It’s my last day of work tomorrow, and inevitably there will be one of those awkward presentation things, at the end of which I will be forced to give a meaningless speech about how much I enjoyed working with everyone. Anyone got any advice on how to inject a bit of humour into this unpleasantness?
Oh, and it’d be remiss of me not to mention Linzi’s Race for Life thing, seeing as you were so generous, and it happened almost a full week ago. Oops. She’s said her own thank you here, but I just wanted to echo it to specifically thank anyone who contributed on the back of reading this blog. £515, people! You guys kick arse.
On the night of the race, I was roped into signing up for the 10k being held in October, so I might come begging to you again in a few months time. If nothing else, that run will give me a bit of motivation to get back in shape. It’d be nice to raise a bit of money too, I suppose.
Anyway, the main bit’s my leaving speech. Get your thinking shillelaghs out and whack yerselves over the head a few times. I’m looking for scintillating, razor-sharp wit, which I know you all have in abundance. Hit me with your best badoom-boom-tish lines so I can steal them tomorrow afternoon.
Option 6 again.
“Hello, I’d like to sort out a simple piece of business please.”
“Sorry, sir, you’ll have to phone our employee helpline – the number is whateverthefuck.”
Your business is important to us, please hold.
Okay? Now hold a bit longer.
Right then, we’ll have you now.
“Hello, I can’t speak English, how may I help you?”
“Hello, I’d like to sort out a simple piece of business please. I was referred to you by your delightful customer representatives.”
“Sorry sir, we don’t hold that information. You need to call someotherfuckingnumber to get the details on that.”
“Hello, I have a bad fucking attitude and it’s a testament to this company’s abysmal recruitment processes that they gave me a customer-facing role, how can I do anything to avoid helping you today?”
“Hello, I’d like to sort out a simple piece of business please. I was referred to you by your employee helpline, who were referred to me by your delightful customer representatives.”
“Sorry sir, we don’t hold that information, you need to call thesamefuckingnumberyoucalledinthefirstplace and select Option 6, and then Option 6 again to get what you need.”
“No, listen to me: that’s the same number I dialled in the first place. I’ve been passed from pillar to post all morning and I am getting nowhere. I need to get this situation rectified. Can you help me in any way?”
“Alright then. You cunt.”
I have repeated the above scenario three times this morning. I am ready to slam my head off the fucking desk, I’m so angry. I finally got a different number, which is on perpetual hold as I type this.
Why the fuck can these cunts not do their job properly?
Later: You know, doing the work I do, I know exactly why these cunts can’t do their job properly. It’s because they have half a dozen legacy applications, each containing slightly different information about you, and none of them have interfaces to share this information. It’s all standalone. Is it any wonder the poor call centre gobshites haven’t a clue what’s going on?
Linzi’s always had a healthy appetite. It’s something I find attractive in a lady. If I’m sitting there horsing into an enormous steak (mmm…meat), the last thing I want to see is someone sitting opposite me pecking at lettuce and pushing spuds around their plate. Food helps us bond.
In fact, our first date was in a restaurant. “Would you like to go out for food some time?” I asked her. “Food?” she replied, “That’s my favourite!”
We knew we were meant to be together when we ordered a side of onion rings that came out on a spike three feet high, with the rings towered on it like one of those Fisher-Price stacker things.
Together we scoffed the lot, and I knew I’d met my soul mate. I almost came at the table.
Linzi recalls the first time we went to the cinema (The Blair Witch Project, back when it was just released in the US and everyone thought it was real). She missed whole chunks of the film, so intently was she staring at me – aghast and admiring at once – as I robotically, hand to mouth, devoured a full large-size popcorn. This was in America, remember, where a large portion of anything would feed 30 Ethiopians for a fortnight.
You can imagine my delight, therefore, upon arriving home yesterday evening, to be reminded that it was Linzi’s mother’s 70th birthday and we were all going out for something to eat. “Food!” I cried, “My favourite!”
And a fine meal it was too.
Until the end. Turns out Linzi had to make up a £15 shortfall in the bill because, ahem, certain other people hadn’t chipped in for things like coffee, garlic bread and the like. Okay, it’s only fifteen quid, but it’s the principle of the thing, innit?
Pah! Pah, I say!
The family in happier times (ie five minutes before the bill arrived)
I’m not sure of my bro-in-law’s feelings on net anonymity, but I didn’t want to ask his permission to post this, so I just spray-painted their heads. They’re all very attractive though, underneath the black masks of doom.
