I had a whole ‘nother post thought up for today, but this one sprang up on me on the train and seemed to write itself.
As a child, I believed I was a miracle baby. I was born four and a half months premature (or so I thought), and yet there I was, a healthy and fully-functional young lad. A little on the small side for my age, granted, but what could you expect? I was one of nature’s miracles!
I remember the exact moment it hit me. I was about 12, finally old enough to realise that sex before marriage was not just a possibility, but in my parents’ case, a likelihood.
Sitting on the bus from Castle Park into town, I worked out that it was only 20 weeks between my parents’ wedding day (14 December) and my birthday (mid-May). As I sat there marvelling at being the world’s only baby born 20 weeks premature with no congenital defects whatsoever, I suddenly froze. Why was I not in the history books, famous for my embryonic escapades, my foetal flagrances? The truth, awful and obvious, hit me in the stomach like a medicine ball dropped from a roof. It made me sweat and shiver.
Holy God, I’m a bit of a bastard! I thought. Then, on the heels of that: I am the reason they got married. Then: they would not be together if it wasn’t for me. Therefore, my young mind concluded, I am responsible for their miserable marriage and its subsequent break-up when I was ten. Go me!
I spent the next few years wishing I had been aborted. I lived in a constant state of embarrassment at my audacity – how dare I be alive – for being a burden on other people, particularly my parents, but also my grandparents, who looked after me and my sisters while mam and dad were out at work. I became an apologist, quiet and quick to succumb to the wishes of stronger personalities. I was grateful just to be alive, so why complain when things did not go my way?
I know now that my mam and dad should have been a bit more up-front about the situation, but fucking hell, they weren’t far from kids themselves when they had me. They must have been terrified, and I think they did their best in what was an extremely tough situation, particularly given that both came from traditional, do-the-right-thing-and-marry-her-even-if-it-makes-you-miserable kind of families.
Reading Annie‘s post “Three years too late” (go read, it’s excellent) was difficult. Not because I disagree with her choice; on the contrary, I applaud her decision and think she is incredibly brave for going through with it. Over the past few years, I’ve gradually swung from being on the fence to being firmly pro-choice. However, that’s neither here nor there. The reason it upset me was because, through Annie, I saw how my mother must’ve felt at 19, her life just opening up for her, and suddenly with not a clue what she was going to do with herself. The thought of an unexpected baby and its attendant responsibilities is an overwhelming thing; I know.
It took a while to understand that what happened wasn’t my fault. They fucked (up), and I’m the consequence, but the fact that I was the champion sperm is a bit out of my hands as far as accountability goes.
The guilt is diluted by the passing years.
It wasn’t my fault*, but it has shaped who I’ve become. It doesn’t embarrass me anymore either, though it’s not something I tend to talk about, and I’ve never written about it until now.
*I know that sounds trite, like Robin Williams’ mantra that cures Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. So fucking what?
PS: Allow me to clarify something: I was not born prematurely. My naive pre-pubescent mind led me to think that my parents first had sex on their wedding night, I was conceived there and then, and was born prematurely five months later. NOT SO. My mother got pregnant with me in September, my parents married in December, and I was born in May. Just to clear that up, because I think some people took me literally.
Back in 1996, when Netscape was the king of web browsers, and the university’s 28.8k connection was considered top of the range, I got my first taste of the internet. By the internet, I of course mean porn. And by first taste, I mean I no longer had to borrow someone’s crusty second-hand Penthouse, or place reliance on the swimwear section of a clothes catalogue, to get my thrills. I can even remember using the RTE Guide* (an Irish tv guide) one time, so the www was a major leap forward in wanking technology.
Many an hour was filled in my first year at university avoiding lectures in the computer room, messing about on primitive Telnet-based “chatrooms” with my fellow nerds. Nerds because, let’s face it, the 21st century had arrived before it had become socially acceptable to use a computer.
