Alcohol isn’t a Solution

Well, being a homogeneous mixture chemically composed of only one phase, technically it is.  But I think we both know what I mean.

Yes.  I’m afraid I recently downloaded the NHS “drink tracker app”.  Needless to say, it lit up like a fucking Chinese Stock Market heatmap.  Oh dear.  “Don’t let drink sneak up on you”, the NHS are telling me.  Well, it did.  And it ran off with my girlfriend.  But I’m going down fighting.

Oh.
Oh.

Honesty.  Now there’s a strong word.  And quite frightening, if like me you have at points greased your path with avoidances, silences and sometimes downright lies.  Lying is probably an addiction, after all.  In that it’s a fall-back mechanism.  A habit you form to find false comfort in painful situations.  Shame.  Embarrassment.  Awkwardness.

Possibly it’s my final addiction.  With an increase in honesty and self-examination has come a cut in the booze.  Because liars lie to themselves, as much as they lie to the people they love.  Like all addictions, it’s self-destructive and ultimately demeaning.  Like all addictions, it damages the people that love you.  Like all addictions, it starts as a wall to defend yourself, but quickly becomes a wall that pens you in.  Armour becomes a straight-jacket.  And similar tropes.

Like all addictions, it’s fucking hard to beat.  And painful.  And horrible.  But I have a solid KO record, and I don’t fancy its chances.  It’s going down in one of the early rounds.  Just watch.

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My Arse, the Tell Tale Wasp, and Other Stories

I attended the doctors’ surgery this morning, so that a very polite nurse could stick a large-bore needle into my backside.  There I was, leaning over; my belt line now halfway down my bottom.  And she asked, “left or right?”.  That’s very nice, I thought.  They talk about more choice in the NHS.  This must be what they mean.

It turned out that she was retiring.  Today.  I asked whether I was her last ever arse.

“Yes!” she responded enthusiastically.  And for a moment I thought she was going to autograph her work.  Or add a smiley face.

“Although you never know,” she added, rather mysteriously.

Yep.  You never know when you’re going to see your next arse.  Very profound.

I came home to find THE LARGEST FUCKING WASP doing military-grade aerobatics around my desk.  RIGHT.  The sudden surge of combat adrenaline.  The narrowing of the eyes.  The rolling of the newspaper.  Bring it on, my friend.

Cue a desperate amount of ridiculous wafting and girlish shrieking.  The thing is, I don’t really want to hurt them.  I just want them to go away.  And once my ruthlessness is compromised by my absurd wasp empathy, I make a terrible warrior.  And the worst thing happened.  A half-hearted thrust left the poor bugger injured, and he disappeared into the dust bunnies under my bed.  I think he’s stuck.  And now my keystrokes are punctuated by an awful throbbing buzz.

fucking WASP.
fucking WASP.

Oh the guilt.  Oh the terror.  It’s like that endlessly beating severed heart under the floorboards in that Edgar Allan Poe story.  Sheesh.

Believe it or not, I was once bitten by a bloody great cow-eating spider in the forests of Guatemala.  Alright, maybe it didn’t eat cows.  But it could’ve done.  IT COULD HAVE DONE.  My hand soon assumed the size and shape of a mango.  The guide proffered aspirin, and anti-histamines.  I was extremely grateful.  Thank you, I said.  Thank you.  That’s my headache and hayfever sorted, now what about MY FUCKING GREAT SPIDER BITE.

Sorry.  Rambling.

On to happier things!  The sunshine!  The woodpecker knocking loudly in the woods behind my house.  The buzz of lawnmowers.  The Rustlers microwave burger and the four-pack of Fosters from the one-stop.  Oh sublime, ephemeral nature.  Be my master for the afternoon.  Let me drink from thy Lethean tin.  Carefully crafted to refresh.  In Melbourne.  Since 1888.

And let me wander from Tennyson’s place, “where each man walks with his head in a cloud of poisonous  wasps  flies … And most of all would I flee from the cruel madness of online dating …”

Okay, I changed that last line a bit.

But Tennyson would get it.

I’ll leave you alone now, and take my plastic sword to the nettles.

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