Suggested Audio Jukebox ♬
 Doris Day “Dream A Little Dream of Me”
 The Chemical Brothers “Dig Your Own Hole”
 Vera Lynn “We’ll Meet Again”
 The Chemical Brothers featuring Richard Ashcroft “The Test”
I think I’m getting the hang of this y’know. Forty-two long years and I reckon I might have just sussed it. I request that you all cast your minds back to the first time you were asked what you intended to do with your future. Try not to overshoot Grueheads as I’m not talking about seventh grade and the whole “when I grow up I want to be race car driver” deal. I’m speaking of around the time of your graduation, when you were kindly informed that you were about to be shat out into the big, bad world and left to fend for yourself. Scary ain’t it? You’re darn tooting it is, I recall a little bronzed nugget revealing its tan lines to my underwear the very moment this poser was pitched as, apart from my scheduled Monday monkey spank, I hadn’t the faintest idea what the future held and could do little but shrug my shoulders. How in blazes are we supposed to have any sort of game plan devised by that point when we’ve only just gotten the hang of washing behind our ears? It’s ludicrous I tell you and I vaguely remember my eyes glazing over and time drawing to a virtual standstill as my opposite number awaited my response. Masturbation may be a rather delightful pastime but I was fairly assured that it wouldn’t put food on my table so I had to think of an alternative and fast.
Anyhoots, the twenties and thirties are reserved for wasting your time with jobs you loathe, people that couldn’t disinterest you more, and trying to convince yourself that you’re somebody you’re clearly not. At least that’s how mine played out. I was a little boy lost but stuck inside a man’s body and still no nearer to receiving closure on my adolescence. It was almost as though I’d been cryogenically frozen and I put it down to being the way of the world and soldiered on with my blissful ignorance. Yet I couldn’t help but notice a nagging feeling that I was living someone else’s life entirely. Perhaps I had been abducted by aliens and reprogrammed without my prior knowledge. I swiftly discounted this theory as I knew all about the anal probe and it was still a tight squeeze fitting just the one finger up my bottom so that couldn’t be it. There had to be something else I was missing and I never gave up hope of one day finding out and hopefully helping others understand their own plight also. Such a stand up guy.
The crazy thing is that I had become completely oblivious to my literacy skills. Granted I could read and write without too much fuss, but there was no great sense of exhilaration to be gleaned from writing up risk assessments and filling in session evaluations according to strict protocol. That was what my job wound up boiling down to, piles of mundane paperwork and precious little of what I had been employed to do. I was supposed to be out there on the front lines, assisting troubled teenagers from areas of deprivation in finding their own paths through the split-pea soup that is puberty. Instead I sat around shelling brain cells by the cluster and hanging out for that elusive last Friday of the month and the all-important bank transfer that accompanied it. Where was the passion? Where was the excitement? Where could I possibly knock one out without being brought up on a disciplinary? So many racing questions and diddly squat in the way of answers. Something had to give and give it bloody well did. Actually it seemed more interested in taking initially, but wrote me an IOU and swore blind it would pay me back eventually.
Nervous breakdowns – well ain’t they a toe punt in the squishy parts. Work-related stress was about as much fun as squeezing the primed pimple on the crease below your nostril and just as likely to end in tears. I swiftly became exasperated with my condition but was thrown a bone when full-scale depression came along and took the baton for the next leg. There’s nothing like a little utter despondency to help you forget that you despise your occupation and I began to look forward with a far greater sense of purpose. Melancholy Monday had a nice ring to it and Woe Is Me Wednesday turned out to be a splendid way of tying the week together. You guessed it, I was heading directly towards Saturday Night Suicide, and knew as much when I hit rock bottom with a thump and decided to stab myself in the throat with a ballpoint pen. Now I’d love to tell you that I was brushing up on my tracheostomy skills but would be lying in your faces if I did. Neither was my intention to cause actual harm on myself although this does tend to be more your “don’t try this at home” kind of activity. Nope, I just needed me some of that quick release stuff I’d been hearing about. All the rage apparently.
Astonishingly it worked. Granted, I now had a 4mm hole in my esophagus, but I cannot deny feeling that a little of the dense fog around me had lifted. I think it was around that time when I sussed out the whole channeling pain thing but had no idea what a humongous part it would play in my life from that point forward. Clearly I couldn’t continue using a fountain-pen as a makeshift bayonet as I was fairly assured that those collar inches aren’t supposed to resemble Swiss cheese. But there simply had to be another way of excavating this pent-up angst and moulding it into something that didn’t involve self-harming. As far as I was concerned, that was for the frustrated emo kids, and not a man approaching forty who should have left that shit well in his slipstream. Apologies for the generalization but, the fact remains, I should have known this wasn’t the way to go. Easier said than done when you feel so fucking anesthetized. Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t this sedative have worn off after twenty years? Must’ve been a dud batch. Dagnabbit, I couldn’t shit a solitary break.