On the rare occasions when Netscape would work, we were straight on looking for hot bitches gasping for cock. The stuff we found was relatively tame in comparison to the all-singing, horse-fisting, Mongolian-clusterfuckery you see these days. Mostly just naked women. That’s right, NAKED.
Soon the thrill of seeing these fine specimens on-screen, to be stored in the wank-bank for future transactions, was no longer sufficient. Like a hapless junkie moving up the drug ladder, I was heading towards my own private heroin: printouts.
Printing out naked women in a room full of 30 people with only one shared printer is simple. It’s not getting caught doing it that’s the difficult part. On more than one occasion, I clicked Print, only to have to abandon the precious output because some intellectual fucker popped up to the printer to collect his thesis. Better to leave it there and feign ignorance than to get caught trying to collect it. It’s like that scene in Heat when Val Kilmer’s nearly into the safe and De Niro radios him and says drop it, leave everything, drop your shit and get the fuck out of there right now. He could smell the police ambush, you see.
My police ambush came in the form of a lanky bespectacled postgraduate. An English lad, no less. What the fuck an English lad was doing in an Irish university, I’ll never know. Have they no feckin universities in England, eh? Ridiculous carry-on.
I still remember the picture, some blondie from Playboy. With several months’ experience under my belt, I’d become adept enough with the printer to be able to scale the image up to fit a full A4 page. Battle-hardened and tactically masterful, the only thing I hadn’t considered was the audacity of this random bastard.
I made it to the printer safely. I collected the printout safely. I carefully folded it in half, and in half again, to avoid detection. I walked back towards my seat, a smile breaking out on my face, just like Val Kilmer in Heat as he makes his way from the bank to the getaway car. Right before the shootout to end all shootouts kicks off.
The shootout began when this lanky fucker snatched the paper right out of my hand. “Excuse me,” he said as he looked down his nose at this heel-scraping of a first-year, his toffee-nosed inflections making me itch somewhere unscratchable, “I just want to check the quality of the toner before I do any printing.” He opened up my carefully folded page, and stared. And stared. And stared.
I burst into flames, dizzy heat bubbling from my core and flowing like lava over my skin. I felt myself prickle and knew I was redder than a Blood who’s just been taken out in a drive-by. I was rooted to the spot by twin anchors of shame and embarrassment.
Thankfully, being English**, the poor cunt was even more embarrassed than I was, and he just handed me the paper back, mumbling some sort of half-hearted apology about invasion of privacy and yes, the toner seemed to be fine.
It was a long time before I went back to the Computer Room in UCG.
Have a good weekend.
*No, not Pat Kenny. Or Gay Byrne. It might’ve been Thelma Mansfield though.
**To my English readers: I’m only coddin, ya know.
Once is enough though. If I had to go through that more than once I’d be in some state altogether.
The night I lost my virginity, I went all out. Room booked in Jury’s for my lovely girl and I*. An overnight bag was packed, containing my best shirt/jeans combo, the all-important aftershave to enhance my attractiveness, and CONDOMS BY THE TRUCKLOAD for all the riding I was gonna be doing. I had a nice bottle of wine kept cool in the bathroom sink, a lovely restaurant booked for dinner, and the Playstation hooked up to the little portable hotel tv. Perfect.
Um, what was that last bit again?
Ah, yes. I packed my Playstation, and connected it up to the television in the hotel room in which I intended to lose my virginity. Forward planning, you might call it.
The meal was delicious, but fraught with nervous anticipation. Much smalltalk was made, avoiding the elephant at all costs lest the evening disintegrate into an analysis of whether or not one’s partner was ready. No way baby. I paid for a damn hotel, like! Of course we’re ready.
Later that same evening…
After playing a bit on the Playstation (taking turns cos I only had one controller), I looked at her and asked her if she was ready. “Hang on a minute,” she replied. “I just want to finish this level.”
