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Oh, I should probably do something clever with my profile, like put up some pictures or something witty.


Sorry, I haven't got round to it yet. So here's a picture of my lovely cat Bella.




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» Lies that got out of control

Oh crikey - the girl who got run over.
I'd completely forgotten this one...

My parents used to ask me every day "so how was school today?" and obviously the fairly mundane stories of maths, spelling, P.E. and all the rest got a bit repetitive. During a particularly uninteresting season when I was about six years old, I started making things up. Mostly small things: Christopher got into trouble, Emma brought her pet rabbit to school, we went on a nature walk and saw some bees, that kind of thing.

One day I got home, my parents asked the question and I answered "oh, a little girl got knocked over by a car outside school and died." This was complete fabrication but to my six-year-old mind seemed not entirely unfeasible. My parents, of course, were shocked and asked for more details so naturally I invented some: it was Robbie's mum, she was driving too fast, it was one of the girls in reception, she'd crossed the road without looking, the car had run her over, some people saw it happen and lots of children screamed, all that sort of thing that came rapidly to my road-safety-fed and imaginative small child's mind.

I think it was the exertion of the hasty invention that made me seem a bit reluctant to talk further, so my parents stopped asking me any more questions and I toddled off up to my room. My parents, thinking I was in shock and of course not doubting my account, phoned the school - the number was engaged. So they called other parents, asking if anyone knew anything more about the little girl killed outside school today. I sat in my room, happily playing with Lego and blissfully unaware of the dramatic Chinese whispers-like panic, gossip and search for answers rapidly propagating along the telephone lines of the parents of infants in my year all now hastily calling each other. The school telephone remained engaged.

It was only the following morning, when I'd completely forgotten about my lie and was taken to school by my dad as usual on his way to work, that we saw a huge throng of parents and journalists waiting outside the school gates, some with bunches of flowers to place outside the school, being confronted by a very bewildered head teacher who was being accused of trying to deny everything and stage some sort of cover-up.

Fortunately, somewhere in the midst of all the phone calls and drama the night before, the original source of the utter lie had somehow been forgotten - by everyone except my dad. He said very little as he left me at the school gates but I vividly remember the huge and lengthy shouting-at session (of course accompanied by having no dinner) I got from both parents when I got home that night, on how and why lying was bad and wrong and how if they ever caught me lying again they would tell the whole school where the story of the run-over girl came from...
(Thu 12th Aug 2010, 14:52, More)

» Professions I Hate

The professionally unemployed
This is probably going to be a bit of a rant. Before I start, I want to make it clear I'm not talking about unemployed people in general. Most of us at some point have left a job or been made redundant and had to spend time looking for work. Especially "In These Tough Economic Times" it's not uncommon. Unemployment is usually a stage between employments, where one hunts for employment. That's why the state-funded bolster is now called a "jobseeker's allowance".

What pisses me off are the people who objected to it having its name changed to that because it was previously called "unemployment benefit", because that's how they see it: if you're unemployed, then someone should be paying you. They hate that you now have to actually try and find a job in order to keep claiming your money - money that they think they have a right to be given because they don't want to work, that it's the State's responsibility to fund their laziness.

I know I'm only describing a minority of people, and I really don't want to come over all Daily Mail here (we'll get on to that later), but the attitude and sense of entitlement some of these people have is truly stupefying.

I've been a teacher; I've spent plenty of time working in GP surgeries; one of my best friends is a social worker, many of my friends are now doctors and one friend has the misfortune (or the courage) to work in a Jobcentre. I've seen, and heard of, countless cases:

- women who will have another baby to try and demonstrate their commitment to the latest feckless nomadic neanderthal who's grunted his way through the neighbourhood, with the added bonus that having another child means you get to move house (I didn't know that families are entitled to one bedroom per child in council house allocations either until J told me: spawn another, get a bigger house)

- families where the children wear their filthy school uniform at weekends because they have no other clothes but there's always money for the mum's Stella, fags and bingo and they've got a plasma screen TV and a clutch of games consoles,

- mums that are given the Argos catalogue by social workers and told to pick what their children need - ever wondered why you see chavs wandering around with several hundred pound baby buggies?

