEEN LIVING IN SIN!
It gets to lunch time. No text.
She’s playing it cool.
She’s definitely going to text.
You wouldn’t want her texting too quickly. That’d be so annoying. She’d be way too keen.
It gets to 5pm. No text.
She’s just been really busy at work! Must be a high pressure job. Good thing I gave her the note so. She’s probably thinking about it all day. That’s probably what she’ll say when she texts.
7pm. No text.
Maybe she has a boyfriend or something.
Still, just text and tell me as much. That’s totally fine.
8pm. No text.
9pm. No text.
9.30pm. No text.
9.45pm. No text.
10pm – The texting Watershed. You can’t start a conversation by text after 10pm.
Little. Baldy. Bitch.
I get on the bus the next day. She’s there. I see her from the corner of my eye. I couldn’t even look at her. I was too embarrassed.
Joke’s on you, love. Wearing your hat all the time? Even on the bus? Don’t you know you won’t feel the benefit when you go outside again? YOU WON’T FEEL THE BENEFIT!
The next week, I saw her on the bus, and made accidental eye contact.
But it wasn’t the same smile. Before, she gave me a sexy, almost suggestive, smile.
This was a different smile.
Ever been at a funeral, and you see a relative of the deceased, from afar? You do your best to give them a supportive smile. It’s not really a smile. It’s more just pressing your lips together and trying to look humble.
She did that.
So much worse.
Thankfully I only saw her for a few weeks more, and then never saw her again. I can only hope that someday she doesn’t receive a text she’s banking on. Like one telling her to move out of the way of an advancing lorry. YEAH! HAVE THAT!
Fuck Rosa Parks, too.
No, I don’t mean that. I’m sorry Rosa. Forgive me. Here, have my seat.
Anyway, the lesson here is to just to never take any risks, and avoid human contact at all costs.
And take off your fucking hat indoors.
Not too bad myself.
Any readers of previous blog posts may have gotten the impression that I am a dull man. Unadventurous. Sometimes cynical.
That would be a completely accurate impression to have.
So then, it may come as a surprise to hear that I recently went on a little holiday to New York. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps.
Although Wikipedia tells me that ‘the city that never sleeps’ can refer to New York City, Mumbai, Barcelona, Las Vegas, Lagos, Mecca, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, São Paulo, Tel Aviv or Zurich, which renders the phrase a bit useless. Make your mind up, lads.
Anyway, on my trip to what is sometimes called the best city in the world, I noticed a few things.
1. Unmistakable Irishness
New York is, as one might expect, full of New Yorkers.
However, you also get a few Irish lads around the place.
I didn’t speak to any of them, but you can spot them a mile off.
See, there’s a few features Irish people have that make them instantly recognisable.
Of course, you have the freckles and ginger hair, but there are also some more subtle things that do the same job.
For example, no Irishman looks right in a pair of shorts (GAA shorts aside). You’ll be on a packed subway, and on comes some lad in his shorts, usually something like the below:
It matters not that the shorts are no longer stylish. They were most likely purchased seven or eight years ago, but only get wheeled out for two weeks in the summer, so you can go and shite if you think he’s buying a new pair.
But it’s not just the shorts that give it away.
The legs of an Irishman are thick with hair and impressively pale. But there’s more.
The final piece of the puzzle of the Irish leg, is the mysterious bruise.
Locate any Irish leg in the vicinity. There will be a bruise. Not a bad one, just one of those brown ones. The owner does not know where it came from. Probably happened when out acting the bollocks or having the craic somewhere. But it’s there.
When it fades, it is replaced very soon with another bruise elsewhere on the legs.
There’s also another way of identifying the Irish abroad.
We’ve a phrase here that I’m not sure is used in other English-speaking countries.
“The head on him.”
It’s usually used to point out someone with a head or facial expression we wish to mock.
“Would you look at the head on him.”
“The absolute head on her.”
I can see why we’ve come to have this phrase here. The Irish head stands out when you’re abroad. Whether it’s the look of worried befuddlement, or the face somehow shining with sweat, you can spot it straight away.
The best example of an unmistakably Irish head, is Robbie Keane.
Let me say now how much I love Robbie Keane. He is a treasure. I love him so much. But I won’t get distracted lavishing praise on him. Instead I will focus on the head on him.
Look at it.
When this photo was taken, Robbie was contemplating the utter futility of life, and how no matter what we may achieve, how differently we all live our lives, ultimately we shall all wither and meet the same end.
In this photo, Robbie had just scored a crucial goal for his country against France, in a World Cup qualifying playoff, and decided to go for a cool, “Yeah, what of it?” kind of celebration. A smooth operator, our Robbie.
Have you ever seen a young man look so like a disgruntled granny?
Finally, as one of the greatest international goalscorers of all time, Robbie is well used to being in front of the camera. In this one, he is modelling a new kit for his team, LA Galaxy. Give us your sexiest, suavest face Robbie. Yeah, look a little angry. Smoldering.
Looks like he’s just realised he’s shat himself.
So there you have it. The quintessential Irish head.
2. There’s no bathroom like your own bathroom.
People often comment on how no matter where you go, you always miss your own bed. I couldn’t argue with this.
Often neglected, however, is your own bathroom.
Bathrooms abroad are a shambles.
You go there, there’s often no thing to put your toothbrush in.
There’s one of those disgraceful toilets where the seat doesn’t stay up. I’ve noticed this a fair bit. I know it’s sinking pretty low to be complaining about toilets, but I mean, it’s such a basic function, and surely not a difficult thing to get right.
How can we have created the internet but still have so many ill-functioning toilet seats?
Then you have the shower.
You fiddle around trying to figure out how it works, then trying to get the temperature right, and when you finally think you’ve got it right and step in, the heat of the water suddenly surges up and scalds you. You never can predict the speed with which the water temperature responds to your fiddling. And for some reason I’m very impatient with this. I don’t want to hang around waiting to see if the current temperature truly is the final temperature. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
And worst of all, is that most showers abroad have a fixed height that I can’t adjust.
So I’m crouching down towards a stream of water barely above my fucking thigh. Was this place built for hobbits or what?
Bollocks to that.
3. Tourist attractions are generally shit
In New York I did a number of things because I felt like I had to.
Prime example here is the Empire State Building. I knew that when I came back, most people would ask whether or not I went up the Empire State. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind about New York.
Grand, says I. I’ll go up there.
You buy your tickets.
Then you queue for ages.
Sweet Christ, the amount of queuing you can end up doing on holidays. Sickening.
Anyway, after all that, you get to the top of the building and look out over New York. There’s about three to five seconds of pleasure, as you look out at the city from a great height. There’s an unquestionable wow factor about that. But it’s very short-lived. Like I said, five seconds max.
Then you’re just on top a building with nothing really to do.
But you’ve queued for ages, and paid for the privilege, so you pretend to be into it all, and to try spend more time up there.
You walk around the place.
“Look, there’s a really high up view of the city, but from a slightly different position than the one from a few seconds ago!”
Then you take the photos.
The most pointless photos in the history of photography.
You take some shots of the city, you try different angles.
One facing right down towards the ground, looking at how small the cars and people are.
One including some famous buildings.
You twist and assume awkward positions in an attempt to get the best shot.
Yep, photos upon photos.
Never in your life will you actually look at those photos. If you put them up online, people will skip by them.
They are useless.
If I ever want to see photos of that sort of thing, I’ll look online and get proper ones, rather than my amateur attempts featuring my big stupid thumb poking its way into the corner.
Obviously photos featuring you, or the people you’re there with, are a different story. But I know that going through my camera when I got home was a fairly dull experience at times, going through the utterly forgettable photographs of the skyline, or some building I walked by and photographed simply because it was huge.
If I offered you the choice between looking at my photos of the New York skyline, taken from the Empire State building, or close-up shots of my mysteriously bruised legs, what would you pick?
