I’m trying to remember the last time I put absolutely no effort into something, but I couldn’t be bothered engaging my memory for long enough to uncover it. I think you can already tell where I’m going with this piece, but I will say, it’s a wonderful feeling when you go past caring and just decided to drop out completely.
I had that with college, you know, and it was really just a natural progression. The timetable they gave me was something ridiculous like only 11 hours a week, which I took as licence not to turn up at all. After all, the less teaching hours there are, the easier it is to cram. We’d get to exam time and I’d see all these triers and achievers stressing out like crazy. I never really liked the feeling of being stressed, so I just never bothered putting myself under any of it. Besides, I don’t think colleges can fail you anyway, so long as you turn up on the last day. Turning up was, after all, the bare minimum, and I’m always happy to do the bare minimum.
It’s funny how a game can remind you of a particular time in your life. Some of the best nappies I ever wore came when I’d used to play Super Mario Kart, particularly when I’d turn our Super Nintendo on at full volume at 2 o’clock in the morning, awaking my brother with one hell of a start.
Then, at some point in the late 90s, I got some sort of horrific abscess in my mouth. Perhaps to placate me and my disgusting swollen mouth , my parents bought me GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64, which famously featured an abscess-afflicted Pierce Brosnan on the front cover. Well, OK, it was just a strange photo, but it’s funny how these things stuck with you. Funnier still how violent games like that make for a great childhood.
I think we’re all prone to those most dastardly bursts of motivation that strike every so often. You’ll just be sat there, another completely listless, fruitless, pointless day, when you suddenly realise that you are wasting your life and you won’t get another. This could frighten even the most inert sloth into action, and these moments can be triggered by all kinds of menacing sources. These days, you usually get jolted by social media, but that’s something I avoid as much as possible these days so as not to have it rubbed in my face by the Joneses – I suggest you do likewise.
It’s our pesky brains that are to blame, I’m sure of it, secreting some miserable hormone that makes us hate ourselves for not having achieved anything that day. We shouldn’t worry though; I imagine by the time we all hit 40, we’ll realise that, whatever we wanted out of life, it’s not gonna happen for us and we can just become a husk until we’re gracefully told to retire, and go off and die like an old dog.
I saw a chart the other day which suggested that, as of 2018, almost 40% of people met their partners online, up from the 0.1% of high-tech loonies who did so in 1990. Of course this increase has taken a chunk out of the figures of those couples who met through mutual friends, a figure which has declined to 20% and is still plummeting.
This is a bit of a shame for me, as I’ve always seemed to have a knack for matchmaking. There seemed to be a time when I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride, setting up relationships but never getting an old consolation snog myself, a sort of sweetener for the deal. Don’t they say that the art of good business is being a good middleman? That’s where the returns are, or so you’d think.
No psychiatrist has ever managed to catch me and pin me to their long sofa yet, and if I valued my continued liberty to live my life outside of an asylum, then I’d better keep it that way. I will give you one psychological nugget (surprisingly not the best type of nugget out there) though. Not because I’m terribly arrogant enough to believe you really care what’s going on in my head, not at all. It’s just to give the police a bit of a clue if ever I’m wanted for murder.
Simply put, I am introverted to an incredible degree. Anyone with any level of introversion will recognise at once the idea of recharging one’s batteries after social interactions. Being introverted doesn’t mean you have to be a shrinking wallflower, a strong and silent type or even, God forbid, a boring prat. You can be the life and soul of the party if you like, but you better believe you’ll need that recharge period, that blessed bit of alone time when it comes.
My last stint at running a city went rather badly. I cared little for the opinion polls, which were grossly misinformed. The pollution and crime were natural by-products of a bustling, modern city. You never hear people criticising Las Vegas do you? My decision to genocide my townsfolk is what really did for me. After having been tried and very nearly convicted of crimes against humanity, it was decided that I would avoid 1,008 years in prison if I promised to never run a town of people ever again.
I needed some group to bully in order to fill my days though, so I took the midnight train towards Cunnyton, a hopeless little berg located far away from human civilisation. So far away in fact that I’d be the only human sod there, a fact brought home to me by the strange cat who began Gestapo questioning me on the train. I swiftly informed him that I was the only totalitarian around here and that he should watch himself. Never saw him again.
I have to wonder what it’s like for those famous people who have completely outgrown their friend group on their way to greatness. It’s happened to me a lot, actually. That is, people around me go on to find success and meanwhile I’m still finding farts funny, especially when I wake myself up with them.
There must be some dreadfully awkward scenarios where the superstar becomes temporarily embarrassed; after having been whisked away into the world of fame and fortune and adulation, they suddenly have to re-face their old childhood.
All those embarrassing moments, when the ordinaries treated you like a peer, all coming back to haunt you at once. Take noted treacherous Sassenach Graham Norton for example. He’s actually from the same neck of the woods as me, but he’d never tell you this himself. In fact, if you transported him right now to my hometown, you’d probably hear the screams from space.
Every man out there who’s managed to convince a woman to stay in his companny for more than three days will have experienced that blood-curdling, spine-tingling text message that reads: “We need to talk”. I’m certain it’s taught as part of the curriculum in all-girls’ schools.
You know, a quick module they do just before they learn how to show indecisiveness about what they’d like to eat, and how to get the last word in arguments. Well, if you’re a male and you’re reading this, fear not because I have struck a blow for our whole gender – I have subjected a woman to the “We need to talk” routine.
I’m not going to start going at you about whatever the deal is with airline food, but if we’re ever gonna be allowed back on planes again without crowds of curtain-twitchers judging us and denouncing us as Satan, then we’ll have to think like travellers again. It’ll be back to sniffing out the best last minute deals, making that dicey decision about whether or not you really need to spend a tenner on travel insurance. And above all else, you need to make sure you have the right entertainment for the plane journeys themselves.
So here’s your story prompt – you’re sat on the loo, taking care of business and picking your nose at the same time. Then it happens: a red alert warning pops up on your phone, screaming at you and informing you that an enormous meteor will impact Earth in three days’ time, and the cataclysmic smash will engulf us all. It’s a good thing you were sat on the throne, because this revelation’s really got things moving for you down there. It’s no false alarm like the nuclear scare that Hawaii had a couple of years ago either, this is a bona fide apocalypse you’ve got on your hands. What’s your next step?