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Things to do in Denver when you’re Brain Dead

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Interesting. I’ve been cursed by a friend of mine (Sparky) that if I don’t organise a weekend for us to get together, my mother will develop a strange itch in her armpit and my dog will have an uncontrollable sneezing fit. I actually haven’t done anything about this today and I’ve spent all morning sneezing violently. I don’t own a dog. I must speak to my mother and ask if she’s spent this morning doing ‘Planet of the Apes’ impressions trying to reach and unscratchable itch in her pit!

Incidentally, does anyone actually ‘own’ a dog. Cats are a personal dislike of mine because, as a pet, you get more love out of a bacon sandwich than you do out of a cat. In order to please you, they somehow think that bringing a lump of dead mammal is a great gift. Half a rat does not send me into ecstatic delight. It does not even make me like a cat. It makes me go Ewwww! Cats are the pet equivalent of reality TV. People think they like them as pets because they are conditioned to. They do not realise that a cat would eat all their chocolate, drink all their beer, urinate in their shoes and steal their car before burning the house down if they only had opposable thumbs. Cats USE people. That is all they are there for. That and the production of pieces of dead avian or rodent.

Anyway, to get back to my point. There’s a phrase that goes: ‘It’s a dog’s life.’ Others include ‘working like a dog’ and the immortal American ‘doggone’ (which I can only assume is a reference to the shooting of ‘Old Yeller’). The point is that dogs have a cushy life. They are fed and bathed and seem to spend a lot of the intervening time lying on sofas and watching TV. I want to be a dog. It’s NOT a dog’s life. If it was, I’d be permanently relaxed. Plus, so long as you were a dog of breeding, you get posh girls delivered to your house so that you can hump and your ‘owners’ get paid. Huh? We own them? They own us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of dogs. I grew up with them and can’t imagine life without dogs, but still. Free food, accommodation, TV, sex and just a smack on the nose with a newspaper when you can’t be arsed to stand up and just crap on the carpet. God? You got it wrong. Make me into a dog….

Next week I go on a course in Leeds. This will involve me getting up an hour and a half earlier than I usually do for work. I will get home at the time when I have usually had my dinner and am laying into the bourbon while watching a movie about boobs or guns or both. In between, I must learn about ‘Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment’. I have the horrible feeling that half of what they teach me I will already know so well we’d get to fourth base in four minutes, and the other half will be so far beyond me I’d have to get a fast taxi in order to see its licence plate. For some reason, no amount of complimentary water biscuits can make up for that. And I get no qualification and no certificate for this. Bum.

I have just increased the potential readership of this diary by 1 as I’ve passed the URL to someone else at work. This brings the work colleagues with knowledge of the diary to around 6 or 7. Going to have to start watching what I say, but they’re all cool people, so I foresee no great problem. As you can see, this entry’s just varied random bullshit thoughts arrayed nicely with a Friday afternoon frame of mind.

So, without further ado:

The Top Ten Most Stupid Things I’ve Done In My Life (In reverse order…)

Anyone who knows me quite well will probably know these stories off by heart, but will also probably realise that they are my funniest.

10 Moving to Lancashire: If there’s anyone reading this from outside the UK, you may not realise that there is a bit of a history between Yorkshire and Lancashire. They’re a bit like America and Russia during most of the 20th century. There’s not a lot of love lost between the counties. If you aren’t British, look up ‘Wars of the Roses’ on the net and find out about it. Us good, God-fearing Yorkshiremen were stitched up by a traitor and Richard III (immortalised unfairly as a hunchback by Shakespeare) was killed. Personally, I rather like most of the Lancastrians I know, but there’s a difference between people and institutions. I have many Lancastrian friends, but I still shudder when I set foot over the border. In fact, I lived in Lancashire for over a year and spent the entire time plotting my return to the motherland (and how to release a plague of rabid ferrets into the county before I left.) The last third of my time I spent there, I was commuting an hour and a half each way, each day. Why in God’s name would I move there? It’s like Bin Laden buying a fancy apartment with a view of the Whitehouse lawn and putting up a banner.