Note to Manuel: If you want to drastically reduce your chances of getting a tip, make sure you cut my first-born child out of the photo we ask you to take.
Sometimes something can be affecting you so fundamentally that you’re unable (unwilling?) to recognise its effects until you are forced to. So it is this week with work. I’m only now realising how much my ambition has been sapped by staying here for so long. I just can’t be bothered with anything anymore.
Self-esteem is low because I associate feeling good with achievement, and I’ve achieved fuck-all in recent months, unless you count Xbox360 achievements. Which I don’t.
I disregard letters. I let them build up, fully aware that I will get extremely agitated when there’s a pile of stuff sitting there for me to sort out. Then, surprisingly, I get extremely agitated, and angry with myself for letting the stuff pile up, but not angry enough to do anything. It’s the purest apathy I’ve ever felt, and I’m pissing myself off no end.
The anger subsides, and I sweep away the paperwork. You know, there are things I dealt with this week that have been hanging over me since March. Took half an hour to sort out, once I bothered my hole to look at them. Stupid. So fucking stupid.
I’m tired. All the time. My diet is shit, and I feel flabby.
I am fully fucking aware that all of this, everything that’s bothering me, is easily within my control to fix, but still I do nothing. I want to kick my own arse, but I can’t be arsed.
Sure, there are outside things, like the fact that I haven’t had a night out alone with my wife for nearly six months. Can’t get bogged down in that, that stuff’s out of my control. It’s this. There’s no excuse for me not taking responsibility for the stuff I can sort myself.
I’m hoping it’s just work that has drained me like this, and that the start of the new job will bounce me back to the way I used to be. Seriously, if I was reading this post on someone else’s blog, my comment would be “quit whining, you moaning cunt, and do something about it”. That’s why I’m turning comments off for this post*. I know what I need to do better than anyone. I just can’t bring myself to do it these days.
*why bother posting at all unless you want attention, you ask? For me, this blog’s as much a record of my life as anything else. I don’t want to forsake the bad stuff, but I don’t really want to dwell on it either.
MTV UK this week announced plans for a reality tv show observing the lives of prostitutes as they hustle to survive on the streets of London. Ride my Pimp will be a gritty slice of realism following five sexy dames on the game, hosted by Pimp My Ride UK frontman Tim Westwood.
Westwood, who was recently described in People magazine as “a total fucking joke”, had this to say about his new venture: “Eeeh it’s ya bwoi Westwood ‘ere wit da finest honeys in London ready to be maxin’ out on the d-low wit ya bwoi Westwood til the break of dawn, cos I be pimpin it like fresh toast bringin it to ya with tha Big Dawg flava. Holla!”
Linguists admit they haven’t a fucking clue what Westwood was on about.
The show is in the process of finalising its contestants, each of whom is being selected based on how horrendous her background is. A shortlist of ten whores will be cut to five after careful analysis to ensure the right mix of “mismatched, comically dissimilar personalities sure to be at each other’s throats within minutes of meeting one another” is selected.
The five contestants, who MTV recently announced will have serious drug habits to feed, will spend six gruelling weeks competing for tricks in south London. The whore who has turned the most tricks at the end of each show gets the opportunity to ride her pimp without protection, and also pockets her full week’s earnings pimp-tax-free. The losing contestants must make up this shortfall in the pimp’s earnings by handing over everything they’ve earned to their pimp, which is sure to spark friction between the contestants as the weeks pass.
The overall winner at the end of the series will be provided with a year’s supply of premium-quality China White heroin.
The announcement of Ride my Pimp comes days after Channel 4 announced their latest reality venture, a behind-the-scenes, no-holds-barred look at the lives of the creators of reality tv shows, as they struggle to come up with new reality tv shows in an already-saturated market. A spokesperson for C4 said “We’re really stuck for ideas” before returning to his plush office, where he spent the rest of the afternoon with a dead horse which he took great pleasure in whipping.
Well, what would you rather watch? I’ll stick to the wholesome stuff.
Last week of work. Sniffle. You’re welcome to join me for pints this coming Friday, if you’re around the south side of Glasgow. I’ll be the one with the eyes looking in two different directions being carried by my irritated colleagues.
You know how on tv you always see people walking out of work for the last time with a cardboard box with their personal items in it? I’ve always wondered what was in those boxes, and today I got to find out. It’s stuff from your desk, you see. Pictures and all that. Imagine that.
After clearing everything away, my desk looks barren and sterile, like –
No, I can’t do it. I was going to make a joke about someone’s womb there, but I can’t bring myself to. There’s a line.