You’d pick the legs.
The legs would be far more interesting.
And I assure you they’re dull enough legs.
That’s actually a bit unfair on my fairly well composed legs, but I digress.
If you picked the New York ones, the most interesting one would be the photo that’s actually a four second video I accidentally took instead of a photo.
I’ll let you go.
Always nice to get a few things off your chest, eh?
Cathartic, they say.
That’s what I’m going for with this here blog post.
It remains to be seen if I shall entitle all future blog posts after Usher songs, but if it doesn’t work out that way, it sure as shit won’t be for lack of trying.
Below are five embarrassing, and somewhat personal, confessions for you. And I won’t listen to anyone who tells me that the internet was invented for the sharing of embarrassing, personal confessions.
1. Mental Disability
There’s a little part of my brain that fears I may have some sort of severe mental disability.
The only reason for this fear is that I have no way to guarantee otherwise. There’s still reasonable doubt.
I’ve seen 12 Angry Men, and if you have too, you’ll understand how important even a shred of reasonable doubt is.
For all I know, I was born with some brain defect.
My parents decided when I was very young that they wouldn’t tell me about it, and instead let me go on living my life in blissful ignorance. And why would they tell me? It’s not going to do any good, is it?
You made the right call, parents.
Women I’ve been with in the past only got involved with me out of sympathy and pity.
My moderate academic success only came because all my exams and projects and everything were graded by someone who had my mental affliction in mind.
“Ah God, it’s that Walsho fella. I’ll give him a decent grade, the poor sod.”
You’re only reading this blog because someone told you that there’s some guy on the internet who’s not the full shilling, and he likes to try to be funny on his blog. It’s called “Walsho”. Who in their right mind would name it that? Someone who’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic, that’s who.
And I only have my job because they needed to fill some sort of equality quota.
To make matters worse, I’m also fairly certain that my dull little mentally handicapped life is streamed worldwide 24/7 to a secret audience.
I’m onto you, world.
2. Wedding Woes
I’ve been to one wedding in my entire life, and that was about ten years ago.
It doesn’t look like I’m getting married anytime soon, and I can say the same for most, if not all, of my close friends (Well, I call them ‘friends’, but we all know they’re actors in my own little Truman Show).
And despite all of the above, at least once a week I get into a panic about having to deliver a Best Man speech.
Sometimes I try to think about funny opening lines and get annoyed at myself for being too cheesy.
I try to think about anecdotes that’ll get a laugh but won’t be too bad for my mate’s bride to hear.
Fucking hell, it’s a nightmare.
Will I hold the speech in my hand or try to memorise it?
What if I get too drunk and RUIN THE WHOLE WEDDING?
Oh god, I’ll have to buy them some big gift to make up for it.
Jesus, as if the wedding wasn’t expensive enough to go to, in that posh fucking hotel. Why the fuck did I have to spend so much on a new tie just for the wedding?
Eventually I regain my grip on reality and simply pray that nobody will ever like me enough to want me to be their Best Man.
I also worry about my own wedding. The part I worry about is having to do the first dance with my new wife.
I’m not sure if that’s still done these days, but I’m dreading it.
There’s two reasons I end up dancing in nightclubs. The first is that I’m drunk. The second is that I tell myself that everyone is drunk and dancing, so nobody is going to be looking at me trying to emulate Ricky Martin.
But at the wedding, when you’re the groom, you have to go dance with your new wife, JUST THE TWO OF YOU, WITH EVERYONE WATCHING.
What an awful tradition.
Why can’t we just be tarred and feathered instead?
Reckon the whole ‘Big Fish, Small Fish, Cardboard Box’ routine could still work?
3. Overheating Laptop
A couple of years ago, I had a laptop that was prone to overheating.
I spent a lot of time on this overheating laptop.
One day I was using this overheating laptop, on my lap.
So to clarify, the laptop, which was prone to overheating, was on top of my lap.
As the old saying goes, if you play with overheating laptops, you’re gonna get burned.
The next day I felt a strange discomfort in the area that I can only describe as genital.
Nothing serious by any stretch, but enough to make me want to Google around to see if anyone else had been foolish enough to let it happen to them.
I opened up a new tab in my internet browser, and searched possibly my most embarrassing ever search. I remember exactly how I typed it, because immediately afterwards I looked at what I had just typed and let out a shameful sigh at how my life had brought me to this point.
“Laptop burn penis”.
If you’re wondering, which you obviously are, the main result was a story about a Swedish guy who had done similar to myself, but to a far worse extent, needing medical attention. The story was one of those “Look at this idiot!” kind of ones, so it did little to comfort me.
The following day everything was grand again, and I’ve since developed a new appreciation for desks.
But there you have it. A classic case of the old Laptop Burn Penis.
Oh yes, I’ve seen this one before, you’ve got yourself a mild dose of Laptopburnpenis.
Don’t worry though, it’s treatable. Simply apply this tube of Notbeingafuckingmoron, and you’ll be right as rain.
Now, on your way, I’ve got a patient coming in who tells me he’s got a case of Accidentallysatontesticles.
4. YouTube Shame
What a wonderful resource YouTube is.
Some people use it to watch and share funny videos.
Some use it to listen to music.
Some use it to learn about new things.
The more time goes on, the more I think my primary use of YouTube is watching videos of people squeezing enormous cysts that have somehow grown on their bodies, and watching all the contents of these truly disgusting things pour out.
Stumbling across one video leads to far too many others.
And they all have such irresistible titles, such as “WORLD’S BIGGEST CYST REMOVAL” or “GIANT ZIT POPPED!” and I have no choice but to watch and feel simultaneously disgusted and excited.
Sometimes I actually feel jealous of the people in these videos, and hope that someday I’ll wake up with a giant cyst that I can attack and put on YouTube. Preferably somewhere not all that important, or publicly visible. My leg, perhaps.
A man is entitled to his dream.
Martin Luther King had his, and I have mine.
And who’s to say which is more valid?
5. Secret Code
I like to keep a ‘To Do’ list these days. It’s on an app on my phone. I actually have a few different ones – one for work, a personal one, movies to watch, etc.
On my personal one, I sometimes have an entry of “ *lol* “.
This is actually a secret code, just in case anyone were to sneak a peek at my To Do list. A passing friend, perhaps, or someone lurking behind me on public transport. I know well that if I saw someone checking their To Do list, I’d be trying to get a look at what their life is like.
The burden of secrecy has gotten too much for me, and I feel that I’m ready to reveal the meaning behind this uncrackable encryption.
The real meaning of *lol* is…
Trim pubic hair.
THERE, I SAID IT.
Now get out of here, you vultures, constantly asking me about my secret To Do list codes.
You’ve got your story.
Good old bed.
Climbing into your own bed after a long aul’ day.
Nothing better, is there?
I go to bed on a Sunday, filled with the dread of Monday, but comforted by the fact that I’m being a good boy and going to bed early, so, all going to plan, will be fresh as a daisy in the morning.
How times have changed. I remember as a child wanting to stay up as late as possible on a Sunday night, trying to ignore that Monday was nearly here and it was time to go back to school. I’d try stay up, in denial, watching telly with the parents, but the veritable death knell was the Heartbeat theme song. A classic Sunday evening TV show. As soon as I heard that tune, I knew the end was nigh.
Now I’m older, it’s the end of the late Spanish football match that signals the end of the weekend.
I shave on Sunday evenings before bed. Shaving at night means not having to shave in the morning. A little lesson for any gentlemen out there looking for a solution to their early morning shaving woes.
Brush the teeth and off to bed.
Now to simply drift off into a lovely sleep.
A lovely, relaxing sleep.
Seems so simple.
[Enter Mark’s Brain]
Brain: Hey Mark!
