It’s because I’m not very good at it.
It’s been a while since I made an arse of myself in public. Perhaps the longer you leave it, the worse your blunder is when you inevitably do make a gobshite out of yourself.
On my way home from work, I fell asleep on the train, as happens every single day. The carriages are so damn warm, it’s almost impossible to stay awake.
Today, my friends, I dreamed. I had a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Oh wait, that wasn’t me, that was Martin Luther King. My dream was far less inspirational, but it comes from the same place that MLK’s speech came from: that bit of skin behind the scrotum.
In the dream, I was playing five-a-side (soccer/football, argue about what it’s called amongst yourselves) with the lads. I relived an absolute peach of a volley I scored a while back, the connection with the cross sublime, that feeling that you get when you know you’ve struck it so sweetly that you don’t even need to look at the ball to know it’s in the back of the net. After I scored I did my customary let’s-just-get-on-with-it non-celebration. Then time skipped, as it does in dreams, and next thing I know I am back in goals and Kerr, who has been cleverly nicknamed The Rocket on account of his hard bastarding shots, is bearing down on goal. Only I stand between him and an equaliser. He lets fly, sends a bullet into the bottom corner, so I dive to save it –
– and snap awake when I bash into the guy sitting next to me. Yes, I dived into him. On the train. My arms were still outstretched trying to save Kerr’s shot, and I may well have let out a traditional dream shout (“Noooooo!”) as I commenced my dive. Judging by the number of people turning to look at me, I think I must have at least squawked a bit.
“Okay mate?” the guy sitting next to me asks.
“Yeah, um, sorry about that” I say sheepishly, “I was just trying to save…”
I trail off, realising what a ridiculous human being I am. I clear my throat. Should probably say something, in all fairness.
If you’re going to be thought of as weird, you may as well go the whole fucking hog.
He wouldn’t say anything to me after that, and I was too scared to go back to sleep, so I passed the rest of the journey writing a note to myself to make this story into a blog post.
By the way, I’m a bit late to the party, but I don’t think Damien will mind some more links. Do him a favour and link to this ridiculous bullshit. To add insult to injury, instead of having a bit of cop-on, the tossers went and sent him a letter asking for the post to be taken down. Now the whole world knows that not only are they devious malicious cunts, they are also stupid dinosaur cunts too. Watch out for the internet, Sky Handling Partners. They even have it on computers these days.
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.
Public speaking terrifies me. This is not a good attribute to have when it’s your job, but I like a challenge.
I know plenty of people who don’t like public speaking, and avoid it like you’d avoid Mary Harney in a thong. I’ve inadvertently gone the other route and always seem to end up being the one nominated to do the presentation or whatever other shite is going on.
To all those cunts who say it gets easier the more you do it: fuck off. It does not. I’m best man at a wedding coming up in August. There are 300 – that’s right, three hundred! – guests, and already I’m giving birth to a faeces-foal every time I think about doing a speech in front of them. It has legs, I’m telling you.
Most people I speak to about it can’t tell why they don’t like public speaking. You get vague responses like “I’m too shy” or “I’ve never been any good at that sort of thing”. I, on the other hand, can remember exactly why I feel like a loose-limbed leper when I stand up in front of a load of people…
*cue strumming harp music and screen going blurry to signify I’m taking you back in time*
Picture an 11-year-old Kav. A shy, dorky little bastard, skinny and small for my age. Hand-me-down clothes. Hasn’t had a haircut in two months. Poor social skills. Thinks friends are those two guys, one of whom kneels behind you while the other shoves you over him and sends you flying into the muck. A little gobshite, in other words. Here’s a handy visual reference:
Sixth class, the final year of primary school. Our teacher decides to put on a class play in “An Taibhdhearc” – you say it “thyve-yark” – a local theatre that specialises in plays in Irish. He seeks out volunteers. After the multi-talented gays and the neglected attention-seekers have been selected, there are still half a dozen places to fill, one of which I am unwillingly drafted into.
I forget what the play was about, for the most part. Mine was a relatively small role – I was on-stage for one key scene and the rest was mostly me in the background, which suited me fine. Myself and a big lummox of a lad called Jimmy played a classic little and large duo – I was the clever conniving little fecker constantly up to mischief, and Jimmy was my lumbering sidekick, easily tricked into carrying out my devilish deeds.
My big scene involved the use of a tape recorder. My plan (in the play) was to record our voices – we made loads of spooky sounds and such – then press play and hide when everyone else came into the room. Cue much hilarity as they are all terrified by the sounds of beings from beyond the grave! WooooOOOOooooOOOOoooooo.
That was the theory. It isn’t what happened.
The tape recorder was one of those children’s Fisher-Price types – all chunky buttons and garish colours – and was powered by a whopping eight size C batteries. Remember this detail, it’s important.
In an audience of a few dozen (mostly kids my age, which somehow made it worse), I stood up and did my scene with Jimmy. It went fantastically well. An odd feeling stirred within me – I was too young and stupid to realise that it was confidence and pride in my abilities. Besides, that was soon to be snuffed out, replaced by the well-worn jacket of fooly-eyed inadequacy I was accustomed to.
The tape recorder sat on a table in the middle of the stage. On our cue to run and hide from the others, Jimmy pressed play on the tape recorder to start the spookiness and then hid behind a chair. I joined him, running across the stage, overjoyed that the biggest thing I had ever done at that age had gone off without a hitch.
As I ran past the table, in front of dozens of my peers (girls! there were girls watching me!), I kicked one of its legs and sprawled oblong across the stage floor. The tape recorder teetered, tottered, then crashed to the stage, ejecting its enormous cache of batteries upon impact.
I froze. The silence was horrific. Time stopped, then started again in time to the audience’s laughter. They were laughing at me, I’m almost sure of it! I could not move. I was burning up. I looked at my teacher over on stage left. He fixed me a look of utter malevolence and snapped his fingers “Pick the fucking thing up!”. I couldn’t do it. The laughter dried up and was replaced by pity, as thick and tangible as toffee.
Since the tape recorder was critical to the following scene, I essentially destroyed the entire play single-handed. I was so rooted to the spot that eventually the rest of the cast had to come out, tidy up the mess, and pretend to ignore me (since I was supposed to be hiding and playing a trick on them). Sweet irony, pretending to be a ghost and then being treated as one.
I’ve never gotten on a stage since. Not even when the lads were begging me to play bass in their band back in college. These days I just force myself to be the one to do the presentations, as a kind of penance.
After all the talk about how great the blog awards were on Saturday night, I was almost tempted to go next year. I know deep down that I’m full of shit, though. You can blame Mr. McInerney from St Michael’s BNS for my warped social skills. The cunt mocked me mercilessly for the rest of the year after that debacle.
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.