I drank some wine and waited. For some reason I wasn’t very horny. After several years of practice dealing the five-knuckle shuffle, here was a golden opportunity for me to take advantage of The Real Thing (© Coca-Cola): a lovely naked girl lying there, who actually wanted to have sex with me (once she’d gotten to the nearest save point), and I’m having difficulty getting a horn. For fuck’s sake. Typical.
After we closed the curtains and turned off the Playstation, things began to flow more smoothly. Well, actually, that’s not true at all. The whole evening was as awkward and contrived as you could imagine. Entirely because of me, I can assure you. At that tender age, I had not yet discovered that I would never be a member of the Kool Kids Krew, and my gangling attempts at being suave were laughable enough to ruin any kind of atmosphere the dimmed lighting may have provided.
I’ve never known a feeling as intense as the first time you make love. It’s just a pity the intense feelings I was having were ones of self-loathing and disdain for my non-existent self-control, as I felt myself start to orgasm almost as soon as I entered my poor unfortunate lover. Truly, this was an historic landmark in pathetic love-making attempts, a benchmark by which every other man could compare himself and feel truly Casanova-like about his sexual prowess. It was altruism, I tell you! I did it for men everywhere, so that they could feel good about themselves by laughing at my disgrace.
After I stopped whimpering, we spent the rest of the evening taking turns on the Playstation. I knew it would come in handy.
Thankfully, I’ve gotten a bit better at sex since that fateful night. No, honestly. It’s been almost three weeks, after all.
*She really was a lovely girl, and as far as I know she never held that night against me.
Right, back to basics. There’s been far too much blogging about blogging going on around here. This week I’m back on the straight and narrow. Sort of.
To rekindle the spirit of this blog, i.e. holding myself up to public ridicule by recounting my uneventful life, I’ve decided to post some of my more memorable embarrassing moments. One a day, for a week, or for as long as I’ve got fodder to fuel the theme.
Incidentally (incidental to nothing in particular), I know it’s not big or clever to make sex jokes about children’s stories, but I saw a picture today in Erin’s Little Mermaid book where Ariel is rescuing yer man from drowning, and it’s just begging for a suggestive comment about a strap-on:
Observe the face full of dirty satisfaction on her. The poor lad, he’ll wake up wishing he’d drowned.
Now that you’re feeling appropriately awkward, I feel more comfortable telling this story.
In my younger days, I was a sucker. Trick it up any way you want, say I was trusting, generous, good-natured, whatever; the bottom line is, I let myself be taken advantage of all the time. No, not sexually. Don’t be so disgusting.
Case in point: my friend Johnny used to have a paper round, delivering the Galway Advertiser around Woodquay and the bottom of Bohermore. He used to get £9.75 for delivering 200 papers. We split the delivery 50/50. Guess how much he paid me for my 50% contribution? A pound.
Yes, a feckin pound. See, that’s the kind of lad I was. Don’t blame Johnny, he was just being entrepreneurial. I, on the other hand, was practicing hard at being a damn pushover.
You know what teenagers are like. Uncomfortable erections abound, appearing during the unlikeliest events, not necessarily predicated on anything sexual. At mass, for example. Or at the end of a swimming lesson when the instructor is telling everyone to get out of the pool and you’re the only one left and he’s shouting at you to get out but there’s no way you can just yet.
One Thursday (it was definitely a Thursday because that’s when the Advertiser comes out), I was out helping Johnny, delivering in an area called Hidden Valley, a place the old-timers used to call Sickeen. Hidden Valley’s a very steep hill, well-known by learner drivers as a bastard of a place to have to do a hill start. (Note to Americans: Hill starts can be tricky when you drive a car with manual transmission. The old clutch/accelerator combo.)
That day, I walked Hidden Valley from top to bottom with an erection poking out of my trousers.
Yes, out of my trousers. Not just out of my boxers. It was a triple whammy. Not only did I get an awkward and uncomfortable walking erection, my lad then somehow escaped the confines of my underwear, and to add insult to self-inflicted injury, the gods conspired to undo my zip at the same time. End result was John Thomas out on show for a good three minutes or so.