Mark: Ah Brain, not tonight. Please not tonight. I’ve gone to bed early and really want to sleep right now. Sit this one out. Please.
Brain: Hey, do you remember that song ‘Gasolina’ by Daddy Yankee? That was a funny one wasn’t it? One of those songs where nobody knows the words, but you all still sing along anyway, y’know? Then it’s so catchy and you can’t get it out of your head, despite not knowing any of the lyrics. Funny isn’t it?
Mark: You are such a fucking arsehole, Brain. Just let me sleep.
Brain: AYALLY HOOT DELA GASOLINA! TALIBAN GASOLIIINA!
Mark: Oh for fuck’s sake.
Brain: DELACANTELA GASOLINA! TALIBAN GASOLIIINA!
Mark: They’re definitely not saying ‘Taliban’ anyway.
Brain: Well what are they saying then?
Mark: I don’t know, I don’t speak Spanish! I don’t even want to know. I don’t care.
Brain: Google it.
Mark: I’m not Googling the lyrics to Daddy Yankee when I’m trying to sleep. I refuse.
Brain: You’ll be sorry when you’re asked about it in a quiz sometime.
Mark: It’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Brain: Like that time in Junior Cert Geography where you took the risk of not studying Oxbow Lakes the night before the Christmas test?
Mark: That was so long ago and didn’t even count for anything.
Brain: What came up on the exam again?
Mark: Oxbow fucking lakes.
Brain: Yep, you big fucking idiot. You even looked right at the Oxbow notes the night before and decided not to bother reading them. Remember how angry you were when you saw the question?
Mark: Got a few marks for the diagram, in fairness.
Brain: Oh yeah, Jesus, I’m surprised you didn’t win a Nobel prize for that one, Van Gogh.
Mark: Are you done yet? Can I sleep now? It’s getting to the stage where if I don’t fall asleep soon it’ll no longer be an early night. It’ll be a standard sleep.
Brain: Isn’t it annoying that burglars have ruined balaclavas for the rest of us? You can cover the rest of your body up with warm clothes, but the face is freezing. I bet there was a time when everyone wore balaclavas without any criminal motivation.
Mark: That is annoying, in fairness.
Brain: Yeah. They’re probably itchy though.
Brain: Like an Usher song in here tonight, eh?
Brain: Hey, remember the time you were talking to that girl in the lift in work and then as you were getting out you got confused between saying “See you in a bit” and “See you later” and ended up telling her you’d “See her in a late”? Oh man, that was stupid. You’d better hope you never have to deal with her in work again. She’ll definitely remember what a big stupid bumbling idiot you are. SEE YOU IN A LATE.
Mark: I bet she didn’t even notice.
Brain: She definitely noticed.
Mark: That probably only happened because I was tired from you keeping me up all night, which you clearly fucking love doing.
Brain: On a more emotional and completely unrelated note, remember that girl you loved before? Then you broke up? That’s a shit one, isn’t it?
Mark: Oh fucking hell.
[Enter Mark’s heart]
Heart: Did someone mention the girl? Did they? What about her? Are you going to get her back? Get her back Mark, you shit.
Mark: This is not the time, Heart. Can’t we do this when I’m drunk and on the way home from somewhere on my own? You love talking about her then. Or on the bus somewhere and listening to a song that reminds us of her? Or even when we hear about someone else with the same name as her? Just not when I’m trying to sleep. Not tonight.
Heart: Why don’t you turn up at her doorstep in a nice suit and a big bouquet of flowers. AND A BIG DIAMOND RING.
Mark: That’d probably make her never speak to me ever again.
Heart: Have you not seen films? They love that shit, women. And you love her.
Mark: I don’t love her.
Heart: I can confirm that you do.
Mark: Fucking hell. Could we not have moved on at this stage?
Heart: Ah, remember her cute laugh?
Mark: I remember.
Heart: And how you could always rely on her honest opinion on your new clothes purchases?
Mark: Yes, I fucking remember.
[Enter Mark’s Penis]
Penis: HEY MARK, REMEMBER HER ARSE? THAT WAS ONE SWEET BOO-TAY! HOT DIGGITY DAWG.
Mark: Penis, you’re the last thing I need right now. I’ve already had Brain and Heart yapping away at me.
Penis: YEEEAAAH, SHE SURE HAD SOME SWEET JUNK IN THAT TRUNK.
Mark: I’m not arguing.
Penis: WANNA PLAY WITH ME NOW?
Mark: Not now buddy, I’m trying to sleep.
Heart: Aw, remember how cute she was when she was asleep?
Mark: Ah, you’re back again.
Brain: TALIBAN GASOLIIIINA!
Mark: Oh fucking hell.
Penis: TITS! I LOVE TITS! CAN YOU PLAY WITH ME NOW?
Heart: Do you think I’ll ever feel normal again, Mark?
Brain: THE VENGABUS IS COMIN’! AND EVERYBODY’S JUMPIN’! NEW YORK TO SAN FRANCISCO… a something something… DISCO!
Mark: Please, just let me sleep, all of you. I’m already past the stage of getting a decent night’s sleep.
Penis: I’M TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP! BLOWJOBS! PLAY WITH ME NOW!
Heart: Wouldn’t mind a bit of spooning right now, I have to say.
Brain: Do you think David Beckham should have played in Europe for another couple of seasons before heading out to America?
Mark: Oh fucking hell. Alright Penis, you’ve got five minutes, and that’s all you’re getting.
I like to think that over the past few years I’ve become more competent in general life.
I’ve learned many phrases to throw into weather small talk conversations.
I reckon my etiquette has improved.
I’ve got a really good pocket system that hasn’t changed for years now. Phone and iPod in left-front trouser pocket, wallet and chewing gum in right-front. Arse pockets are left fallow for miscellaneous temporary jobs, such as a ticket for something, or if someone asks you to hold something for them for a minute.
Just generally more competent.
Less fearful of minor social difficulties.
Spending far fewer nights up late reading Wikipedia pages of the cast of Saved By The Bell and various other childhood TV shows. Although I can tell you that Screech (Dustin Diamond) is not on speaking terms with ANY of the SBTB cast, except for Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) because Haskins is the only one that Diamond didn’t dish the dirt on in his autobiography “Behind The Bell”. I haven’t read the book but I heard it’s full of spelling and grammar errors, which is funny. It’s shame that the man who spoke the immortal line “Two Beldings in one building, one of whom is balding” has had to go so far downhill in my eyes.
Anyway, I digress.
As much as I like to think I’ve become better at life, there’s still many situations that strike fear in me, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
1. Let’s just get a coffee.
As soon as I hear these words, I can’t help but panic. And not because of any potentially romantic implications. It’s because I’m really shit at being in coffee places.
The trouble with coffee places for me is that they’re all different. They all have different systems. I seem to have missed the life lesson where everyone learned the etiquette for every single coffee place in the whole fucking world.
In some places you go in and order and pay and wait at the counter.
In others you sit down and wait until you’re served and pay afterwards.
In others you go in and order and pay and then you sit down and they bring it over to you.
There’s never any instructions. Never. You have to figure this shit out for yourself, and whenever I ask the person I’m with, they tell me the system as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world and I’m an idiot for not knowing. When did everyone acquire this knowledge?
Why can’t they all have one nice, regulated system, like my pocket system that’s served me so well over the years?
Then obviously there’s the complicated variations of coffee you can order. I avoid this entirely by simply ordering tea.
– “Just a tea please!”
– “Okay. That’ll be basically the same price as one of the complicated fancy coffee vanilla bullshits despite the fact that there’s way less shit involved and we let you do all the stirring and milk-adding yourself anyway!”
– “Here you go, barista!”
– “Thank you, worried looking customer!”