Or so I thought. You see, while I was unquestionably constipated in the decrypting despair department, I discovered a different way to take a dump and it seemed to involve a great deal less wiping. It seemed transparent to me, words had been my mistress right through childhood, until our blossoming relationship had been cut short by a need to get a job quick smart. And this is what happens more often than not. I fell out of secondary education at twenty-one and instantly hit the panic button for fear of letting down those who believed I could make something of myself. That meant shelving my plans to be the next Enid Blyton (albeit slightly more edgy) and knuckling down to some good old-fashioned 9-5 shenanigans. Before I knew what had hit me, 9-5 became 9-7, and there were no remaining man hours to catch up on the one thing in life that I truly had a gift for. To be fair, I wasn’t ready to write the next big best seller at that point, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that I surrendered with little to no resistance. I should have known during the interview process when the managing director begun tapping my basilic vein before informing me that I may feel a slight pinch and requesting that I count backwards from ten. The wonders of hindsight.
There appeared nothing to gain in crying over spilt milk just to earn myself a Mr. Men plaster so I decided instead to put my mouth where my mind was and start getting some of these crazy thoughts down on parchment. It just so happens that I had positively oodles of useless information mooching about my cranium and, while it seemed to serve no real purpose at the time, I’d watched enough Transformers as a kid to understand the importance of summing up those parts. Take Optimus Prime for example: in deconstructed form he has little to look forward to other than a quick blast of turtle wax but, should he pull himself together and reprogram each component to pull in the same direction, then he’s suddenly a force to be reckoned with. Useless the data may well have been but, if prepared lovingly enough, it could still provide food for thought. That’s right, forty years of thankless slog, and the great revelation is that I’ve been a feeder all along. It was time to start preparing hors d’ouevre (after I’d washed any semen off my fingers of course).
The rest is history. Couldn’t resist throwing that one in as I never was particularly good at leaving scabs to heal before picking them off and tasting them. And don’t even attempt to tell me you didn’t do precisely the same as a whippersnapper or you’ll have me thinking I’m sort of freak of nature. Actually though, the rest is history, although perhaps not all of it. You see, things tend to come in threes, and where would past and present be without a dash of future to fasten those belts for? I won’t bore you all by dusting off the old photo album and forcing you to knock back mugs of rancid green tea out of politeness. Besides, I hear that the future is where it’s really at, and I’m just about primed to take things interstellar. We will need provisions of course and I’m not speaking of freeze-dried jerky and tin foil diapers. From what I have read of the terms and conditions of future sailing, we will be required to have our wits about us at all times or else run the risk of compromising the whole damn mission. Do that and guess what’s waiting for us back at mission control…FUCKING PAPERWORK! Fuck that for a game of light cycles, I want to bang E.T.’s neice and have my face hugged by a frisky xenomorph.
How we approach this future business is critical to how it will play out in earnest. So I have a few suggestions to throw into the melting pot and would just love to run them by my cherished co-pilots. Let’s start with kindness shall we? All pulling together would appear to be a rather spiffing start and the training manual is honestly more of a pamphlet than anything else. Grin like loonies and pass it on dutchie style, then repeat to fade – like pilfering slime from a snail. Guess what I’m doing right now and please refrain from activating those gutter neurons as I have almost no intention of lowering the tone one iota. Okay you got me, my left hand is on my balls as we speak. But that’s the kicker with learning how to type one-handed and I knew it would come in handy eventually so to speak. You guessed it, I’m patting myself on the back and finding it rather moreish to boot. Tell you what, offer up those spleens and we’ll make this one of those group hug affairs. Watch out for any wandering hands and we should get through this in one humongous conjoined piece. How long is too long by the way? Is the back tap a way of telling me something? Did I wash my armpits this morning?
Okay enough of the sentimentality, there’s work afoot Grueheads, and I reckon I have us something of a flight plan so let’s get this briefing over and done with shall we and get on with the final frontier stuff. Failure to launch would be devestating so I suggest we strap on those winning smiles and show the rest of the solar system just how special we are. I regret to inform you that great science doesn’t really come into it; it’s as simple as flashing those gums. That’s all I’ve got or at least until the crystal ball I managed to snag in an eBay bidding war turns up. What tomorrow brings is a mystery and, as long as that doesn’t entail coronary thrombosis or having one of my testicles snatched by an opportunist squirrel felon, I’m comfortable with that vague dynamic. Shit like that cannot be controlled but how we decide to attack each day is totally under our administration and I say let’s get those phasers set to stun. After all, it would seem such a shame wasting good chloroform on Ahura when one zap and it’s time to tap up Scotty for the all-important beam up. One thing is for certain, regardless of any previous explorers and their preposterous boasts, we’ll be heading where no man has gone before and that’s one trek I don’t plan on passing up.