Your questions answered (I’m preempting you here):
Kav, how the fuck did you not notice your dick was sticking out for so long?
Well, it was a warm day – so mild that the temperature differential between my crotch and the outside air was negligible. It was also flat calm – nary a breeze stirred to caress my massive specimen. I had no warning signals. The first I knew of it was when I looked down and saw the head of my lad winking away at me.
So what did you do once you noticed?
There was this girl who’d been looking at me from her bedroom window as I walked down the hill. She was wearing this sheer babydoll lingerie, and as I looked up, she beckoned, moving her finger in a come-hither gesture. I called to her house and from out of nowhere, this funky guitar music started playing, the waw-waw in full effect. She guided me into the house, not by the hand if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, yahyah ya know what I mean like, and she immediately dropped to her knees –
Okay, okay. It would’ve been pretty cool if that did happen though. What really happened was, I stuffed JT back into his cotton prison, and walked back to meet Johnny like John Wayne with a dose of the scuts.
Okay, the girl was not real, but surely somebody must’ve seen it? It happened in broad daylight during rush-hour, for God’s sake!
As far as I know, nobody was lucky enough to feast their eyes on him. Some workmen in a Transit van drove past around the time I noticed, but they gave no indication they’d seen anything. And stop calling me Shirley.
How psychologically damaged were you by the incident?
Pretty badly at the time. I was not a confident teenager, so an episode like that worked like semtex on my ego. I can laugh and blog about it now though, so that’s all that matters.
Be honest now: is this a true story?
This one is 100% true.
Here’s a five-step guide to switching from Blogger to WordPress, should you be so inclined. Bock asked for this the other day, to help technolepers such as himself retain all their limbs in the transition. Have no fear, it’s easy.
WordPress is free to use, and is far more user-friendly than Blogger. Also, you don’t get any of the pain-in-the-hole glitches of Blogger, like swallowing posts/comments you’re working on.
- Go here and sign up. Make sure you select the “Gimme a blog” option. Activate the account via the email address you provide.
- Log in here and then change your password to something you’ll remember. The interface is very user-friendly.
- Click on “Manage” on the uppermost toolbar, then click “Import” on the toolbar that appears below this. Select the option to import posts, comments, and users from a Blogger blog – see screenshot:
- Authorise the import by following the prompts. Once a link is established, your blog will be imported automatically. I suggest running the import two or three times. I had a few stray comments and such that weren’t picked up until a third run-through, but the process is more or less seamless.
- Sort out your profile, blogroll and template.
You can also customise the style of your blog template by playing with the CSS. However, this costs $15 a year.
I hope some of you find this useful. Normal bollicky shitetalk will resume shortly.
*with many thanks to Tom Raftery for this bit of info.
I had a close call on Wednesday after work. In a fifteen-minute window between trains, I left the station to get some Valentine’s gifts, and almost got done for fraud:
With only fifteen minutes to make my purchases, I run down Glasgow’s Argyle Street until my shoes are melted leather, trying to find somewhere that sells flowers. Pushing my way past windows red with false promises, weaving through crowds of eager pleasers desperate to trade currency for possibility, my bond with these people is the threat of an expectation that can never be met. Or so the shops will have you think.
It could be New Year’s Eve; you can smell the anti-climax in the air.
No flower shops. Fuck fuck fuck. There’s Matalan. I’ll try in there.
Matalan’s a clothes shop. What the fuck am I doing? Ten minutes ’til the train arrives. Screw it, she’s getting clothes instead of flowers.
I pick out a top and trouser combo that I think looks nice, knowing full well she’ll take them back. What the hell do I know about picking women’s clothes? Still, better this than to turn up at home empty-handed.
I join the queue and pull out my card to pay. It’s actually Linzi’s card, from our joint account, but with the advent of chip and pin, nobody checks the cards anymore. I’ve gotten away with using her card dozens of times since the ATM swallowed mine a while back. Black thoughts about what bastards banks are fill my already-fraught mind as I approach the cashier.
