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About Me. M.E. - noun, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, otherwise known as "yuppie flu". A persistent state of malaise and general under-the-weatherness coupled with ongoing and, frequently, incurable depression. Caused by living in fucking Camden.

I think I shall now title my page 'My Creepy Hometown: Tales from the 45th parallel.'

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» Siblings

Lisa and Dottie
I’ve got a sister. She’s remarkable in the number of surgeries she’s had, organs she’s missing and various diseases she’s suffered. Only now, she’s your normal 32 year old mum. No fun there.

The tale I wish to tell is about my friend Lisa.

I set the scene: we’re 10 year olds in my backwards cowfucking hometown. We were the social misfits – I was a geek because my dad was my English teacher, Lisa wet the bed on a school camping trip. Our lunch hours were spent hanging out on the monkey bars, repelling all other students with our sheer hideousness.

Then one day a new girl started at the school. Lisa and I traversed the playground to take up residence on our monkey bars, only to find the new girl – Dottie – had beaten us to it. As beggars certainly couldn’t be choosers, we became firm and fast friends with Dottie. Our ‘gang’ expanded to three, and we spent most all of our spare time together. They were my very best friends.

Time came for a familial introduction, and Lisa invited our families to her house. The room went quiet, the tension was palpable. I assumed they all hated one another.

Weeks passed, then Lisa’s family sat her down for a talk. Lisa, they said, you’re adopted. When we lived in Florida, we found a teenage mother – your mother – and adopted you from her. Dottie’s mom is your mom. Dottie is your sister.

Dottie’s parents had, by extraordinary chance, moved thousands of miles to a no-mark town in the middle of the Michigan woods. Lisa and I had, by chance, become great friends with Dottie. Lisa had, by chance, invited Dottie’s parents to meet hers. Lisa and Dottie were sisters.

What a way to find out you’re adopted, by befriending your biological sister.

Lisa, sadly, died last year from cervical cancer. This is for you, Lis…
(Fri 2nd Jan 2009, 10:16, More)

» Sticking it to The Man

To all the people with the ‘Hark at me! I shoplift! Awesome!’ stories –
Do you really think you’re ‘sticking it to the man’? Do you really think that corporate will ever – EVER – take a wage cut owing to rampant shoplifting? Oh, Gosh, the fat man in the suit says, shoplifting is up. I’d better rethink that emerald toilet.

Of course bloody not. They’ll fire the single mum with the Saturday job. They’ll ditch the person who needs the money the most. You’re not acting as a modern day Robin Hood and I won’t pat your bloody back.

I don’t want to worry my pretty little head about the lawlessness, the morality or the general human indecency of theft –you’re fucking over people who need money more than you do. But go on, use your excuses about how Tesco has loss margins to cover your theft habit, maaaaaaaan.

You. You there. Shoplifters. You don’t know what it is like to be poor. You don’t know what it is like to be starving. You’re just stealing lipstick from Boots because you want to be pretty and you don’t want to have to pay for it.

When did this myth start that shoplifting is a good thing?
(Mon 21st Jun 2010, 15:14, More)

» Neighbours

Rocky
When I was 15 years old, my parents decided that we needed an exchange student. Upon receiving a dossier full of potential new temporary siblings, my sister and I did what any teenage girls would do: we chose the cutest one.

We lived in the most backwards sliver of cow-fingering Northern Michigan. My parents were educated people, but the town was full of the yee-haw gelatinous hillbillies in Nascar t-shirts cloaked in a film of crystal meth, comprised of 2 parts human and 98 parts gesticulating feces. This was the place where the only black man in town was shot in the stomach. We had the highest rates of child poverty and child abuse in the nation. This was a real winner of a place.

The Swede arrived, as handsome as expected. As conversation flowed, it was revealed that he was a serious member of the wealthy bourgeoisie – his mother was an MP and his father a millionaire giant of industry. The Swede was, as one might expect, a fish out of water. My hometown was the perfect antithesis to the privileged socialism to which he had become accustomed.

At the end of his stay, his parents decided to visit. My parents were keen to show that we weren’t Hitlerlusting inbred cretins, but rather hard working members of America’s heartland. My mother repainted much of the house, the garden was full of flowers, thicker books received more prominent positions in the bookcase – my parents were ready. We were proud of being small town folk, and gosh darned it, didn’t the house just sparkle.