Then is the milk provided there and then or is it on the tables in one of those little jugs? What about the spoons? What if I get to a table and sit down and then my little milk jug hasn’t got any milk in it? What if I spill my hot drink on myself as I’m walking away from the counter? Why have I come to this wretched fucking place?
Everything’s so small in these places. The chairs are small. I have difficulty fitting my long manly legs in comfortably. The gaps between tables are small, so it’s pretty inevitable that when I’m trying to get to a table, I brush off someone or something unintentionally. I feel like a rhino in these places. A big ignorant rhino, bashing around trying to find my way to the watering hole.
Once after sitting down in Keogh’s, a café in Dublin, I went to take off my jacket. In doing this, I managed to elbow a woman who was standing up behind me, trying to shimmy her way to a table.
A sitting man, elbowing a standing woman.
There’s only one place my elbow was going to hit her, and that was right in the vagina.
Thankfully she wasn’t hurt and accepted my sincere apologies, but still.
An elbow in the vagina. Jesus.
And then there’s the tiny wanky little cups. The little cups with their tiny little handles that I can barely fit a finger through. So then you have to cradle your drink the whole time. I fucking hate those little handles. I want big mugs. A big mugga tea, that’s all I want. I want something Hagrid could drink out of. Considering all the variety and choice in terms of beverage, I don’t understand why there isn’t a choice of cup or mug. It’s a huge part of the whole process.
2. Can I borrow your earphones for a second?
Oh god. My earphones. My earphones that I put into my ear.
And now you want them so you can put them into your ear.
No matter how well you know someone, you just never know what their ear hygiene is going to be like, do you?
Furthermore, you never really think about how clean your earphones may or may not be until someone else wants to use them.
But of course you can’t say no.
Earphones don’t even have batteries so there’s no lie you could make up here. You just have to lend your earphones and hope for the best.
3. Let’s go to a theme park.
Ah, theme parks.
Everyone loves them, don’t they?
I hate them so much.
What’s worse is that I’m aware that hating these things make me really un-fun.
Usually they’re even called something that includes the word ‘fun’ so you have to enjoy them or else you are not fun. Like ‘Funderland’ or something.
– “Hey Mark, wanna go to Super-Happy-Happy-Mega-Happy-Fun World?”
– “Eh, no thanks, I’d much prefer to stay at home and do some online shopping. I need a new belt.”
I’m just no good on rollercoasters and rides and things.
I get sick really easily.
I went to one of those travelling theme park things a few years ago. The ones that travel around the country so are in your town once a year. My friends knew about me not being too enthusiastic about all the rides, so decided to start off with one of the “less scary” ones.
I hated every second.
Why do people enjoy all that spinning around and being dropped all the time?
It’s the feeling in your stomach when you’re dropped that I hate.
Anyway, I promptly got sick afterwards.
I got sick over a barrier as little children less than half my age skipped past me having had the time of their little lives.
On my holiday last year I went to a theme park. I bravely went on one ride (I was forced into doing it by a lying friend who told me it’d be grand) and was so terrified the whole time that I just froze my body up and kept telling myself it’d be over soon. When I got off, I had a really sore neck, probably some sort of REALLY BAD INTENSE WHIPLASH and was then in no state to go on the bumper cars, which is probably the only thing there I wouldn’t have hated.
Everyone gets so excited about theme parks.
I dread them. I really resent having to pay in to a place full of things I hate.
Imagine paying to go to a place full of whatever you hate. It makes no sense. At the gate I should try to explain how I hate everything there and should be let in free because I won’t be enjoying myself one jot.
I serve a purpose in these places though.
I’ll hold your important possessions and take photos while you go on the big scary rides.
No problem there.
I’m your man there, I’ll tell ya.
4. ANYTHING TO DO WITH BIKES
I can’t ride a bike.
There, I said it.
When I was younger I used to ride my bike with stabilisers.
Then when I got to the age when people take their stabilisers off, I just stopped going on my bike.
You’d be surprised how often people float the idea of cycling somewhere and then I have to make my guilty confession.
A few years ago I went on a trip to Paris. It was organised by a Parisien girl.
We arrived in Paris and our organiser told the group about our plans to cycle around the city the next day to see some sights.
I went through my options here.
I could tell the truth now and see what her contingency plans were.
I could leave it ’til the very last second, and hope that somehow I’d be a natural and be totally capable of cycling.
How hard could it be?
I told the truth immediately.
So the next day we all went to the communal bike renting place and everyone watched as I failed miserably, absolutely miserably, in trying to learn to ride a bike with a group of at least ten watching, most of whom were girls I didn’t know all that well.
At that moment I vowed that I’d make sure my children can ride a bike as soon as they’re at a capable age so they wouldn’t have to go through the absolute humiliation that I did at that moment.
We took the metro.
It’s now March.
That means people are starting to get excited about the longer days, and more sunshine.
These are great things.
But it’s also getting to that time where people talk about how great it is to “get out of the house” or “be outside” and things like that.
On paper, this sounds good.
But the reality of going outside holds many complications.
You shower, put on some fresh clothes, get an album ready to go on the iPod so you can stroll around somewhere nice, maybe have an ice-cream, and stretch your legs and be one with nature.
And then everything goes to shit, just like always.
Because you leave the house and there they are.
They’re always out doing something.
Washing the car, doing some gardening, putting something out in the bin.
How do I always manage to leave my house at the very moment they’re doing this shit?
Straight away, out with the earphones for a neighbourly stop-and-chat.
– “Hiya Mark!”
Ah, how’s it going?
- “Lovely day!”
- “Great isn’t it?”
Ah it is yeah.
- “Still in college?”
I am yeah, still going.
- “Fair play to ya!”
Thanks, see ya now!
- “See ya!”
It’s just a conversation dynamic that I’m not equipped to deal with.
Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in a time where conversations I didn’t want to have could be ended with a simple “Appear offline”.
I’m not much better with street conversations with people my own age either.
One of my most hated moments in the world is when I’m walking along and see someone I know.
Except that person is around 30 yards away. Maybe a 10 second walk.
Those ten seconds are pure agony.
You look up and see them.
It could be anyone.
The lad from school you sat beside in one class for a whole year and never spoke to since.
The girl you fingered one night and who then added you on Facebook, probably out of politeness.
The girl you fingered one night who then never added you on Facebook, the ignorant cow. Her loss anyway.
You see them, they see you.
You do something to indicate you see each other.
A smile or a nod. Grand.
And then you’re just walking towards each other.
Too far away to start speaking.
Too close to ignore each other.
So you’re just looking at each other like long lost lovers.
I wish there was a rulebook for this sort of thing.
My mind panics.
Oh shit, it’s himself. What are we going to talk about? What does he do in college again? Maths? Science? It could be anything, I better avoid it altogether so I don’t put my foot in it. Is he still going out with that girl? I saw her tagged in some photos last week with some other lad and they were looking pretty friendly. Avoid that too, so. Ah for fuck’s sake. There’s nothing. I have nothing. I’m going into this stop-and-chat with my trousers around my ankles and my dick in my hand. He’s probably got a double-barreled gun full of conversation. He was probably out doing fun stuff last night that he can tell me all about. Look at the grin on his big interesting conversational face. I’ll stand there nodding along like one of those nodding dogs you see in the back of cars. Actually, you don’t see those dogs much anymore, where’ve they gone to? I liked them. No time to think about that now, this is a code red. He’ll probably ask me what I’ve been doing lately. What the fuck can I say to that? I have no idea what I’ve been doing lately. “Well mate, last night I stayed in and started watching porn but stopped halfway through because I got distracted when I started wondering how many porn stars have STIs, and that put me right off my stroke. So eh, have you ever had an STI?” Fucking hell, why me?
Finally, after an excruciating few seconds, you begin the conversation.
- How’s things?
- Good, and yourself?
“Ah sure. Any news?”
- Nah, same old. Still working in X/going to Y/doing Z?