Fuck lads, it’s all happening. I read, but was too tied up in things to respond to, all your comments over the weekend. You lot crack me up. You should go and read them, because in this I have nothing.
I’m not one for the drama of “Look at me, I’m giving up blogging”, but I do feel a bit pissed off that as of next week when I start the new job, I’m going to have to seriously curtail things around here. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post, and as for commenting on other blogs, shite, who knows.
I have a small boat, with a little outboard engine. The little outboard engine has a 5-gallon petrol tank. The petrol tank has a pressure valve. You have to periodically open the valve to prevent the build-up of petrol vapours so that the tank doesn’t explode in a raging fireball that kills you and your whole family.
Yes, yes, this blog is my pressure valve. Bet you didn’t see that coming. What I’m saying though, is if I can’t post, I might explode like a raging fireball and kill myself and my whole family.
I told you I wasn’t one for drama.
There I was in Asda (a division of Wal*Mart, they proudly tell us), having a scan of the books before starting the soul-destroying traipse around the aisles with the cream of Motherwell scum. Or maybe it was the scum of Motherwell cream. I forget. Whoever they are, you can’t even go from Bread to Baking without hearing some haggard skank of a mother rasping “Kate-linnnnnn! Leave that man alone and get back o’er tae this fackin trolley or Ah’ll kick yer cunt in!”.
That lot are bearable – after all, I’ve been living here nearly five years now. I’m practically one of them. I look forward to the day when I have to manhandle Jack roughly while roaring at him that I’m going to kick his cunt in. I just hope I don’t tear up too much with the emotion of it all.
I’ll tell you what got my blood boiling, for some reason I’m still having trouble working out. You know those stories about one child’s struggle in the face of adversity? A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer and so forth. Well, did you know that there is now a whole genre, a full fucking section! of these kinds of books written by people about their childhoods of abuse and torture? It’s even got its own name, but I was in such a rage I can’t remember it. Abuselit, maybe.
Now, I’m not annoyed with Dave Pelzer himself, that was just an example. I’ve read his books, and they’re horrific and uplifting. He was a trailblazer, and I believe his intentions were honourable: he wanted to tell his story to offer hope to the hopeless and hapless. He had no idea he’d become a worldwide best seller.
I can’t help but be cynical about all that’s followed though. Sure, you get the “I just wanted to tell the true story of my horrendous life so people could know they’re not alone” spiel, but I have trouble believing that. It may be partly true, but tell me they didn’t have one eye on the bestsellers list and the pots of dough waiting to be made by playing on people’s guilty empathy.
Hello, Agent? My life’s got the right mix of ingredients to bake a weeping, weepy pie of woe. These days? Well, I’m a successful cheese mechanic with a loving family, so I think that gives you your cherry of hope on top. And the publishers provide someone to help me bake the pie? Great.
Then each slice goes on sale for £6.99 in Borders and they cry all the way to the bank.
Sensible people know that life is a series of crushing disappointments spackled with brief respites to allow you to gather the strength to keep going until the next disappointment. Do we have to wallow in it though? Okay, laughter may not be the best medicine – try saying that to a breast cancer patient being denied Herceptin and see how far it gets you – but why are these fucking books so popular? Why do people get off so much on the triumphant child phoenix rising from the flames of parental torment? Are people not sick and tired of inspirational true-life stories about overcoming adversity in the face of overwhelming odds? Will I ask any more questions in this paragraph?
Look, I know hating those books is pointless and childish, I do. But I still fucking hate them.
Julian Gough wrote a brilliant essay recently about the decline of comedy (with thanks to Badgerdaddy for the link) and why modern writing must be tragic to be considered to be of literary merit. Go and read it – it’s long but well worth it.
I’m telling you, I’m tempted to write a comedy book taking the piss out of my terrible childhood just out of spite. Maybe I’ll start a new genre. Hilariabuselit or something.
Not that I was abused, mind you.
Ever had that “oh fuck, no no no” moment where you send an email you didn’t intend to send? Yesterday afternoon I was picking through a draft email, censoring the swear words – our detection software is sensitive to even the most ridiculous words – when Linzi phoned. During our call I absent-mindedly clicked send, and off it went, uncensored.
Two seconds later I got a red-flag mail through saying that my email had been quarantined and would be investigated for profane content. My whole body went rigid, stutter-shook as a glut of adrenaline ejaculated into my bloodstream. Stupid stupid stupid fucking idiot. I’m not joking when I say that the contents of that mail were enough to lose me my job and quite possibly my career in what I do – news travels fast among our kind, it’s all a bit incestuous. For example, in my new job, of our two external auditors, one of them is a former team-mate and the other is a former boss. There’s no escape.