Six minutes until the train. It’s the greatest con the banks have ever pulled on the public to say that chip and pin increases security. Much easier to get a pin than it is to learn to forge a signature. And the blame lies squarely with the cardholder if someone steals your pin. Win/win for the banks. Cunts.
I step forward and think FUCK! I’d forgotten, you need a membership card to buy stuff in Matalan. I don’t have mine. “No problem,” the girl says, flashing me a circuit-board smile, long since disconnected from her eyes through overuse. “I’ll just look up your details on the computer.”
Four minutes to go. I can’t miss this train. We’ve been arguing a lot recently. She’ll think I’m being petulant.
The cashier finds my details. I push my card into the reader and wait, panther-like, for the machine to tell me to enter my pin. As soon as the LCD screen flashes, my fingers dance over the digits and I hit Enter. Nothing happens. “Oh, jings, looks like the reader’s frozen. I’ll need to cancel that transaction and put it through again” she says as she hands me a receipt confirming that the transaction has indeed been cancelled.
Two minutes. Please Enter Your PIN.
BASTARD CUNTY FUCKER! The reader’s frozen again. “Hmmm…I’ll need to get the head cashier down to sort this for you. We can probably just override the chip and pin function and get you to sign for the transaction. Sorry about this, I don’t know what’s wrong with that thing!” she smiles, saccharine spilling from her well-trained mouth. Liar. She’s not sorry. Look at those brown eyes, rusty coils of apathy.
I’m trying not to panic. I could maybe attempt Linzi’s signature, but the “Ms” on the card would give me away regardless. “Look, I’ll just need to leave it. Sorry, but I’ve got a train to catch in less than two minutes – I don’t have time to wait to get this sorted. Sorry – can you just cancel the transaction please?” I say as I snatch the card out of the reader, and by the time I finish talking I’m practically running out the door. Guilty? Moi?
It’s times like this I wish I was smooth. This wouldn’t happen to Daniel Craig. He would’ve just killed the cashier, bloodlessly slitting her throat with his card, and then walked out with the clothes.
Needless to say, I miss the train. However, this gives me plenty of time to go and find the tulips and underwear. I make bloody sure I go to the ATM first though. It’s cold hard cash for me from now on. Well, until I get my own card sorted.
Linzi gave out to me last night for not doing anything to tell people to vote for me in the Irish Blog Awards. Usual story, lack self-belief, and blah blah blah. Since I had already voted for others, she voted for me, bless her soul. Anyway, I’ll get a load of grief from her if I don’t say this, so hey everyone, vote for me. I am the best Irish blogger living in Scotland in the entire world.
I’m in for Best Newcomer, Best Personal Blog and Most Humorous Post. Voting closes today, so if you are thinking about voting, do it now. You don’t necessarily need to vote for me, although I am the best, so if you don’t vote for me, you’ve got it wrong. And look, if you vote, you could win a Home Premium Edition of Windows Vista. Woooooh! Didn’t he do well?
Behold! After much deliberation, I nominated these folks for the 2007 Irish Blog Awards:
Arse End of Ireland. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m biased for nominating a fellow Galwegian, but a glance at her blog will tell you why I’m not alone in thinking she’s the hottest shit to hit the streets of Blogland since Twenty Major started sticking it to the man. Hot shit is a good thing, by the way.
Best Blog Post
Where do you get your smoke from? I’ll say no more on this young wan. She’ll float off if her head swells any bigger.
Most Humorous Post
Countdown to Next Election. Despite objecting to being labelled as a wannabe by Brenda Power (Irish journalist) for commenting on his blog, I must admit there are few who come close to this man’s (or woman’s, who knows?) ability to induce snot-splattering laughter with those incisive observations.
Best Photo Blog
Red Mum. Discovered Red Mum via the awards longlist. Great photography, and the posts are excellent too.