9 Standing in mud and cement: This happened when I was a kid. There was a waste ground on the other side of the road from our house. Myself and many of my more deranged friends used to play on this ground, digging holes and just generally being a kid. Then, one day, they decided to build a block of flats on the ground. Myself and a friend (as the world’s first 8 year old eco-terrorists) began sabotaging building operations (cutting pipes on JCBs etc.) Yay me. Always wanted to be an eco-terrorist. One of the things we did one day was to climb up the debris and mud at the other side of the site to get over the fence and into the next street. I got around halfway to the fence when I realised that the world was rising. In fact, I was sinking. I disappeared with a horrendous sucking sound up to my waist in a mixture of waste cement and mud. There followed a great deal of heaving (and probably crying although I can’t remember) before I was free enough to go home. My mother remembers me divesting myself of my clothes on the way down the drive, leaving mud and cement caked apparel along the way.

8 Car-Surfing on a Land Rover: In one drunken weekend at the Donnington Monsters of Rock festival in around 1991 or so, we decided that it would be a fantastic idea to drive Chris’ rickety old blue and orange Land Rover around the massive camp site along the narrow grass tracks full of people between the tents at 40 miles an hour. Goddam we were stupid. I cannot understand for the life of me why no one was killed or very seriously maimed. It must be some kind of record though to have around fifteen people in and on a Land Rover doing 40, hanging onto the back doors, sat on the bonnet or surfing the roof. All I can say in my defence is that, while I’ve always been pretty stupid, the early nineties were a time during which I entered my twenties and got particularly retarded for a while.

7 Trying to hide smoking from my parents: I guess this should really read smoking in general. I’m not really an advocate of smoking. I do it because I’m horribly addicted and have been doing it for a long time and have the willpower of a mouldy potato. I will quit when I can (hypnotism is the next theory, though I’m expecting to do chicken impressions every time someone clicks their fingers afterwards.) Anyway, my parents had always tried to stop me smoking, though they themselves both smoked and that kind of erodes the moral high ground somewhat. I managed to hide it until I was around 22 when a friend and I came back from University for the weekend. We went to the local pub on the Saturday night and, heaving a sigh of relief once we left the house, I lit up. I was sat merrily with a cigarette when my parents turned up at the pub and headed for out outside table. Being the quick-thinking flash-of-genius type of guy I am, I panicked and thrust my cigarette hand under the table as they approached. What I though I would do from there is a mystery. Enough smoke to simulate Victorian industry drifted up from between the wooden table slats and the game was up. Idiot.

6 Visit to the movies to see Dances With Wolves: Yet another drunken episode, though this time earlier, when I was eighteen and at Teesside Polytechnic. Already fairly smashed, I and my then friend and flat-mate who we shall refer to henceforth as Trekkie, went to the cinema to watch this 3 hour epic. We were, unfortunately too drunk to leave after the end of the film, so we remained in our seats for the second showing. At the end of the second session (six and a half hours in the cinema), we bought popcorn which we took back in for the third showing and threw at people. We were escorted out of the building. Afterwards we drank some more and then began the walk/stagger/totter back to the flat. On the way we spotted a ‘Road Closed’ sign and were under the serious delusion that this would make great decoration for the wall of our flat. Our 5th floor flat. With walls 10 feet long. A sign 7 feet long. And 4 feet deep. Somehow we managed to sneak it past the building’s porter (I have no idea how this happened, carrying 28 square feet of red and white metal road sign and neither of us having the physical dexterity to open a door.) When we moved out of the flat a year later, we couldn’t figure out how to explain the sign, so we carried it down a flight of stairs and found a trolley full of someone else’s gear as everyone left that weekend. No one around. We dumped the sign in the trolley and ran back upstairs. We were not subtle. Be grateful we didn’t live near you. And if you ever had to explain 28 square feet of red and white metal road sign to a porter, we were the assholes and I apologise.