“Yep, sure am.”
The problem with the stop-and-chat is that there’s no boundaries. That’s why I find them unnerving, even if I really like the person.
The conversation could go on forever until someone steps up and ends the bullshit.
Sadly I tend to do this a little early.
There’ll be a little lull in the conversation and I think that’s my chance to stick the knife in and be on my way.
But then the other person thinks this is their cue to ask a new question.
So I attempt to say something like “Anyway, I’ll let you go“.
They cut across me with something like “Any plans for the weekend?”
But they’ve heard me try to end the conversation.
They know I’m done. I want no more.
I answer the question and soon we part ways.
There’s also no context. If you see someone at a gig or something – BAM – you talk about the band. See someone on he street? Nothing. Pluck something out of thin air and see how it goes.
Generally there’s no lasting bad effects from these incidents. Any embarrassment fades fairly sharply.
But I’m still suffering the effects one Sunday morning when I went to the shop to pick up something for breakfast.
I was hungover. It was one of those hangovers where your head isn’t exactly in pain, but is a bit fuzzy.
I find when I’m like this, I tend to talk more, and can be much more friendly than normal.
I turned a corner and saw a man.
A middle-aged man.
A middle-aged man I recognised.
He was the Dad of a guy I played football with years ago.
I last played with the guy when I was 14 I’d say.
But I still recognised his Dad.
My hungover mind processed the fact that I recognised this man standing before me, and that the socially acceptable thing to do would be to say hello.
“Hiya Oliver!” I blurted out with uncharacteristic cheer.
It was only when I saw the look of complete and utter bemusement on the man’s face that I realised what a weird thing I’d done.
He did not know me.
I only recognised him as an old friend’s dad.
I said hello to him so enthusiastically. As if I were a game show host and he were the contestant.
He looked at me and murmured.
I didn’t make out his murmurs. He was that surprised and creeped out.
I walked away shamefully.
I now see Oliver almost every fucking time I walk down to the village.
It’s absurd how often I see him.
And I set a precedent that day.
A precedent that I am in no way going to follow up.
I see him now and get the head down and pretend it never happened.
I’ll never forget that day.
I don’t think there’s one person in the whole world who I knew less, but whose name I would actually know.
Leaving the house, eh?
Not worth it.
You’re safe there.
Safe and with internet access.
Everything you could want.
Hello internet, it’s been a while.
Let’s get straight into the things that are wrong with the world. No small talk.
Straight in, no kissing.
1. The presence of the ‘n’-word in most rap songs ruins my dreams of someday performing them in karaoke.
I’m not sure if I’m alone in doing this, but usually when I’m walking around with my earphones in, I’m applying some sort of scenario to the music I’m listening to.
Sometimes I’m the lead guitarist in the band, performing the song in some big stadium.
Sometimes I’m the bassist, if it’s a really good bassline.
I’m never the drummer.
I’m never really the singer either, because I can’t sing.
Sometimes it’s the music they play before I go onstage to accept some great award.
Sometimes it’s the soundtrack being played in the final scene of a film I’ve written and gotten loads of success, money and blowjobs from.
I said before that I can’t sing, but this doesn’t mean I can’t rap.
Sadly, I could never actually be a rapper.
I’ve never been in a fight and don’t particularly enjoy being in da club, so unless it becomes acceptable for rapping to be about having a blog and longing for the return of old Nickelodeon cartoons, it’s safe to say my rap career won’t be kicking off anytime soon.
However, this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be able to have a little fantasy about doing some rap songs in karaoke sometime.
I actually know the words to a surprising amount of rap songs. Take for example, my rap lyric-deciphering post. After writing that post, I’ve never forgotten the words (or at least my version of the words) to In Da Club by 50 Cent.
Imagine I got up and did a rap on karaoke.
It’d be so good.
I’m a very white man, both figuratively and literally.
I sunburn easily.
I can’t dance.
So me doing rap on karaoke would be funny.
But I can’t.
Because almost every rap song includes the ‘N’-word in there somewhere.
You know the one I’m talking about.
I couldn’t say that word and not sound like a total loser and/or racist.
The dream is over.
Fuck you, rappers. Using words in your songs that render them un-karaokeable to honkies like me. Selfish and inconsiderate.
And I know what they’d say to me in response.
“Hey Walsho, why you gotta be such a nagger?”
And I know what I’d say in return.
“Hey Fifty/Dre/Snoop/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Popadiddypop, if I’m being a nagger, then maybe you should stop being something that sounds very much like the word ‘nagger’! That’s right, a blagger! Stop being such a blagger. Talking about your bitches and your hoes and drugs and guns. You pick your nose and eat beans on toast just like the rest of us!”
Maybe that wouldn’t be a good idea.
I wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of any rapper.
Getting into a ‘beef’ sounds very time-consuming.
Fuck it, I’ll just do a Will Smith song.
2. Lettuce is a rip-off
I don’t actually know how much lettuce costs.
But I know it’s a rip-off.
See, what happens is you buy a thing of lettuce in the shop. A whole thing.
“That’ll be nice”, you think to yourself. “I’ll do a nice salad or something healthy with that lettuce I’m buying now.”
People buy lettuce to put it in salads or sandwiches.
The problem here is that once I have a helping of lettuce, I never really want to eat it again over the next few days. I feel like I’ve paid my lettuce dues. So then it rots in the fridge. Goes all brown and minging. Takes up loads of space too, so you throw it out as soon as you have the chance.
I reckon lettuce is one of the most wasted foods going.
You should be able to buy properly-sized portions of lettuce.
Head into a shop and make a personalised lettuce order.
“Hiya, I’ll take a salad and two sandwiches’ worth of lettuce please.”
- “Good choice sir, here you are.”
“Thank you shopkeep.”
3. There is no correct way to eat a muffin
I like eating muffins. They’re delicious.
But I very rarely buy them.
This is because I don’t know the correct way to eat them.
There’s two methods I’ve tried and both have flaws.
The first way is to just lash into the muffin as if it were an apple. Roughly a half a second after doing this, you realise what an awful idea it is. You’ll get muffin crumbs on your face. The thing will fall apart. Crumbs will start falling everywhere, and you’ll place your hand below the muffin in order to catch the suicidal crumbs, but to no avail. It’s a fucking mess. What do you do with the crumbs you do collect in your hand? They stick to your hand so if you want to eat them you have to sort of hoover them up with your mouth. Or else just brush them into a bin or onto the ground. Either way, you’re losing.
The second way, which seems to be more popular, is to just pick pieces of muffin off with your hand. It’s almost eating the muffin as if it were a packet of crisps. This is stupid and shit and annoying. Firstly, you get loads of muffin on your fingers. Then, the muffin-to-mouth journey always has some crumb casualties. I reckon the journey from the muffin to your mouth is about a foot in distance. How then, do I manage to let loads of crumbs fall with every little bite?
Muffins are probably the second most wasted food. You finish a muffin and realise half the fucking thing is on your face, fingers, or in a little trail of crumbs on the table. If you’re not in public you can lick or suck the muffin that’s on your fingers, but if you’re in public you can forget about it. It’s collateral damage. I just know I’d make eye contact with a little boy and his mother when I’m doing the finger sucking.
“Mammy, why’s that man sucking his finger and looking at me?”
“He’s doing that because he’s clearly a pervert, son.”
4. Sometimes I accidentally make a bubble with my mouth
This happens quite rarely. I’d say maybe even as rare as once a year. But still, it bothers me so much when it does happen.
Basically I’ll be talking, or about to talk, and as I open my mouth, a saliva-bubble forms between my lips and expands as I open my mouth. It disappears almost instantly obviously, and is probably not even noticeable, but good Christ I hate when it happens. It never happens when I’m chatting with my Dad or something. It’ll be right before I try say something cool and suave before going for a kiss. A kiss with a girl, like. Not my Dad.