- kids that arrive at school unable to spell their own name, or name primary colours, with speech and behavioural problems because they've been sat in front of the brightly flashing TV from birth and no-one's ever conversed with them,

- patients with no illness who will book GP appointments because they've run out of ibuprofen, knowing that a pack will cost 50p in the supermarket but they get free prescriptions so they'll stock up that way,

- "unfit to work" patients, usually overweight men, who ham it up so badly and claim agonising pains and difficulty even using crutches to try and continue getting disability benefit but are then seen doing building work on the sly for cash,

- the "bad men", the "rude boys", the stupid pricks with the anger problems who suck their teeth and drive shabby blacked-out BMWs, deal crap drugs and think that condoms aren't for real men, who cajole and screw any woman they can, until she gets pregnant (usually after she gets a tattoo) to prove her devotion to them, who run off to the next poor gullible girl, leaving a trail of seriously messed up kids who'll inevitably grow up like their dads, thinking women are meant to breed, men are meant to be penis-driven wanderers at the whim of their animal wills and everyone is meant to be given money to do this.

Plenty of these people's neighbours work incredibly hard, sometimes two or three jobs, in order to afford the same things that the professionally unemployed get given. And I've heard several of our patients complain that there's no work out there, usually because "the immigrants are taking all the jobs" - OK, crikey, here goes the next rant - they're not TAKING the jobs, if you're too lazy to find a job or think that certain jobs are beneath you, the immigrants are DOING the jobs, because you won't. Who's cleaning toilets? Flipping burgers? Emptying waste bins? Mopping floors? Sweeping streets? Doing a hundred other menial jobs that you look down on and think you're too good for? Yes, often immigrants - people who have come over here to WORK, to earn money for themselves, by WORKING, who usually work incredibly hard because they appreciate the opportunity to earn a living wage from a crappy job and understand that to look after their family they need to EARN the money to support them.

The selfish arrogance behind the sense of entitlement riles me beyond measure. "But it's my right" is heard far too much from a tiny number of people. This isn't a party political thing. It's not a class thing. It's not a race thing. It's not a wealth thing. It's just that I wish there was some way to tell the whingeing scroungers who turn up at the surgery week after week griping about how they're not being given all they're "entitled" to, to SHUT UP, GROW UP AND GET A FUCKING JOB.
(Fri 28th May 2010, 14:08, More)

» Political Correctness Gone Mad

I'm a Christian.
Apparently this offends people. Without even knowing me, people can hear that phrase about me and immediately decide I'm objectionable, yet for some reason this doesn't count in their heads as prejudice or discrimination.

Just mentioning that I'm one of yer actual born-again happy-clappy God-botherers, who goes to church on (some) Sundays and does that praying thing sometimes, is enough to set most people off.


Yes, some of my lot believe in 7-day creation a few thousand years ago*.

Yes, some of my lot don't believe in sex before marriage**.

Yes, some of my lot don't believe in sex with people the same sex***.

Yes, there are a lunatic few who get the placards out at Jerry Springer The Opera, abortion clinics, section 28, Harry Potter book launches (wtf?) and God knows where else you find a few militant fools.


But the point is, none of that matters. The clue's in the name. It's not about any of that lot. The thing that makes me (or any of my lot) a Christian is that Christ business. Believing that that Jesus bloke, that a bunch of historians wrote of about 200 years ago, was more than a "nice man" or a "good teacher" or a "troublemaker" or "political activist" or whatever who upset a few people and got nailed to a cross, how sad; believing that he actually meant what he said. The rest is all cultural.

It's not about trying to be nice or that ridiculously patronising phrase "christian values" - don't get me started on all that - if you're not going to acknowledge there was a bloke who professed to be the Christ behind it all, don't think that just trying to be nice to people is "christian" any more than it's "ghandian", "guevarian" or "Jimmy Saville-ian".

It's not about Christmas or Easter (particularly). Jesus wasn't born in the middle of winter, nor is it possible he got nailed to a cross on the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Most of my lot wouldn't care if you swapped them round, changed the dates or just combined the two and called them Santa's Winterval Excess of Rampant Consumerism.

But don't patronise me. If you haven't studied it, if you haven't thought a bit about it, don't assume you know more about it than me. Any more than I'd presume to say to a Muslim, "oh yeah, but that Muhammad bloke, right, he wasn't really all that, he lived in a cave and slept with his aunt, didn't he? I read that in the Ramadan Special in the Mail..."

