Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb
 The Beach Boys Good Vibrations
 The Police When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best of What’s Still Around
What do you do when life throws you a soggy bag of wet shit? Break stuff? Limp Bizkit seemed to believe that destruction was the way to go but I’m not so sure, you know. You see, I once shared a house with a quick-tempered friend who suffered uncontrollable fits of rage and this culminated in him putting his fist through the wall on a number of occasions. While venting his pent-up rage in this manner probably felt like blessed relief at the time, it also provided an ideal opening for all manner of eight-legged freaks to scuttle through, not to mention looking mighty unsightly. It always seemed a little counter-productive to me. I mean, at least put your knuckles through someone else’s plaster. You think rock stars wreck their own shit? No, they book a hotel room and give a healthy tip to the maid once they sober up. Better yet, why not just refrain from vandalizing altogether? Surely there’s a better way to get all this angst out of your system that doesn’t entail smashing shit up like a sugar-tanked toddler.
Then on the opposite end of the spectrum we have the dreaded internalization and this can prove just as hazardous a pursuit as all that negative energy will eat you up from the inside out if you allow such. Take it from a man who has bottled so much misery over the years that I could have started a pissing brewery and drunk myself under the table. Lugging around all that emotional baggage is invariably going to result in one of two things – a full-scale nervous breakdown or shot kneecaps. Either way, good luck walking in a straight line. It’s not the way to go and can be massively self-destructive unless you suss out a way to channel said woe into something less sombre. While I appreciate this is easier said than done, particularly when you’re attempting to buck the trend of an entire lifetime, I’m aware of just what a lonely path it can be to walk if we don’t at least try. Besides, a problem shared is one halved right?
Not necessarily. Depending what you elect to put out into the world, it can just as easily wind up in multiplication. Should you be having a steaming ass turd of a day, then sharing that may not actually benefit you in the slightest. To mould matters into something worse, others might also be having a steaming ass turd of a day and your donation could be the thing to push them past the point of no return. Suddenly every bastard’s moping about like the world owes them a hand-job and that just makes you more thoroughly depressed in the long run. What transpires is a perpetual circle of swirling angst and the whole reason I choose Twitter for the majority of my social interaction. It’s not that I don’t care what’s going on in the lives of others who I care about, more that it’s hard to watch these negative spirals play out on a day-to-day basis. Now I’m the first to pipe up that sharing is caring, but perhaps not always.
As for growing bitter and twisted, well that gets my goat like an Amish milk-maiden and tugs the udders in a fashion I’m not altogether comfortable with. I’ve taken numerous leaps of faith in my lifetime and, more often than not, they’ve resulted in knee scabs and teeth in a basket. Indeed only recently my kindness was mistaken for a sign of weakness by one of life’s little septic leeches and it set me back me almost ten grand I’d been through hell to get my hands on. So you’d think I’d refrain from taking any suchlike punts in the future right? Actually I’d do the same thing again all over in a heartbeat; only perhaps using a more effective screening process before parting with my hard-earned cash. You don’t have to be a gambler to play your hand on occasion and still come away with an increased chip stack. Just watch out for those jokers as they have an annoying habit of laughing last.
So we’ve now ascertained that breaking stuff is not advisable, bottling is a fool’s game, sour grapes taste funny and not everyone in the world has designs on screwing us over. But what else can we do when things start to turn to shit as they invariably do on occasion? Well I reckon I may have found the answer and, thanks to the events of Sunday 5th November, can deliver this little wisdom nugget from first-hand experience. You see, yesterday was one such steaming ass turd of a day for me and I felt well within my rights to spend its entirety sulking in my own squalor as has been the case in the past, more often than not. Fate conspired against me in the cruelest of fashions, doing the right thing earned me a double-decker shit sandwich to snack upon, and I swear I could hear a flock of magpies mocking me from the rooftops to complete this torrid trifecta.
