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I’m not funny, am I

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Ok. Time for a new character. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned him before, but we shall henceforth refer to him as the Ginger Beard. This is a guy I knew at University. The two of us were responsible for a fair amount of debauchery and madness and I sort of lost track of him when we left. Then, about a year ago I got a phonecall from him completely out of the blue and we vowed to stay in touch and meet up. We’ve since spoken maybe two or three times to keep updated about current events in our lives. He’s got married. So have I. He texted me at the weekend and then rang last night to tell me about the news. He’s had a little girl. I’m convinced she’s going to grow up to have a ginger beard due to the incredibly strong ginger beard gene in her father. She was briefly in trouble but is now out of danger and the mum is facing a vague possibility of trouble now, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for her. I’m routing for all you guys… and that’s the serious bit out of the way. Now, on to the other side:

Ginger Beard is one of very few people in the western hemisphere who is as bad as I am at staying in contact. We live maybe 30 or 40 miles apart and never see each other. In fact it’ll be around a decade since I saw him last I reckon. And I know he reads this. And last night, among the splendiferous insults we hurled at each other out of sheerest habit, he accused me of not being entertaining enough to deserve readers. Ok, Ginger Beard… time to relive a little old memory here. See if you remember this one.

At university, I lived in halls one year with a grower of herbal happy-sticks from Todmorden. He was a vague kind of guy about seven feet tall and so relaxed he must have had trouble with his bowels. Ginger Beard at this time lived off-campus in a suburb that was only about a mile away as the crow flies, but also about a mile BELOW where I lived, there being a hill on roughly a 45 degree slope between us. On this hill was a golf course. Yes; a golf course on a 45 degree slope. This is something that only inhabitants of Staffordshire could consider vaguely acceptable. One tiny put and your ball would go a mile and end up in a garden hedge.

(Note that my memory is not good at the best of times, and I have about the same level of recall as a block of Double Gloucester cheese. Thus these events may have taken place on the saturday of the dinner party or spread out from there to the sunday. I’m sure Ginger Beard will remember.)

And one happy morning in the bleak midwinter, I took a stroll down to see Ginger Beard at his house, making my way carefully down the golf course. I arrived at chez Ginger Beard, which he shared with house-mates Mouseboy and The Berk, just after they’d got back from a weekly shop. It’s worth noting here that Mouseboy was a nice guy but was absent at that point having gone back out, and The Berk was a thoroughly dislikeable man with all the winning personality of Hitler’s colon, who didn’t get on with any of us. He was also away. So, Ginger Beard and I decided we’d have a beer. He and Mouseboy were having a dinner party with a couple of ‘lady friends’ (as distinguished from ‘girlfriends’ in that they didn’t lie on top of each other, moving up and down rhythmically) later that night, and they’d bought the week’s supply of beer and some wine for that evening.

Here goes: My memories of that day are hazy at best, barring certain humourous escapades. I know that we drank the week’s beer. I know that we drank a lot of wine (probably including that for the night). I think that at some point we went to his local scrotty corner shop where they had plastic drums of moonshine that would blind you if you had enough of it behind the counter labelled ‘whisky’, ‘gin’ and ‘vodka’ and they decanted very cheaply into your bottle for you. I’m fairly sure we did that too. I know we drank the bottle of champagne he’d been saving for his girlfriend’s birthday. I know we got outrageously plastered and went into The Berk’s room where he was doing a jigsaw of a bar of dairy milk. The entire jigsaw was brown and purple and must have been an absolute bitch to do. It would no doubt have been a lot harder after we hid several pieces of it by sticking them to the back of his bedroom cupboards and cut some of the lumps off the pieces to make extra edges! I know that Ginger Beard went a little bananas and poured some kind of sauce (was it chilli sauce, Ginge?) into the Berk’s bed, put the duvet back on and then rolled around on it, smoothing the sauce into the sheets. I know we spent a lot of time lying on the floor laughing hysterically. I don’t remember going home.

What I do remember is the next day, a little tender-headed, I set off once more down the golf course to go visit him and it had obviously snowed some time the day before while we were turning our livers into black shrivelled lumps. I found my tracks from the night before and tried to follow them down, only to find out that they did about a 14 mile wobbly trek up a mere 1 mile slope. They actually went around one bunker (sand-trap to you Yanks) several times and repeatedly went through bushes.

Some of my fondest memories of University life come from that one day of escapades. Witness the fact Ginger Beard and Mouseboy had taken a till roll and written the entire lyrics to ‘The End of the World as we Know It’ by REM on it, and then strung it round the entire house at ceiling height on both floors. I have a cherished memory of hurtling round the house with the song playing, trying to keep up with the lyrics as we both repeatedly fell over and ran into walls.

Ah, the foolishness of youth. Problem is I’m still like that. I have the distinct feeling Ginger Beard is too, though we’re married adults these days and maintain a thin veneer of respectable. It only takes a nudge for the veneer to fall away and we’ll be glueing someone’s door shut (or possibly even someone’s ass). I actually can’t wait to meet up with him. I just know that wacky hi-jinks will ensue.

In further news, you’ll remember my mention of the front door key of my new house that looks like a Georgian relic someone’s unearthed with a metal detector? Well at least it works. Or it did anyway. Yesterday we had a man come out to look at our boiler. The boiler’s exhaust or whatever you call it outside the back of the house smelled strange and very strongly and we had to get an engineer to look at it. Neither of us were in so we left him a key to the back door. He came, he saw, he left a note. ‘Boiler Fixed’. That maybe so, but now the exhaust smells equally strange and the house is filling up with a smell like kerosene that’s emanating from the boiler itself. Despite having used the back door to get in, he seems to have tried to use the back door key on the front door. The lock was jammed half-open and half-locked. I struggled intensely with it for a while last night and finally got it unlocked. It took some effort to lock the door late at night too. This morning it took me almost a full 5 minutes to lock up! The actual bolt part of the lock is now in a permanent state of ‘partial’. The best method of locking up is to open the door, use your finger to manually push the bolt back into the lock, close the door and then turn the key once with great speed and force. It is not a good thing to have a lock in a permanent state of ‘almost open.’ I shall henceforth know this as “Schrodinger’s Lock” as the status of the lock is undetermined until the door is opened. This goes well with my current theory of “Pavlov’s Logs” which states that I have only to think of finding another log to put on the fire and something already on there will spit out and attempt to set fire to the carpet.

I think that’s enough for now. Wouldn’t want to be too entertaining now, would I, Ginger Beard?

p.s. you smell of wee!



Written by SJAT

January 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

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