However, I have a Get Out of Jail Free card for these situations – I work with the lads in IT Security, the only team in the company with access to the profanity folder. If they weren’t excellent, upstanding employees, they might be the kind of lads who lock the door on their office every Friday afternoon to review the folder and get all the juicy gossip from around the company, like discovering who’s a lesbian and you’d never have thought it. Thankfully they are all decent, honourable guys and they never, ever do anything like this. I am extremely fortunate that they were willing to afford me some discretion and allow access to their profanity folder to delete the offending item. No questions asked, and now it’s gone, and I’ve had an overdue shock to the system about the risks of using email.
If you work in an office, make yourself a friend in IT. They come in handy.
So, have you ever sent anything accidental or otherwise regrettable by email? Or text message, for that matter. Same rules apply.
I can’t believe the response from my begging yesterday – over £130 has been contributed by you lot to Linzi’s fund for the Race for Life. This generosity is staggering and is appreciated more than I can convey. Linzi gives hugs and all that girly crap to everyone. Thank you so much.
Later that same evening: £233 from blog readers! Jaysis lads. I might start up a “Pay for a holiday for Kav” fund.
I’m a nice guy. Always have been. Ask my friends or co-workers to describe me, and I guarantee you one of the first adjectives they’ll use will be “nice”. I’m the guy women can talk to, open up to. I’m like a brother to them, you see. Non-threatening. One of the lads, but also a sensitive bastard. A shoulder to cry on for girls in between fuck-buddies. Oh yes, yes, tell me again about how terrible it is for you being with that guy, I don’t have any feelings for you myself at all. No, of course I’m not thinking about taking you from behind here in the college library, I really am just here for you as a friend.
When the summer of 1999 rolled around, I had lived out my teenage years and was sick and tired of always being Nice Guy Kavvy. By that time, I had somehow managed to bag myself a lovely girlfriend, and was having the time of my life at university. Several months before, a bunch of us got loans and spent a fortune on J1 Visas so we could spend a debauched summer in the US. Though I didn’t know it, and only came to realise it as I thought about this post, I spent the months leading up to that summer working myself up to burying Nice Guy Kav and playing the role of Kav the Bastard with as many
slappers girls as possible.
As soon as I left my tear-soaked girl and family at Departures in Shannon Airport, I was intent on reinventing myself for an America that knew nothing of me. No small-town preconceptions to hold me back because nobody cared where I was from or what I’d done; yes, despite cosmetic pretensions of big-city savoir-faire in the gaping jaws of the Celtic Tiger, Galway was still a small town at heart, a shadowy beast that thrived on gossip and nepotism. Still does. I, though, could be whoever and whatever I wanted, in the land of the free and the home of the slave.
You can’t reinvent yourself overnight. You start small. We sat one warm salty evening on the Boardwalk in Wildwood and all I did was say hello to some girls. Unremarkable, except in my head, where I’d had to work myself up to it for half an hour.
It helped that American girls were so forthcoming. In my (limited) experience, Irish women are painfully reticent in expressing their interest, so I was constantly left uncertain of their desires and motives. Were they into me, or just having a laugh? No such worries with the Americans.
“Damn girl, he is hot! Hey baby!” a girl proclaimed one day as I wandered to work in my gay khaki shorts/jeans shirt uniform. I said nothing, because truthfully, it took me a while to process that it was me they were talking about. Made my day, that did.
You don’t need a blow-by-blow (heh) account – suffice to say that my first six weeks as I-really-don’t-give-a-shite-about-your-feelings Kav was very successful. I two-timed. I even three-timed. I caused girls to argue about me. One of them did that head movement/fingerwag combo that black women do on Ricki Lake. It was fucking brilliant. I was almost cocky.
Then I met Linzi, and she stripped me back to myself with a single look. I felt foolish and vulnerable in front of her, like a man playing himself on stage. I was me but not me. To bring myself to talk to her, I needed the confidence of my new persona, but to get her to like me, I had to be myself. I spotted her on the day she started work on the pier, and found her a few nights later in a club. I was sober, having just finished my shift, but I took the plunge regardless and started chatting to her. I was secretly delighted when she wouldn’t let things go further than a snog.
After she blanked me a couple of days later on the pier, ostensibly because she wanted nothing to do with me, when in reality she was just paranoid because she felt she looked a state, I resolved that if I didn’t say something to her, I’d always regret it. The next time we met, I took her aside and told her I was into her and wanted to see her. I said we only had the summer, so there was no time to fuck about playing games. She agreed. We’ve been together since.