Glancing in my full-length mirror offered scant consolation as I curiously resembled an entry-level troll this day, even down to the hunched posture and lopsided grimace. Thus I hobbled off to my dingy cavern, which doubles up rather gloriously as a tool shed, and prepared to stare at a blank screen for the remains of the day. Not a solitary word was forthcoming and I could literally feel myself sinking deeper into familiar emotional quicksand with every second that dragged.
What made it worse was that it wasn’t a question of my old adversary guilt coming to pay me an unplanned visit, but self-pity for having been so unceremoniously shafted by the mace of misadventure. Had I possessed a lute and the faintest inkle dinkle how to pluck the damn strings, then I’d have written a sad song and serenaded myself into oblivion. Mercifully, garden hoes make lousy percussion instruments and the piss-poor acoustics well and truly put paid to my deeply pathetic musical career.
Sitting around feeling sorry for myself was clearly getting me nowhere fast so, on the shrewd advice of someone dear to me, I took the executive decision to try something a little different from the norm. Instead of licking my wounds like an injured animal, I performed two acts intended only to lift the spirits of others who appeared in need of a pick-me-up. I could have used these opportunities to pimp out my own hardships but that wasn’t the purpose of these particular exercises. Instead I listened intently as both parties spoke about what had them feeling less than chipper, offered sound advice where I felt it was necessary, and refrained from making the conversation about me, regardless of the fact that I was desperate for a pep talk myself. And do you know what? It had the most profound effect on me. I make no secret of my appreciation for the art of paying it forward and make it my business to do so every time the chance presents itself. But there’s something about making this kind of transaction when your own fortunes appear in arrears that I found incredibly liberating.
Now I’m not going to suggest that my cheek dimples returned instantaneously or that a red-breasted robin landed on my cuff and chirped its mirthful melody the moment my goal had been accomplished. The day hadn’t miraculously sucked less assholes and I still wished only to place my head in the oven on a low heat. However, taking a short break from my burgeoning woes endorsed all the perspective switch required to keep such rancid suggestion to a bare minimum. Better yet, should a single one of my words of encouragement have struck a chord, then perhaps the recipients would be more inclined to mimic the sentiment. Before I knew it, I’d have kicked off a bona fide chain reaction and a multitude of steaming ass turd days could then become decidedly less whiffy and fecal. Unless I was mistaken, my actions had earned me an open-palmed back pat from yours truly. Everybody wins see.
Traditionally paying it forward is a pastime better suited to the moments when we’re feeling our most radiant. The spring is in our every stride, smiles are at full mast, and life curiously resembles a bowl of glazed cherries in the very height of ripeness. Given that all is going swimmingly, it only feels right and just to pass the feeling on to the next person. However, playing Samaritan while your kidneys are busy being soundly pummeled by outrageous misfortune is somewhat less of a cakewalk and considerably more infrequent in its occurrence. Thanks to the events of Sunday 5th November (officially a real steaming ass turd of a day), I’m far better equipped to do precisely that. Naturally this will entail a considerable amount of mind over matter and that’s where social networks can actually prove a blessing in disguise. You see, I’m privileged to have crossed paths with a pair of lion-hearted ladies whose personal troubles effortlessly trump mine to the power of a thousand. I only hope they’re aware what an inspiration they are to me through their interminable never-say-die attitude.
Both would be more than justified in feeling hard done by as poor health is a constant reminder that life doesn’t always play fair. However, the way they conduct themselves on a daily basis is so geared towards positivity that one cannot help but be bowled the fuck over. I’m always on the lookout for motivation and aren’t required to search far with these self-proclaimed Neuro-Twins popping up on my feed. So you see, with friends like these, I have no right to be my own worst enemy. Days like today will invariably come and pass like farts in a florist, but I’ve got far better things to do than feeling sorry for myself as long as I have a tongue in my head that still wiggles. Paying it forward – that’s where it’s at. By fashioning the formidable into something favorable, we’re feeding an altogether less mean-spirited monkey. Suddenly the vista before us becomes way less bleak and barren than before. And a day that still classifies in the steaming ass turd bracket produces 2000 or so words just like this. How’s that for good vibrations?
Dedicated to two bona fide superheroes, The Neuro-Twins
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017