We sat down for the first dinner around the table, the menu of which I’ve long since forgotten. I spied the fat neighbour boy, Rocky (for that was actually his name), creeping through the front garden. I saw The Swede’s parents lift eyes and follow this root vegetable of a human being…

Then Rocky pulled down his trousers and shat in our front garden, like a dog.
(Mon 5th Oct 2009, 9:58, More)

» Guilty Laughs

Four-year-olds should be confined until they learn diplomacy.
I was out shopping with my four year old nephew.

A woman of (un) healthy proportions was stood in front of us in the queue. My nephew stood behind her, sizing up her backside with intent. Staring, I should say, doing some mental arithmetic and dreaming those toddler dreams. “Auntie Snark! I can fit in her butt!” was his final conclusion, whispered at jet engine level. I went bug-eyed trying to keep the laughs politely contained within my own face.

The woman turned around with the ferocity of a million Twinkies and Godzilla stamped, “Keep your child under control!” By this time, I’d given up on breathing and was solely concentrating on not laughing, which was fairly obvious by my own hand trying to scoop the chortles back into my mouth.

Genuinely hurt and a bit scared, my nephew, too young to understand the intricacies of diplomacy and why you should only ever call a woman ‘thin’, whimpered and said, “But…but…I can fit in her bummy, Auntie,” while doing his best to gesticulate the size of her massive crack.

People were staring, awaiting my next move. This was my moment. Beads of sweat formed on my brow. Do I prove that I am an adult and force this child to make a magnanimous apology to this woman? A hyena-like noise emerged from the depths my guts as I attempted to apologise, and I ran away with my giggling nephew in tow. I thought I was going to sick up all down my tits if I had to keep a straight face.
(Fri 23rd Jul 2010, 10:54, More)

» Tales of the Unexplained

He just disappeared.
My father, when I was young, was the teacher in charge of school upkeep during the summer holidays. Once a week, we’d stop through to make sure nobody had smeared shit on the walls, then we’d check the meters and go home. For my sister and I, these trips were particularly fun. We could run through the corridors of a school! We could shout in a school! We could do cartwheels in a classroom! Best yet, we could see what the boys’ toilets looked like!

On one nondescript summer day, my dad, my sister and myself made the usual walk to the school. We got up to the usual bumbling about, while my dad got up to his usual duties. Time came to leave.

“C’mon kids! Time to leave!”
“All right, dad!”

We saw him walking towards the front door, then, I swear to Darwin and Tesla, he fucking disappeared. One second, there was a dad. The next, nothing. Right before our bloody eyes. There was no mist, no image dissolving like in the movies. CLICK – he was gone, and the only place he could have gone was through the front door.

My sister and I thought he was playing a joke, a bit of a scary hide-and-seek. We ran through the building, searching every locker and cranny. Nothing. Then we started crying out, scared. Nothing. Surely a father – and my dad was the greatest, at this point would sheepishly emerge to calm us down. Nothing. Three hours passed and we had no sign of our father, we couldn’t go home because we were locked in and we couldn’t get to a phone to call our mother. So we sat in a corridor and waited.

“Are you coming, kids? What are you doing sitting down, I told you to come here!”

And there was dad again, standing in the same spot.

“DAD! WHERE DID YOU GO!! WE WERE SO SCARED!”

“I, well, I didn’t go anywhere, I’ve been standing here the whole time, sillies.”

“NO, DAAAAAAAAAD, you disappeared! We were sad! We cried! We looked everywhere for you!”

“Don’t be stupid, kids. Obviously, I…”

And then he checked his watch. Indeed, three hours has passed. He turned a whiter shade of green, and we walked home in silence.

I had spent the years following assuming that my dad had played a dirty trick on us, that he took it as an opportunity to skip out on his kids so he could go to the bar or something. I brought it up again a few years later.

“I swear on your mother’s life, I didn’t go anywhere. I remember calling out to you kids, then suddenly the two of you were sitting down. Three hours were gone, but not a single second had passed for me.”

“Yeah, sure, dad.”

“I swear on your life, I didn’t hide from you. And in those years since it happened, I lie awake at night wondering what happened to me during those three hours. I – [voice cracking] - don’t know what happened…”

I’m inclined to believe my dad and to believe my own eyes (HE FUCKING DISAPPEARED!!!) But was it a dad playing a particularly devious joke on his kids? Eh, I’m not so certain of that. I certainly can’t explain what happened, and dad’s admitted to all of his other practical jokes by now.

There was only one way he could have run away to hide, and that was through the door. That door was locked. All I know is that he disappeared right before my eyes.
(Thu 3rd Jul 2008, 10:46, More)
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