I don't care what you say about my beliefs. Because they're my beliefs. I don't think you should care and I don't think I've got any right to be offended by what you think.

I don't think you should be forced to believe the same thing any more than I should be forced not to believe them. I've had a bit of a think about it, I still question everything, I like to debate it and I know what I believe. Don't lump me in with a whole load of people with no muscles in their arms who wear sandals, grow beards and ring bells. It's not about them and it's not about me. As I said, the clue's in the name.



Length? Might have ranted there a bit...



...and if you don't click on "I like this" it means you're a politically correct bigot. ;)


EDIT: forgot to add the stars, sorry -

* I'm not convinced either way. Both poles of the argument seem to rely on a bit of a leap of faith of some sort, and I don't think in the end it matters too much.

** Like I said, the rest is cultural. Look at a bunch of repressed twenty-somethings trying not to acknowledge that they have genitals or feelings about them and compare them with a bunch of twenty somethings sticking their genitals in or around anything that moves, and I reckon you'll find something silly about both of them. Said Jesus bloke didn't say "wait until you get married to have sex," so I didn't.

*** I don't think the accumulated cultural prejudices of generations of church-goers should have any influence here. For the record, I don't much fancy the cock. Some of my male friends do. Said Jesus bloke said nothing on the matter, and it certainly doesn't bother me. Or them.
(Sat 24th Nov 2007, 9:24, More)

» I Drank Meths (pointless teenage things you did to shock)

The Sixth Form Revue
I was the youngest and most obnoxious kid in the year, basically an irritating little fuzzy-haired shit who often did things to show off but rarely even got a laugh from my peers because, frankly, I wasn't funny.

Aged sixteen I included myself in the cast of the end-of-year sixth form revue: a collection of sketches, impersonations and general school in-jokes that only occasionally held any humour to anyone else. Having written several terrible sketches, most of which were rejected, I decided I needed my moment of fame some other way. I wrote a sketch in which the leading character gets electrocuted off-stage and runs across the stage with his head on fire. Like all my other sketches it was rubbish, but the stunt appealed to the upper-sixth producers and it was accepted.

Because I usually got in the way of things and there were plenty of actually funny things to prepare for the stage, my sketch was never rehearsed. Thus, on the night, we all realised it was my sketch but nobody knew their lines. The curtains opened, there was a pause and the others involved decided to abandon the sketch.

Undeterred and ever attention-seeking, I promptly poured about half a can of lighter fluid on the top of my head, soaking my fluffy hedge of hair, put a match to it and ran shouting across the stage.

Apparently it was quite a spectacle. The audience genuinely screamed at the sight of a short spotty, be-spectacled kid with four-foot flames (lighter fluid) and black smoke (burning hair) billowing from the top of his head, and I earnt my few seconds of infamy running around the stage in a state of very convincingly growing terror. The watching teachers were completely aghast but I ran off-stage before anyone attempted to intervene.

Mercifully, we had plenty of fire extinguishers backstage and I grabbed a CO2 can and promptly froze my remaining hair to my scalp. Through another miracle of fate, my remaining hair was booked to be cut the next day (a Saturday) and the barber somehow managed to produce a messy style that covered my bald spots and burned blisters.

Monday morning, I ambled into my form room and was greeted by a massive round of applause for probably the only time in my school career. The later bollocking for irresponsibly using fire on-stage was probably harsher because I didn't appear to show any injuries, however it was worth it for the few moments of utter panic I appear to have caused.
(Thu 19th Jul 2007, 17:13, More)

» Crazy Relatives

Bob.
My late grandfather used to have a problem with cats crapping in his prized garden. He hated them so much that he would keep a water pistol filled with bleach by his back door. He'd watch through his kitchen window and, upon spotting a moggie, grab the squirter and dash out of the back door to attack.

When he discovered that this didn't do his roses much good when he (usually) missed, he bought not one but _two_ air pistols. He'd keep them loaded and developed an amazing technique where he held one in each hand, could quickly cock both, and burst out of the back door firing them together, John Woo-style.

He continued this until about two months before he died aged 88.



P.S. as far as I know, no cats were actually harmed during the making of this story. He was brilliant to watch, but a lousy shot.
(Thu 5th Jul 2007, 23:54, More)
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