Best Arts and Culture Blog
Sinéad Gleeson. A great blog full of all the cultural stuff that I am too damn uneducated to know about. Interspersed with personal posts that give you a wee glimpse into her life, Sinéad recently announced her pregnancy, something made even more special by the stuff she’s had to go through over the past few years. Go read.
Best Political Blog
Irish Election. One-stop shop for all Irish politics stuff.
Best Group Blog
In Fact, Ah. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Whether it’s fluff or serious bidness they’re tackling, these lads are always entertaining.
Best Personal Blog
Annie Rhiannon. Dry. Witty. Self-deprecating. Just like a good bottle of wine. I love me some Annie.
Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere
Tom Raftery. I discovered Tom’s blog during my scan of the Blog Award nominees. Hugely knowledgeable, and has a great ability to communicate techy stuff in a way that doesn’t scare off the not-so-savvy. A great source of shiny new info and linkage too.
Best Tech Blogger
Tom Raftery For reasons outlined above.
Best Designed Blog
Unlaoised. Gerry seems like the kind of lad you could happily have a pint and a blather with in real life (while complimenting him on his new(ish) blog).
Best Sport and Recreation Blog
In Fact, Ah. Comprehensive and amusing analysis and speculation.
Best News/Current Affairs Blog
For once, I’m not bored out my skull when reading about Northern Irish politics. That’s a compliment, JC. Honest.
Best Specialist Blog
Irish KC. King of deadpan, blink-and-you’ll-miss-the-joke comedy, Eolaí never fails to make me laugh. Okay, the KC info is useless to me, but I reckon if I lived there, his site would be like a bible. Except I would read it.
Bock the Robber. Take a browse through this lunatic’s archive. Bock is the ranter’s ranter, and he knows that I mean that in the best possible way. With his prolific output, you’re bound to find something to make you snort with laughter.
Best Business Blog
Argolon. Because I like Conor.
Best Music Blog
Nialler9. Niall’s a fecker, in that he makes me feel old, because I remember when I used to know all the latest bands and such. Seriously though, his passion for music really shines through and that’s what makes his blog a must-read.
Scientology. Little-known blogger Twenty Major is the funniest fucker around, regardless of the medium.
Having said all this, I’d like to point out that the real winner here is me, for discovering so many fantastic blogs this year.
Heh, I’ve been waiting for ages to say that line. Good luck to all the nominees. Especially me.
Well, seems a few of you found the new blog – thanks for stopping by. Too busy for a post right now so here’s some answers to your comments.
I bought flowers. Tulips, as it happens. Tulips have a special meaning to Linzi so major points were scored there. See also: the underwear I bought in La Senza.
Before you say anything, I’m not a sucker. When I got home, there were candles lit and a special dinner was made and I got a box of Lindor and a home-made Valentine’s card from my girls, so I would’ve looked a total piece of shit if I’d shown up empty-handed.
See, swallowing your pride practically guarantees a shag.
Flutt: Red tulips. Black roses are awful hard to come by, you know.
Kim: No, there’s a tool in WordPress that uploads all your Blogger stuff automatically. I had to run it three times to capture everything, but apart from that it’s pretty good.
Sassy: You can be as cheap as you like – WordPress is free. It only costs money if you want to go playing about with CSS, or add a domain, and even then it’s very cheap – only $15 a year.
John: It took me three days of messing about. If you’ve only got an hour, you’ll pick up most of what you need to do.
Voice of Treason: Damn glad I did mate!
Conan: I did, I did, and the jigacting was worth caving for. Blogger’s been annoying me for ages – poor interface and very restricted in terms of the control you have over your own site.
Sinéad: I did indeed! Thank you for the link.
Annie: See Conan. 😉 Flowers purchased. Great value.
Eolaí: Thou art a braver man than I.
Gaijin girl: ‘Twas a close call, but the flowers won out over the poo. Just.