5 Not applying suntan lotion in Egypt: At the age of 9 my Great Aunt took me to Egypt on a tour holiday. This is one of the reasons for my very great interest in archaeology and ancient history. In the Cairo Sheraton hotel, I would go swimming. This is 1981 and the fashion is for very tight swimming trunks. The ones that are so tight you can tell what religion the wearer is. I was nine. I swam. My Great Aunt badgered me about putting on suntan lotion. Nah. I was having a whale of a time in the pool. Besides, I was under the water and that’s cool and protective, right? Am I right? And our survey says: Burn the Retard. I became so horribly sunburned across my shoulders that I still have the freckles twenty four years later to mark where the pus-filled blisters and pock marks were. I was deep fried, crispy fuckwit. Ah well. I did learn from the experience though, so that when in Crete in 2003 in 100 degree heat I slapped on so much suntan lotion that I looked like Frosty the Snowman’s sick, melting brother. While I don’t remember being badly burned, the moment I stepped out of the car into the heat, all the suntan lotion seemed to run down my skin into my eyes and puddling in my trainers. Also it jammed the shutter on my camera. I looked like a reject prop from House of Wax. It’s true that you can have too much of a good thing, then.

4 Going to see the movie Trainspotting while drugged to the eyeballs: These days, my drugs of choice are caffeine and alcohol (and nicotine until I can kick the habit.) When a student, though, I would try just about anything placed in front of me – often more than once. I had a friend (and would-be shag-piece if I hadn’t been a fat hairy waste of flesh) at the time who we shall refer to as Guernsey Girl. If you read this, you know who you are and I want my CDs back! We and two others went to see Trainspotting on a whim after liberally partaking of both Amphetamines and the old weed. By half an hour into the film, I was climbing the walls. Watching babies crawl across ceilings with their heads rotating is not healthy when high as a kite. Jeez what a mistake. I’ve never seen a movie since under the influence of anything other than alcohol (see Dances With Wolves above).

3 Trying to sever my hand: This happened while role-playing (no, not the nurse uniform and ass-paddle sort). I used to indulge often in the Fantasy Role Playing Games. I am not now, and have never been, an anorak. This hobby is shared by an awful lot of funny, deranged psychopaths. In order to complement the game, we would often drink until our skin changed colour. On one particular occasion, while gaming and drunk, I attempted to divide up a pizza. Having no handy tool around for such a task and, being drunker than Drunken Dan O’Pisshead, I would use a scout knife. You know those knives around seven inches long, with bottle openers at the top and a serrated bit and so one? One of them. For Pizza. The handle and blade went straight through the tendon between thumb and forefinger and I didn’t notice my thumb flapping around for several minutes until I made an expansive gesture and decorated the wall with half a pint of blood. An ambulance was called and Sparky accompanied me in the wagon to hospital, where they wouldn’t give me anaesthetic as I was already pretty anaesthetised and they worried that I might die if any more chemicals entered my system. I grinned like a glazed idiot the whole time they dealt with me and, I vaguely remember, kept talking to the nurse about the TV series ER. Good job when I got the pizza I didn’t have an M16 or a sniper rifle, huh?

