There is a small grass verge just at the pinnacle of my village. In a similar sense to how I manage to find myself in an air-conditioning induced coma, this spot has always exerted some mysterious control over my behaviour. It was common during the warmer summer months that following a night of merriment, I would visit this verge and gaze at the stars into the morning hours. Once I believe I did actually fall asleep momentarily. There is evidence to suggest that the local invertebrates exploited my unconscious bulk and utilised me as some kind of bridge. This, however, is not what shamed me, Although it did occur here.
One night I had a companion in my zone of tranquillity. A small brown cat, relaxed and spread out enjoying the night-time aura. I thought this place now definitely has some element of mystical powers if it can transfix both men and beast alike. I took a seat next to the cat who was completely undisturbed to my presence.
As I began to pet the creature there were a few preliminary signals indicating that something was not quite right. Firstly the sheer amount of hair that came off in my hands. I shrugged it off as a drastic moult and even deduced to myself at the possibly that I was dealing with a sufferer feline alopecia. Poor little guy I considered.
Secondly, as I went to get a view of the cat’s face I noticed it had a nosebleed. OK, I thought. Something is clearly not right. There is a line to my naivety in gradually worsening scenarios. I had just encountered it. Upon closer inspection the cat did not only have a nosebleed but was also missing a large portion of its head.
Effectively I had spent fifteen minutes contemplating the wonders of the universe whilst gently caressing road kill. I comforted myself with the notion that I had at least displayed a courteous respect for the dead.
This is the earliest instance that I can remember calling upon the ground to swallow me whole. Going back to primary school, possibly around reception years. Most people’s toilet etiquette is still under development at this stage, I was no different. The catalyst in this episode was the shirt that my mother had provided me with. For a rapidly growing toddler, she customarily clothed me in a shirt that would have potentially fitted a child of ten, let alone a child already diminutive for his age. To clarify this shirt hung down way below my belt line.
At this age (like many hopefully) I sometimes required assistance when wiping. Just as a precautionary measure. This safety net, however, was not available when at school. Most teachers are not properly trained to deal with a child bent over unable to grasp the complexities of toilet paper. So I proceeded alone. Job done, no problems at all. A moment of triumph for a infant. One step towards adulthood. Next stop shaving. As the day progressed, however, there was a highly noticeable aroma of poo. Like a faecal black cloud looming over me. The other children had detected it, as had the teachers. I pleaded genuine ignorance. I far as I was concerned it was not emitting from me.
When I returned home the truth was revealed. My mother, possessing the jurisdiction to investigate further, believed me to have soiled myself. Pants down, no unwanted companions. Where was the smell coming from? She felt it necessary to bathe me and narrow down the possibilities. As I removed my disproportionately large shirt a considerable (and textured) stain became visible on my shirt tails. We have the culprit. In my haste whilst wiping I had somehow managed to trap my shirt between paper and cheeks. Effectively, I had ended up wiping my backside with the clothes I was still wearing. I believe this is the fundamental reason for my long term preference for tighter fitting shirts.
On a night of pre-legal drinking around my friends Grandma’s house we decided it would be a fantastic idea to strip down to our boxers, climb out of the living room window and run to the top of the village. Once all of us had de-clothed and exited the house we quickly reached our intended goal of a semi-streak and headed back. In our absence the owner of the house had awoken, assumed we had simply left the window open and passed out in the numerous vacant sleeping bags littered around the living room. She sensibly locked the window leaving us outside in the bleak November chill.
This left us with two options. Awaken a elderly lady from her slumber to answer the door to a ensemble of partially clad teenage boys or run through the village to my house where my parents had gone away for the night. We chose the latter, although it was considerably difficult explaining the situation when we returned for our clothes the following morning.
Another classroom incident; We fast forward a few years to my time at De Montfort University. Judging by my appearance from pictures of that particular era of my life, it is plausible to assume that many believed I was, in fact, living in a destitute home environment and this only validated their presumptions.
This event encapsulates two equally embarrassing circumstances. Firstly, it was kindly pointed out by a fellow student that, in my morning haste, I had worn my boxers both inside out and back to front. A notion I still frequently repeat. After shrugging off the shame of appearing to be unable to competently dress myself I opened my bag to retrieve my work only for a moth the size of a pigeon to soar out and head directly towards the nearest light source.
The lecture commenced with an occasional flickering of the lights and a faint ‘ping’ every time the moth bounced off the light shade. I can only imagine my face grew a deeper shade of scarlet with every passing collision.
Details of the night included;
Whilst at Sixth Form College in Tamworth I was challenged to a burping contest by a fellow student. In this particular classroom the tables were circular so that every student seated could interact with everyone around them. There were only two males in my A level English class and we usually attempted to exert our manliness in the only capacity that we were capable…toilet humour. We had no problem punctuating a silence with a well timed spot of flatulence, however, one day it went too far.