She fell in love with me, and for a while, I was really afraid that she’d fallen in love with someone else. It was exhausting, you see, keeping up the facade. It was a hell of a lot of fun, but it wasn’t me. I didn’t even make it last the full summer, yet somehow, Linzi looked past the farts, the scratching, the burps, the random squawks, the odd habits like readwalking, the unintentional rudeness, the temper, the terrible drunken states I got myself into and had to be rescued out of, the obsession with her arse, all these things she’s managed to accept, and she’s stuck with me. Which is good.
Having spent my teens wanting to be someone else, and then a summer being someone I hardly recognised, I find it odd that these days, in spite of all my faults and worries, I don’t really mind being me. I’ll never set the world on fire, but nice is alright, mostly.
You might recall me posting back in February that Linzi is doing the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research. The run is this Thursday, and she’s not only met her £200 target, she’s exceeded it, and is currently sitting with £277 sponsorship. We’re hoping she’ll be able to bring this up to at least £300, so here I am out begging to my readers. If you’ve got even two or three quid to spare, think how good you’ll feel about yourself knowing it’s going to a worthy cause like this.
If you are willing to sponsor her, go here. There’s a short sign-up page (there are boxes to tick/untick so you won’t get spammed), but overall it takes no more than five minutes, from start to finish, to donate. Thanks.
Many of you know I like to play up my penniless youth. Though I never really went hungry (except between the hours of 7pm and 6pm), we often had to do without the gadgets of the day. Where some kids had water pistols, I had a stick. Where some had footballs, I had a rock. Many of my friends had bicycles; I had a stick. It was awful hard keeping up with them.
I jest, of course. Things were never that dire.
When Nintendo was all the rage (imagine, the old 8-bit NES once cost more than the PS2 does now), when you were nothing if you didn’t have the Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge and the light gun, I had to content myself by playing a real-life version of Duck Hunt. I called it Duck Shoot. See what I did there?
No blocky 2-D pixellated images and dodgy sound effects in my game, mind you. This was the real deal. Duck Shoot involved my sisters walking back and forth in front of my granny’s garden wall while I belted a football at them. If I hit them, which happened often, since I was usually no more than five or six feet away, they had to make the sound of a duck getting killed. It was a great game, enjoyed by everyone, but especially me.
Here’s how a typical game of Duck Shoot might start:
“C’mon we play some Duck Shoot, girls.”
“Nooooooo Kav, our legs are still bruised from last week.”
“Come on ye fuckin spastics or I’ll kill ye!”
“We’ll tell Granny if you kill us.”
At this point it may have been necessary for me to approach a sister with arm raised and fist clenched, to emphasise how much I wanted to play the game. The vehemence of my desire to play was usually clarified by me saying
“Line up against that fuckin wall or I’ll hop yer fuckin head off the kerb, ya little spastic.”
My sisters and I would then enjoy a sibling bonding session where I lashed a football at them as hard as I could, while they did their best to dodge it. They were, pardon the expression, sitting ducks.
One typical summer’s day, I was, as usual, hanging around outside my granny’s house kicking a ball. (A huge swathe of my childhood consisted of kicking a ball outside my granny’s house, outside my own house, or with the lads, on a decrepit pitch in Galway called “The Plots”.) At the top of the road I spotted my sister Lorna skipping down the road towards granny’s. Scowling with disdain – at that age, the mere sight of my sisters prompted this emotion, even if they’d done nothing to provoke me – I waited until she was passing me, and then gently, with a touch Liam Brady’d have been jealous of, I slotted the ball between her legs.
For a long, quiet moment, she flew. I’d say she travelled about six feet or so, then hit the pavement knees first. Her momentum dragged her along the path another five or six feet before she collapsed in a glut of screams and blood. Her legs at the knees looked like someone had take a potato peeler to them.
My Granny was standing right next to me when I did it. It’s the only time she ever hit me. I remember her words as she struck me: “You horrible, evil little boy!”. I ran into the house and locked myself into the toilet and cried, riddled with shame.
The next two weeks were peppered with comments about how Lorna’d never be able to be a model with scars like that – this despite that she’d never before expressed the desire to be a model – and what a little bastard I was. Who knows if she’d have gone on to be a model or not? The point was that what I did to her had cut off that choice to her (or at least it seemed to at the time), and I still burn when I think of it.
I don’t think we played Duck Shoot again after that.
What about you? Ever done something awful and irreversible to your siblings?
Have a splendid weekend.