Sweary: Curses. Lucky for us, we got all the arguing out of the way in the week leading up to that Hallmarkiest of Hallmark holidays.
Primal: Thanks. I know, it’s like re-emigrating. And yes, I’ve been doing a bit of work in the background, so you will probably get a bunch of false positives. Sorry ’bout that, but it has to be done.
irishflirtysomething: I went for red tulips. Red tulips were the first flower I gave her when she moved to Ireland back in 2000. You can’t say that’s not romantic. Swish.
Lately, Linzi and I have been arguing like two dissimilar species of animal (for example, cats and dogs). For no apparent reason, at least none that either of us can put our finger on. I can’t be arsed with any of this romantic bullshit today. I went to bed before her last night and left the house this morning without saying anything to her. (She was asleep.) I have an hour left before I leave work.
I bet I cave and buy flowers I can’t afford on the way home.
I’ve only ever been fired from one job. I was 16, and it was my first. I worked in the school – three of us (with two subs), for a couple of hours each evening, would sweep out classrooms and corridors and whatnot. During the holidays, we painted and scraped chewing gum off the floors for £2 an hour. I still remember the Friday of my first 35-hour week, walking home and tearing open and sniffing the brown envelope with £70 in crisp notes inside – the stink of being rich.
Easter, 1995. We looked forward to a couple of weeks of raking in the dough as the school holidays kicked in. The janitor, Tom, seemed to think I had a sensible head on my shoulders, so he put me in charge of the team. The fuckin eejit. I, of course, reacted as any young fool given a bit of responsibility would react: I let the power go straight to my head and became as corrupt as Charlie Haughey’s writing hand.
It started small. Giving the classrooms a quick lick instead of carefully lifting all the desks and sweeping under them. Stealing biccies (Custard Creams and those dry crumbly ones with the burnt raisins in them) from the stores. Calling down to the lads who ran the tuck shop and nabbing a few bars or some crisps.
Practical jokes abounded. On normal days, there were three of us working, one person per floor, and we were more or less left to get on with it. Tom the janitor would occasionally do surprise patrols, but for the most part we had the dim after-school corridors to ourselves. Perfect for scaring the shite out of your co-workers. Sneak up the stairs, slither down the corridor, then scream like a priest in a room full of girls as poor oul Dennis emerges from the classroom, pushing his broom ahead of him.
The best bit was when we had to clear out an old part of the school. It used to be a monastery, back when Irish people were religious. One of our jobs was to dump a whole pile of skanky single-bed mattresses that had been sitting, dust-laden, since Christ pulled up his first pair of britches. However, we decided that our purposes would be better served by assembling the mattresses in a pile in the middle of an unused classroom – two stacks, six mattresses high – and then leaping from the teacher’s platform for a delightful soft landing.
It was the closest thing we had to bungee jumping in Galway. Most lunchtimes would find us blaring Rage Against the Machine on the old tape deck and leaping onto the mattresses. Then someone (I don’t know if it was me or one of the others) took it to the next level. To the extreme. The absolute Pepsi Max. Word.
There was a cabinet about ten feet tall at the edge of the teacher’s podium, which housed a tv/video combo in its upper half. We discovered that we could climb up on top of this, and leap, leap like the wind! halfway across the room, before landing gracefully in the pile of horrible mattresses.
It was fucking brilliant. Never mind your feckin bungee jumping and kitesurfing, we were the real extreme sports pioneers. Mattress lepping.
You know what’s coming. Yeah, I took it too far. Just like in a film, one day I said “Lads, watch this!” and shoved myself off the edge of the cabinet, a leap of unprecedented mightiness that left me gliding through the air just as the mental part of Bullet in the Head kicked in.
“Holy fuck, it’s gonna go!” I heard someone say as I joyously hit the mattresses.
My joy turned to shit running down my leg as I arched backwards to see the enormous tv cabinet totter once, twice, and then fall towards the floor. Remember that scene in Titanic when the whole ship is up in the air and then it breaks in two and half of it comes crashing down? Well, this was worse. In a stroke of outrageous fortune, Brian and Dennis happened to be standing either side of the cabinet as it fell, so they were able to get a hold of it and prevent it turning to tinder.