In a display of machismo pride, the apex male of the class was to be decided by the noble burp contest, the winner having achieved the loudest and longest belch. I took this particular challenge with the utmost seriousness and I began to brew a burp of such ferocity that I feared my tonsils may be expelled by the sheer gastric velocity. Unfortunately, something else decided to escape my digestive tract. Just as I was concluding what would have surely been the winning purge a singular baked bean piloted straight from my stomach, having navigated my oesophagus then through my teeth and landed almost exactly in the centre of the table. Everyone around had the impeccable view of me essentially being sick which, simultaneously caused a bout of contagious nausea amongst my peers.
The most intriguing aspect of this incident is that I clearly remember not having eaten baked beans for at least three days before. To think I am always told that I must possess a high metabolism.
By now you are at that stage were life is becoming interesting and you are on set to develop your own identity within the world. I also realise you may have a lot of worries and presumptions about the forthcoming future years. I hope to shed some light on what is to come, without spoiling the surprise, so to speak. Take these words as guidelines. Maybe you can change things, maybe certain aspects are best left without my input. Either way I hope you find this enlightening.
Do not worry about your height. You may be just over five foot now, but you will grow to around six foot two over the course of one summer. As far as looks go. You do alright. Even if I do say so myself. Excuse the irony of this sentence. Do not let this go to your head though. Your personality will become far more valuable and will certainly last longer than your looks. In case you are wondering you will find out that you look like your Grandad. I realise there is no current family resemblance. A certain event will open your eyes to this. Speaking of which, be sure to take better care of your eyesight.
You will never be one of those popular kids at high school or college but you will have a close group of friends of who will stay with you through the thick and thin. They will always be there for you, be sure to do the same. Don’t worry about grades. You do fine, without even trying. Although you probably should.
You will be a reserved and shy individual for most of your early teenage years. Girls will not even register until around the age of sixteen. Do not be alarmed by this. You make up for it. Try not to be as impulsive when it comes to relationships and always remember that it is a two way scenario. Be considerate with peoples emotions and do not take them for granted. Learn from your mistakes. If it feels right it’s because it is.
Stay in touch with family members. You may not think this now, but they are good listeners and will do anything to help you out. There will be times when they are your only option. Swallow your pride and ask for help every now and again. Few get through life completely independently.
Have some more consideration for your own well-being. It’s all very well playing the daredevil but realise that those close to you will worry. Understand that every action has a very real consequence. Both upon you and those around you. Try to eat more. You will be plagued by stomach ailments and severe intolerances to certain foods. Avoid spice. Be weary of Wednesdays.
You will have a mixed career. Despite what some may say you will do alright for yourself. Remember to take pride in what you do and your subsequent accomplishments. Whilst they may seem insignificant, they will always contribute to a better future.
Just accept Dad’s music is timeless like he always says. You will realise he is right.
Picture this …
You are about to take an evening to it’s next logical step. You have set the scene, adjusted the mood and removed any potential interruptions. The next thing you know some wholly inappropriate piece of music has breached your defences and shattered both the atmosphere and possibly the windows.
Obviously, there is a whole compendium of untimely tunes out there, but these particular nuggets of musical genius really took the metaphorical biscuit. On a personal level at least.
5. Conker’s Bad Fur Day - The Great Mighty Poo Song
Quite why this was even incorporated into my music library still staggers belief. I’ll have to blame that particular incident down to my teenage immaturity. Lets just say its hard to keep a suitable level of composure. Especially, when inside your head you are singing about being a monstrous turd projecting toilet paper at a cartoon squirrel.
4. Limp Bizkit - Nookie
Whilst many would see this as seemingly relevant, to me it accurately described the entire situation. Namely, I was indeed doing it all for the ‘Nookie.’ Unfortunately the enthusiastic grin that then bestowed across my face upon hearing the anthem of infidelity, gave more away than words ever could.
3. Snot - My Balls
‘MY BAWWWLLLLSSS , YAAAWWWWR CHIN. Repeat until said counterpart is fully convinced that you played the song on purpose and as a result, will defiantly not let you put your balls anywhere near her face.
2. Despised Icon - The Sunset Will Never Charm Us
For those that know me, I like my music aggressive. Now I don’t often subvert this preference on others behalf. They way I see it if you’re in my house, you listen to my music. On this occasion, however, I thought I’d compromise and prepared a suitable play list for someone who would often perceive a band like Nirvana as ‘too heavy.’ Unbeknownst to me this song had slipped into the mix and was in turn, inexplicably four times louder than everything else. The poor girl almost suffered a coronary and was left believing I favoured music that sounded like, and I quote; “A pig being pushed into a car wash.”
1. INXS - Suicide Blonde
Your thinking surely not. Michael Hutchence’s lusty tones could only improve a romantic encounter. Alas, when someone proceeds to inform you (at the point of no return) that they used to listen to this in secondary school, it causes a perplexing moral dilemma. The song came out in 1990, so that person was around 17 at the time. Nineteen years later….. You do the maths. My moment of triumph quickly evaporated.