Sometimes I worry it’ll happen right before my award-accepting speech I mentioned above.
And the winner of the award for outstanding achievements in the field of excellence is… Mark Walsh!
The music starts.
The crowd rises and applauds.
Walsho stands up and gives his supermodel girlfriend a kiss on the cheek and a slap on the arse.
He strides to the stage. Along the way, men pat him on the back and try to shake his hand. Women swoon and try to show him their breasts.
He approaches the podium, taking his award in hand, and the camera zooms in on him as he begins his speech.
He opens his mouth AND THEN A MASSIVE SALIVA BUBBLE FORMS BETWEEN HIS LIPS, before popping like a gentle hymen.
The audience are aghast, the award is retracted, and Walsho spends the remainder of his life on the streets, forever ruing his salivary glands and their unfortunate timing, not to mention fucking HD camera technology.
I mean, how am I supposed to carry on living my life when I’ve got problems like this to worry about?
5. Some people I know still some times spell ‘come’ as ‘cum’
I’m not going to get into people using txtspk, or generally being morons with spelling and grammar. There’s not enough time.
But one particular thing that really bothers me is when people spell the word ‘come’ as ‘cum’.
‘Cum’ is acceptable only when referring to an orgasm, or the product of a male orgasm.
I see things on Facebook like:
“U cumin out 2nite?”
Or “ah wud you cum off it”
Or maybe “too cold to be cumin into collage today”
Comments like that conjure up many images for me.
And every single one of them is absolutely dripping in hot jizz.
For me it’s like if “fanny batter” was also a commonly misspelled version of a verb.
“Hey, having a party tonight, hope you can all fanny batter!”
“Yeah, I saw him last week and he was fanny battering all over the shop.”
It’s a wonder I manage to get up in the morning when I’ve got things like this to complain about every minute of every day.
But then I remember that for every overpriced lettuce, or awkward-to-eat muffin, there’s a warm shower, a cold beer, or a lovely arse walking up some stairs in front of you, right in your face.
Swings and roundabouts, eh?
Two nights ago I returned from a holiday.
This was the first time I’d left the country in about two years, and although I had a great time and really enjoyed myself, I was also reminded why I don’t make a habit of leaving the country.
I am utterly useless at being on holiday.
I know many people who always seem to be living anywhere except the country that they actually live in. Studying abroad, working abroad, going abroad for no other reason except to be abroad, all that stuff.
Those people are excellent at being abroad. They enjoy it and have a good time living in places that aren’t their home.
I excel at living at home. Probably one of my finest talents.
You see, from beginning to end, there’s always a little nagging in my mind when it comes to holidays.
Most people say how excited they are about their holidays and how they can’t wait to be lying in the sun and having a good time and getting away from it all.
I just have a little voice in my mind telling me how long it’s going to take me to pack my bag, how I’m going to forget something anyway, how I’m going to beep in the airport security thing and how my plane is going to crash anyway and in my final few seconds I’ll be thinking to myself how I should have just stayed at home and watched Arrested Development all day instead of trying to go off galavanting somewhere all sunny with a different language to the one I speak.
And then even if I get through the holiday, I’ll still have to return to face the unending stream of bullshit life likes to throw at you. Loads of emails to respond to. Back to work. Back to college. Back to talking to people all the time.
This year I made a list of things to pack, which helped alleviate the feeling of forgetting something. I recommend doing this a few days prior to leaving. This way you have plenty of time to remember little things and add them to the list. Then when you pack, you just tick off the list.
Naturally I beeped when going through airport security and they frisked me. I always fucking beep. It doesn’t matter what I do or wear, I always fucking beep.
Then the woman asks me if I have anything sharp in my hand luggage.
“Nope” I tell her.
She opens the bag. I was just using my laptop bag, which I carry to college every day.
Little did I know I’d forgotten to take out the scissors that I had in there for some reason.
I’d been looking for those fucking scissors a few days ago and everything, when I needed to take the tags off my new holiday clothes.
She confiscated my scissors.
On the plane, my ears suffer terrible pain. Taking off is a little sore but usually landing is far worse. One year I was about 12 years old and on holiday with my family and it was excruciatingly bad. Worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, and that includes broken bones etc.
I’ve never suffered quite as badly as that since, but I’m always afraid of it.
So this year I took some painkillers onto the plane with me.
When I thought we’d be landing soon, I decided to pop my painkillers.
I had no drink with me, so just had to swallow them dry. This isn’t so pleasant, so when I did it, I accidentally made a weird noise which was a mixture of choking and coughing. I would spell the noise I made as “Achuchok”.
This would have only been a little bit embarrassing if the flight attendant guy wasn’t passing as I did it. I made the noise and he turned and looked at me.
I began to apologise and explain.
“Sorry, I was just -”
He interrupts me with “Would you like anything from the Sky Trolley?”
“Oh, no thank you.”
He looks at me and gestures that I should continue what I was about to say before he asked me about the fucking Sky Trolley.
“I was swallowing a painkiller without any water just then… that’s why I made that noise.”
“So eh… just carry on with the flight!”
I tried to make a joke at the end there, but he didn’t react at all. Instead my mate beside me just turned to me with a look of disgust and remarked “…Carry on with the flight? Who says that?”
I do, apparently. I also say “that’s why I made that noise.”
I’m starting a new trend of explaining why you make the noises that you make.
I really enjoyed that sexual act you just performed on me… that’s why I made that noise.
Joke’s on him anyway, because my ears only suffered minor twinges of pain.
Then you arrive and get through more security checks. This pisses me off. I couldn’t have gotten this far if everything wasn’t alright with me. Just let me roam free in your country where I can be ignorant and not know anything about your culture.
Then you have the heat.
The insufferable, unbearable, searing, burning heat of a Mediterranean country… in September.
I burn like an absolute bastard.
My skin doesn’t know what the sun is.
He feels a bit of sun and instantly turns red and stings for the next few days and stops me sleeping. It doesn’t matter how much sun protection I apply. I will burn. I will burn instantly. And it won’t “turn into tan” like some people say it will. That doesn’t fucking happen.
My skin burns, turns red, then gets itchy and peels and is pale again, like it should be.
I don’t know why everyone thinks a tan suits them.
Some people look great with a tan and it can be incredibly attractive.
Not everyone though.
I’m alright with my pale skin thanks.
I don’t look good in sunglasses either. No matter what sunglasses I try on, they somehow never fit me properly and rather than looking cool and suave, I look like a blind man.
Shorts. You have to wear shorts. But I’m fucked if I’m wearing those shorts with the flowers on them that everyone seems to be wearing these days. When did these shorts become alright to wear? Give me nice plain aul’ shorts, thanks.
Worst of all though, is footwear when on holidays. Flip-flops. Fucking flip-flops.
Whenever I wear flip-flops I just think to myself that there HAS to be a better invention than flip-flops. I also feel this way about umbrellas.
Us humans have created the internet for fuck’s sake. Why can’t we invent some footwear that suits the heat but doesn’t require shitloads of effort just to keep on your foot? And don’t get me started on the toe notch thing digging into the space between your toes the whole time. There simply has to be something better.
Same goes for umbrellas. Rain is a huge problem in the world. Yet the best weapon we have to fight it is this flimsy little thing that can’t stand any wind and you have to hold the entire time? Bollocks. Even make umbrellas that you can slot onto your shoulders so you don’t have to hold the whole time.
Fucking flip-flop and umbrella companies are living it up, rolling in dosh from their useless, shitty and overwhelmingly awkward products, and I’ve had enough.
And now the food.
When I go abroad I’m not expecting the food to be the same. Trying different foods is interesting and exciting, so I’m not expecting spuds and beans every meal when I’m away.
What bothers me is when I can’t get little things I want, and I don’t understand why.