2 The camping trip to Llangollen: What a surprise. A drunken story. Sparky and I decided after some beers at University that we’d go camping. To Wales. We gathered up all our appropriate camping gear and took a series of buses to a town in Wales called Llangollen. You know it? Cool. There’s a very ruined castle at the top of the hill and we would camp there. We climbed the hill and then set up camp with our supplies. Our full list of gear: 1 single duvet, 8 cans of lager, 2 bottles of wine, some candles and an acoustic guitar. Boy were we prepared. Yay. We drank the lager, punched holes in the cans and used them to shelter the candles from the wind. And there our ingenuity ends. Twenty minutes later, God poured the North Atlantic on us through a sieve and we had to abandon our carefully-prepared camp. The sight of the two of us running the mile and a half down the small roads of the hill to the town, flailing around with an acoustic guitar and a duvet over our two heads like some kind of headless, stripy insane Chinese dragon would have had the two of us locked away in a rubber room until the twenty third century. We actually spent the night sleeping on the duvet on the floor of the Gents public toilet in Llangollen. Oh, and the two bottles of wine? We have one nice expensive one and one cheap nasty one. While trying to open it, I dropped the nice one on the floor and shattered it, flooding our ‘bedroom’ for the night. This wine became known as “Cote de Floor”. The other, which tasted like cheap paint-stripper, is “Cote de Mouth”, because it did. Sparky will never let me forget that I dropped the good one. At least we slept in a high-class and expensive puddle, even if that was in a public toilet block.

1 Tequila: Where do I begin? Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t touch tequila and why. I’ve drunk this thinly-disguised aircraft fuel three times in my life and every time has an associated story. I shall stick here to the good one. In a bar called the Highwayman in Lloret de Mar in Spain. I was on holiday with my parents and Grandfather (all of whom are/were very cool people). I was in my mid to late twenties. I would go out on my own to the Highwayman, as it was a rock bar and played things like Rammstein, while the rest of the family stayed in the hotel bar. I walked in all confident as I spoke enough Spanish to get by and knew my rock music well. I asked for a beer. “Un Cerveza por favour.” He charged me quite a bit and a worried about how expensive the drink was and my night would turn out to be. Then he put a tequila in a glass next to my beer and the light dawned on me. Free tequila with every over-priced beer. Ah well. When in Rome etc… I drank the beer and drank the tequila. I smoked a cigarette. I consider it phenomenal that the bar didn’t go up in a fireball – tequila and fire are a fairly lethal combination. When the barman came back round, I piped up “Un Cerveza por favour… sin tequila.” He smiles. He pours me a beer. He takes a lot of my money. He adds a tequila to the scene. I frown. I know I’m saying it right. I’ll do better next time. I drink the beer. I drink the tequila. I weave around a little. Beer, tequila, beer, tequila is not good for me. I have the coordination of a plate of jelly with multiple sclerosis by this time. I smile lopsidedly and motion to the barman. “’n Cerveza por favour. SIN TEQUILA!” He smiles and gives me a beer and a tequila and fleeces me once more. I do remember knocking this beer over and flooding the bar counter, soaking many peoples’ cigarettes. I do remember drinking the tequila. I don’t remember leaving. Or whether I drank any more. I remember bouncing off walls in narrow streets in a zig-zag pattern while trying to get back to the hotel like some kind of randomly-weighted ball on a giant pinball table. I remember crossing the four lane high-speed coast road that runs through the town and almost becoming decoration on the bonnet of some white saloon car that stopped just in time to not turn me into something that resembles a lasagne. I got back to the hotel somehow and got in the lift to go to the room. Fell asleep in the lift. Woke up eventually with footprints on my face and managed to crawl along the corridor to the room, at which point I realised that I didn’t have the key. The key was with my parents in the bar downstairs. Made it back to the lift and promptly fell asleep again while people when up and down in the hotel stepping over my corpse. Woke up and navigated the hotel bar by basically falling over or barging through any obstacle between me and my family. I retrieved the key and made it back to the lift. Where? Yes, I fell asleep and people trod on me again. I eventually made it to the room and after a hundred and fourteen attempts, got the key in the lock. I opened the door, let it slam closed, turned left to the bathroom and went from vertical to horizontal in one swift move. I passed out and my forehead hit the toilet bowl so hard that it left me with a lump the size of an egg and moved the entire toilet about an inch and a half, shattering the u-bend and leaving me lying unconscious in an inch of tepid urinal water. And that is how my parents found me.

Seriously, kiddies: Don’t do Tequila. Try something safer. Like an M16.

Gotta go now. Tequila to buy…



Written by SJAT

August 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm

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