They couldn’t stop the tv though.
The momentum of the cabinet forced the tv to slide forward behind the cabinet doors, so as soon as Brian and Dennis halted the cabinet’s fall, the telly came crashing through the doors and propelled itself towards the floor. It was saved from explosive impact at the last possible second, when the power cable snapped taut from inside the cabinet and whipped the worst out of the fall. However, one corner of the tv did hit the floor with a fair crack, hard enough to damage it beyond repair.
Know Your Enemy had started playing by the time we stuffed the tv back in. That was the end of extreme mattressing.
Surprisingly, I didn’t get fired for that little incident. To this day, only the guys I worked with know that I was responsible for a certain teacher’s embarrassment some months later, when the video he’d brought in for the boys that day was unplayable and he had to ad lib his class. My blog is my confession.
I got fired because the janitor’s wife spotted me and my mate Paul dressing up as aliens. Aliens from space! Tom the janitor had ordered in some new mop heads so we could put some fancy new polish on the floors or some shit. Fuck. That. Paul and I carefully donned the mop heads – passable wigs, they made – and then wrapped ourselves in black bin bags, using masking tape to hold them in place. We climbed into the metal bin holder frame-things normally used to secure bin bags while we filled them up. I’m telling you, we wouldn’t have looked out of place on Doctor Who.
Tom appeared from nowhere while we walked the corridors in our garb, making robotic noises just like yer man from Police Academy. In our child-like naivete (we were but children, after all), we decided running from him would be the best tactic, so we shook off the bin holders and sprinted up the stairs. The second floor was covered with desks which had been pulled out of all the classrooms while they were getting painted. Perfect cover.
Needless to say, I was caught, hauled out, and given my marching orders. Paul kept his job because he was still technically in his area – I was in another building, across a road, from where I should’ve been working.
I kept to the straight and narrow after that. I wasn’t able for such a crazy lifestyle.
In the midst of some banter and jigacting with me at the weekend, Linzi uttered the discomfiting words “You’d make a hopeless rapist.”
She was trying to be nice, but I’m not sure how much comfort can be drawn from such a sentiment.
The past few weeks’ physical labour has drained me of almost all creative juices, and has left me struggling to come up with any decent fodder for the blog. So when I read this weekend that I’d been longlisted in some categories at the Irish Blog Awards, I wondered how I might inspire people to vote for me. Yer man, Braveheart Gibson, him what killed all the Jews, he was a good one for inspiring people. I’m more of a “they may take our freedom, as long as they leave us plenty to eat and access to the PS2” kind of guy. Not a good way to be when these things are all about bigging yourself up.
Being up at half-past five on Saturday morning (Jack decided to wake extra-early because he knew Daddy was feckin exhausted) was made that much more bearable by logging on to find that I’ve been nominated in three categories: Most Humorous Post for this, Best Personal Blog and Best Newcomer. I am surprised and grateful to whoever voted for me – thanks very much. Even though I requested that you vote for Sweary rather than me, doesn’t mean I wasn’t flattered to see my name in there. It just means that nobody listens to me.
I don’t have a very big readership, but many of you who do stop by tend to comment. This never fails to keep me entertained – the comments are more fun than the post itself. Keep it up, and meanwhile, in the spirit of democracy, let’s have a dance to celebrate:
I’m honoured to be among such esteemed company as Annie, Twenty Major, Conor, FatMammyCat, Bock, JC Skinner, Dario, Devin, Nat King Coleslaw, The Rambling Man, Old Knudsen, Manuel, Eolaí, Grandad, Blogorrah, and of course fellow arse-ender, the excellent Swearing Lady. Please, direct your votes their way. I don’t want my mammy finding out about my blog. Besides, my shelves are already full of virtual awards.