I brought over my own teabags over to Spain, because Irish teabags are infinitely better than Spanish teabags. But alright, maybe the Spanish like their tea a different way than the Irish, so fair enough.
But then I wanted to buy biscuits for my tea. I had to get substandard digestives and rubbish chocolate chip cookies.
They just don’t have nice biscuits on the continent.
Why is this?
And don’t tell me it’s a taste or cultural thing. Those biscuits were fucking shite.
Is anyone seriously going to tell me that the Spanish wouldn’t enjoy a chocolate Hobnob?
Not a fucking chance.
Everyone likes Hobnobs.
I then wonder if a Spanish person came to Ireland and had a Hobnob, would they be amazed and want to bring boxes of them home?
That’s how I feel when I get to try different flavours of Calippo icepops when I’m abroad.
I like to think of myself as a fairly competent person, but being on holidays really makes me doubt this. Really basic tasks suddenly make me confused and unsettled.
Take for example, opening the door of the new place you’re staying.
When I’m at home, I can open my front door very easily. I have the key, I’ve been using it for years, and I do it without a second of hesitation.
On holiday though, I can’t open a door to save my life.
It doesn’t matter how many times I jiggle the key or try to force it to turn, I just don’t have the knack for doing it. Give that key to a three-fingered three year old child and he’d manage it before I would.
Then you have hotels that have swipe cards. You better believe that I’ll swipe that card the wrong way several times before the light goes green and I can get in.
Then you go down to the pool and have to pick up a sunbed and pick your sunbathing spot.
Does anyone in the world know the best way to pick up and carry a sunbed?
I tried several different approaches and none of them looked or felt comfortable, and when it came to placing the sunbed down in my desired spot, I couldn’t have been more awkward. Trying not to drop my towel or knock my stupid sunglasses off or get the sunbed caught in my flip-flops. Nightmare.
It always takes me so long to find the appropriate temperature in the shower when I’m away.
Likewise, I don’t understand why the toilet has two flush buttons. They both seem to perform the same function.
Then I feel like such an arsehole when I go abroad and don’t speak the local language. When foreign people are in Ireland we expect them to speak English.
But me, learn some Spanish before going to Spain? Fuck that shit. I’ll just be an ignorant, uncouth moron who says things a little bit slower and with more hand gestures and hope that everything works out alright.
But then I feel like such a fraud when I try throwing in a “Gracias” or a “Por favor”. And often they respond in English anyway, almost as if they’re telling me not to even bother tainting their language with my stupid Irish accent.
On the last day of a holiday I usually get pretty excited about being at home again.
You can’t beat your own bed.
Your own toilet.
Your own cupboards of junk food.
Waking up and not being covered in sweat.
Not having to worry about strange bugs biting you and leaving red itchy bumps on your skin.
I got home and had a cup of tea and some soda bread and went on the internet in my bed until 4am.
Today it has been raining all day.
There’s no place like home.
I think it’s time to share a few pearls of wisdom.
I bitch and moan on this blog a lot, and I feel it’s high time I offered you readers something constructive.
So here are ways to improve your life.
1. Start taking your tea without sugar
I know this seems a bit inconsiderate, but let me explain.
I used to take two sugars in my tea.
Then I had a tea-maker in work who never even asked about sugars, he just gave you sugarless tea. So I drank it.
Soon I got used to it and now I couldn’t bear to have a single grain of sugar in my tea.
It doesn’t take long to get used to it, and you get a better taste of the glorious, life-giving tea.
If everyone stopped taking sugar, it would make the tea-making process so much easier. The problem with making tea for a group of people is remembering the orders.
“Anyone for tea?”
“Oh yes please. Milk, no sugar”
“Ooh me too. Milk and one and a half sugars.”
“Ah sure I’ll have one aswell. Milk, two sugars, some more milk, and stir clockwise please”
“40 grains of sugar in mine please, no more, no less”
EVERYONE FUCK OFF AND MAKE YOUR OWN FUCKING TEA SO.
If everyone could please just grow up, and take your tea with a drop of milk and no sugar, that’d be great. It’s one less thing to worry about in the tea process. When you’re out in a café somewhere having a cup of tea, you won’t have to worry about locating sugar. Your life will be better. And it’s healthier. I’m an unhealthy man, so if I can make a little healthy change in my life without much effort, I’m pleased.
If you currently take sugar in tea, I reckon having your next five cups of tea without any sugar will convert you. The first one will be strange and probably not too nice. But stick with it.
Additionally, if I’m going to make tea and I offer around if anyone else wants one, I really only expect a maximum of two people to say yes.
Carrying any more than three cups requires a tray of some kind.
So two people can say yes.
After that, the rest of the room should feel obliged to make up an obvious lie such as “Ah no, not just yet, might make one myself in a bit”
I guess I’m asking the world to make a collective effort when it comes to tea-rounds.
Let’s not be selfish.
There’s no ‘I’ in ‘tea’.
2. Road-crossing tips
If you’re waiting at pedestrian lights to cross a road, try and sneak a peek at the traffic lights that the cars are following.
In my experience there is a two second gap between the traffic lights turning red, and the pedestrian lights turning green.
So you watch the traffic lights, see them turn red, and saunter out onto the road amid gasps from other road-crossers.
Then they see the traffic stop and the pedestrian lights go green, and they’re all following you, probably a whole metre or two behind you, bowing down to your psychic ability and trying to give you blowjobs.
And you’re all like “Hey, stop trying to give me so many blowjobs all at once, I’ve got roads to cross!”
Another bit of advice is, if you’re struggling to cross a road without pedestrian lights, but that has several sources of traffic (ie. some traffic coming from one direction, more from around a corner etc), simply wait for someone more competent to come along and cross the road, and make sure you stand on the inside of them, such that if any cars were to come flying around a corner, they’d hit the other person first.
As you do this, think something funny to yourself like “Thank you as ever, my loyal human shield” and have a wry smile.
3. Adjusting eyebrows
Every so often, I feel the need to adjust my eyebrows. You know, just give them a little sweeping groom with my fingers, to make sure they’re in good shape.
I have noticed that you cannot adjust both eyebrows with the same hand. You must use your left hand to adjust your left eyebrow and right hand to adjust your right eyebrow.
Sure, you can break this rule and it might look fine. But it won’t feel fine. I can guarantee you that.
4. Keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts not only make your life easier and your computing more efficient, but they can look impressive and baffling to people who don’t know many.
If you’re browsing the internet and see a link that isn’t clickable, highlight it and hold down CTRL and press C, T, V, in that order, and hit enter.
Copy, New Tab, Paste. I’m sure everyone knows these commands, but using them in that sequence all quick and slick is awesome.
Other shortcuts include:
Win Key + D = minimises all windows. Easy to remember this as it shows your desktop. ‘D’ for desktop.
Highlight text in a windows program and press SHIFT + F3. This toggles the text between upper and lower case. Sometimes you have to copy something and it’s all in capitals and you don’t want that.
If you have trouble remembering the shortcuts for Cut, Copy and Paste, just remember, CTRL + X for Cut, because the letter ‘X’ looks like an open scissors. ‘C’ for Copy, because ‘copy’ begins with a ‘C’ and doesn’t look like a scissors. And ‘V’ for Paste. You should just be able to remember that one without any magical methods.
CTRL + Click = Opens a link in a new tab.
CTRL + Z to undo. This works in internet browsers too, which is very handy as I’ve often accidentally deleted a whole paragraph of text when writing in forums etc.
Accidentally closed an internet tab? CTRL + SHIFT + T.
CTRL + W to close a tab. (These might just be for Google Chrome, but you should be using Google Chrome anyway)
ALT + F4 to close the window.
When browsing the internet, hit F6 to highlight the address bar, to save yourself clicking there to type in a new URL.
F3 to search a page. Works the same as CTRL + F.
I’ve also noticed that on my laptop (Which is Windows Vista, not sure if this’ll work on other OS), if I click (just once) on any desktop item, and then start typing the name of another folder/program that I want to find on the desktop, it will become selected after I’ve typed the first few letters. I usually have a fair amount of icons and folders on my desktop, so this is really handy if I’m having a stupid moment and can’t find the one I’m looking for.
5. Learn to deal with the ‘cold’
Lately I find myself getting more and more frustrated with people who announce that they’re cold, when there’s no way in hell they should be cold.
You’re out having a drink, sitting outside as a sunny day draws to a close. The sun starts to set. It’s no longer warm, but it isn’t cold either. Someone pipes up with “God it’s freezing, let’s go inside”.
It’s not fucking freezing.
It’s not cold.
It’s just less warm than it was earlier.
Slightly less warm.
Then you have to go inside. We’re inside all the time. If I have a chance to be outside and not get rained on, I wanted to take it.
These are the same people that close the windows on a bus.
Sometimes I’m on a horrible packed bus, and think to myself that the only good thing about the journey is that there’s a lovely little breeze coming in the window, caressing and cooling my handsome face.
I smile and think to myself how great life can be when something so simple and natural can make me happy.
Then some stupid fucking bint marches up and slams the window shut with this air of self-righteousness and a face like a smacked arse.
Then a minute later the overwhelming stuffiness on the bus is getting to you and you start to sweat a bit. Not proper sweat, but just enough that your face feels moist. Usually just above the upper lip.
Why do people think it’s better to be uncomfortably warm than uncomfortably cold?
The thing about being a little too warm is that it has physical impact.
Your face might get a bit flushed.
But being a bit cool?
Nothing wrong with that. Nothing happens. You feel clean and refreshed.
I think people mistake fresh air for cold air.
People are too used to being in horrible places that are too hot and stuffy. When they’re lucky enough to have a bit of fresh air hit them they automatically dub it “freezing” and do something annoying like say “brrr” or rub their hands together and blow on them.
So everyone should man the fuck up and try to appreciate being a bit cool now and again.
You’ll be a much less annoying person.
That’s my advice.
I’m thinking about becoming an Agony Uncle.
Takes all sorts to make the world. Sadly, some of these are the annoying cunt sort.
And everyone knows that cunts need to be blogged about.
1. The Jobsworth
I’ve had a long day. It’s been raining for most of it. My shoes are wet. My socks are wet. My feet are wet.
All I want to do is go home and go to bed.
But no. I have to get the bus home, shovel some food in my mouth, shower, put on clothes, then get the bus back out for a birthday party.
Not in the mood at all, but you can’t miss these things unless you have a really good reason.
Before I get on the bus I drop into an off licence in town to pick up a bottle of booze as a birthday present. It’s one of those shitty little shops where they keep the good booze behind the counter. So then you have that horrible moment where you’re trying to look at the stuff behind the counter and the counter dude is just staring at you like a moron.
STOP LOOKING AT ME WHEN I’M LOOKING AT SOMETHING ELSE.
PRETEND TO BE BUSY FOR A FEW SECONDS BEFORE I’M READY TO ASK YOU FOR WHAT I WANT.
“Can I get a big bottle of Captain Morgan’s please?”
“No. Captain Morgan’s. At the bottom.”
-“Oh right, this one?”
“Yeah, just, the bigger one on the left there. Yep. That’s the one, thanks.”
-“Have you got any ID?”
No. No, I don’t have any fucking ID I’m afraid, you massive bellend. Look at me. Look at how wet my clothes and skin are. Just give me the booze. Look at the toll life has taken on me. Look at my face. Look at how worn it is from my twenty one years on this fucking planet that’s crawling with arseholes like you that ask me silly questions like that. Just give me the fucking booze. I buy drink all the fucking time, and nearly always have my fucking ID on me, and they never fucking ask for it anymore, so I’ve stopped bringing it around with me. Tonight I’ll go to a club and won’t need ID because the people on the door will be reasonable and see that I’m clearly over the fucking age of 18. Just give me the shitting booze. I’m 21 years of age. I’ve been buying alcohol for the last three years. Sometimes I wonder why I bother drinking anymore, but then I remember it’s the only fucking legal thing that’ll numb the pain of having to endure people like you nearly every fucking day of my life. So just give me the fucking booze. Scan the fucking booze, take my money, and we’ll both be fucking happy and life will go on and everything will be fine.
“Ah I actually don’t, sorry.”
– “Sorry, I can’t serve you.”
“Ah okay, no problem then mate, bye now.”
You have made a very powerful enemy today, my friend. Later on I will return and murder you. I will then celebrate your death by weighing you so I could make sure I drank your exact body weight in booze, just to be extra weird and creepy.
Yes I know he’s just doing his job and technically he’s in the right. But fuck that. If I want to bitch and moan despite being in the wrong then I’ll go right ahead and do it. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I like.
2. The immovable object
You get on the bus and there’s no completely free seats left, so you have to sit beside someone. You look around for the one who’s least likely to start talking to you or be weird in any way.
You sit next to some guy.
You wait for him to scooch over a little bit so you can sit comfortably.
He doesn’t scooch.
Not a single bit of scooching.
If it were a scooching competition he’d be dead last. Maybe even disqualified for lack of participation. It’d be like France at the 2010 World Cup. You’d be thinking to yourself, ‘why are you even in this competition if you’re not even going to bother?’.
So now you’ve to perch uncomfortably on the edge of the seat. Perching like a timid little bird on a brittle branch.
What an absolute bastard.
I bet his mother hates him.
He beats his wife.
His children wish he was dead.
Worst person in the world.
3. The early goodbyers
This is a silly one that shouldn’t bother me.
I find this happens most often in a work environment.
You’re in the office, or wherever it is you work.
It’s time for one person to go home.
– “Right so, I’ll talk to you later Mark, see you soon”
Then they start packing up their things and getting ready to leave.
We both know that they’re going to be there for another few minutes, but I have to respond to their goodbye, knowing full well that I’m going to have to say it again in a bit.
“See ya now, all the best”
– “Jaysus I wonder what I’ll have for dinner”
– “Pasta I suppose, so handy to make.”
“Yeah Pasta’s good alright.”
-“It is, isn’t it?
-“Yeah, maybe pasta.”
Another few minutes pass as they gather their things and take a fucking eternity to actually leave.
Then the second goodbye.
-“Right then, that’s me done. Talk to you soon”
“Yep. Bye now. Enjoy your pasta!”
I hate that first goodbye so much.
JUST SAY GOODBYE WHEN YOU’RE ACTUALLY WALKING OUT.
Worse still when they come back for something they’ve forgotten.
Oho, you forgot that thing that you forgot there did you? Oh well you’ve come back in and picked it up now. That was so funny when you forgot that thing. God, head like a sieve, you! Anyway, for the third and I hope to fucking God final time today, GOODBYE.
4. The bearded guy on ASOS
Worse than all of the above, is the bearded model on ASOS.
The male models on there are all reasonably handsome or trendy looking men and I can understand why they were given the job of modelling.
All of them except one guy.
One bearded cunt of a model that I despise beyond belief.
Look at him.
Look at his stupid hair.
Look at his even stupider beard.
This man is a model.
He looks like a homeless man who just got given a comb.
And it might be alright if he looked like a happy-go-lucky cheeky chappy. But no. He looks dour and miserable.
I’m convinced they always give him the shittest clothes to model too.
Regardless, I will never buy an ASOS item that he’s modelling because of how much I hate him. Never.
Look at this fucking thing that they had him wear.
I mean, it’s a nun’s blouse.
And how much?
Two hundred and eighty pounds.
Well, in the words of Alan Partridge, butter my arse.
Butter my arse right up.