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I'm me. I'm not you. That doesn't narrow it down much. If you want to know more, ask :-) I might even answer.

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» Shit Stories: Part Number Two

Glycerol Explosions
If there's ever a question that calls for TMI, this is it.

Normally, I'm a reasonably regular kind of guy. No problems down there whatsoever. However, a few months ago, I had an unfortunate lack of crap for a few days, and was beginning to feel a bit... bloated and unpleasant. So, I decide to shift the crap.

Allow me to tell you the story of The Glycerol Suppositories.

Our story begins when our hero purchases a 12-pack of these from Boots, and cycles off home for dinner. He goes through all the normal motions of the evening, he eats, he showers, and then he pops two of the little buggers in, after reading the instructions.

Time = 0

Now, you're supposed to leave them in for about 15-30 minutes before you have a movement, so they have time to work on the whole area instead of just stimulating the rectum (not in that way, you filthy filthy people). Slight burn as they went in, but nothing after that. And so I waited, making sure that there was a clear path to the toilet, listening to internet radio, and generally surfing the internet.

Time = 5 minutes

At this point, feeling nothing. I'm wondering if I need to put a third one in, or whether they're just not compatible with me. This feeling of wonder continues until

Time = 6 minutes

Whoah jesus! Massive wave of pressure. Disappears as quickly as it came. Sudden sinking feeling in my stomach, realising that yes, they're working. And yes, they're working damned well. Even more sinking feeling as I realise that I've got to wait at least 10 minutes before I can go to the loo.

Time = 8 minutes

There are pirates in my arse! They're jumping around, sailing ships and shouting YARRRRRR! loudly. Not only that, they've recruited vikings too, and are trying to batter down the gates of my sphincter with a series of cannonblasts! Back and forth!

Time = 10 minutes

All conscious thought has ceased. Nicholas Parsons's melodic voice on Radio 4 does nothing to distract me from my rump. I have never been more aware of it until now. The pirates and vikings have been joined by ninjas, throwing their weight against the brown gates in waves. I believe they're composing some kind of anthem of destruction in C Major.

Time = 13 minutes

Being an atheist, I unexpectedly find religion, praying to God to let me hold out long enough to make it to the 15 minutes on the label without a rather disgusting accident. My rectum has been inspired by Transformers now, as the ninjas, pirates, vikings and newly arrived bulldozers have all joined together into one gestalt entity, named "Crapicon", who is jumping around like a 4 ft nun trying to operate a firehose

Time = 15 minutes

I've gone the time needed on the label. Now begins the short but precarious walk. I don't dare to run, no matter how desperate I am. Crapicon has brought forth the lasers and has managed to invent photon and quantum torpedoes just from my knowledge of Star Trek. One small step, followed by another small step, buttocks tightly clenched... I make it to the bathroom. Thank God there's loo paper, otherwise I would have lost my newfound religion. The door is locked... relief is in sight, the armed forces are about to make a report to head command saying "All men drowned at sea"... and then...

I fart. Long and loud, amplified by the porcelain bowl. It turns out Crapicon and his components were just bluster and hot air, no actual substance. All is well, I can go back toOHJESUSCHRISTMYARSE!

The resulting outflow of shit could have fertilised every farm in East Anglia for a year. It was loud, it was varied in texture, globule size and consistency. If there had been but a pea-sized drip more, it could have reached critical mass and gone nuclear. I'm curled up on the toilet, and whimpering like a newly sodomized yorkshire terrier, praying for it to stop. The window was open, so any passers by would have gotten an entertaining audio show, at least until the stench drifted downwards. It could have stripped the enamel off your teeth, and knocked out a small child at thirty paces.

About 2 minutes later, with intermittent blasts... it does stop. But I'm not fooled. I sit there for fifteen more minutes, waiting... patiently. I shall not be deceived. But this time, it was indeed truly done. The enemies were defeated. I lived to tell the tale, and felt much better later than evening.

Those little translucent bullet things should be shipped out to Iraq as weapons of mass destruction. They work. Oh dear god do they work. I purchased a 12-pack, it has 10 in it now, and it will remain 10 until I throw it out.

Apologies for length. And for the smell.
(Thu 27th Mar 2008, 17:17, More)

» Conned

Passive Aggression
(unlurk)

Near where my folks live in Hertfordshire, there's a big open air market that runs every Saturday on the old unused airfield. Complete mixture of everything - meat, vegetables, computer games, bags, crappy tools, phone unlocking. Probably half or more of the stuff on sale conveniently 'fell off the back of a lorry'. But by far the biggest single set of retailers are the clothes retailers. Never the same stock each week, whatever they can flog goes out on the racks.

As it happened, my mother and sister were looking for some jeans. Since trying them on wasn't exactly going to be possible, they did the best they could by holding them up against my sister and visually comparing - no size labels inside. They bought the jeans and got multiple assurances from the kindly indian gentlemen running the stall that if they didn't fit, they could get a full refund.

Quick walk home, try them on and they're too small. Walk back to the stall... and mysteriously, the nice gentlemen have forgotten their promise! No refunds are given ever, why on earth would we have told you you'd get a refund? We'd never do that.

They ask to change them for a pair of a different size instead, not an unreasonable request. Again denied. And speaking to the market manager/supervisor does bugger all - they don't interfere with transactions.

Unfortunately, when it comes to money and bargains, my mother is more stubborn than a truckload of mules. And she has nothing better to do on a Saturday.

Picture a terribly British little middle aged middle class woman standing in front of a clothing stall telling every single person who goes in that if there's a problem there's no exchanges or refunds. Picture said woman telling every single customer exactly what happened to her. Picture a very angry set of stall owners trying to get her to move on, and her ever-so politely pointing out in a voice that Hyacinth Bucket would be proud of, that she's not on their stall and is on public property. In a very busy market, with lots of passers by and witnesses. Picture several little throwaway comments about the bad quality of the stitching and the likelihood that the colours will fade.

Now picture that, with the woman in question keeping this up for *two hours* solid. During that time, the stall made about five sales total, and the surrounding stallholders kept bursting into giggles at random points.

Eventually, the stallholders cracked, and shoved some money into her hand and told her in no uncertain terms never to patronise their stall again.

The crowning jewel in this little every so British protest was not the fact that she was mistakenly given 20 instead of the 10 she paid.

Nor was it the fact that she kept the jeans as well.

It was the fact that after shoving the money into her hand, the man turned round, and walked straight into one of the poles holding up the sign at the front with a very satisfying *CLONG*

It's surprising how effective making a scene can be. Not to mention how irritating a good bit of passive aggression is. Unsurprisingly, my mother views that day as one of her greatest triumphs. It's not often you get a triple whammy.

Apologies for length. I relurk now and return to the shadows.
(Sat 20th Oct 2007, 4:58, More)

» Family codes and rituals

Twaddle!
There's one in my family...

A few years before she died, my grandmother moved into an old folk's home with my aunt (who is still living). Quite nice surroundings, setup and furnishings... but the atmosphere was best described as poisonous. Think back to school - there were even cliques of old ladies who used the line

"You can't sit there! That's Doris's chair!"

with complete and utter seriousness. It seems that you regress to infancy as you get old.

Now, a new gentleman had moved into the home and was welcomed, made to feel at home... and immediately accepted into the top cliques because he happened to know one of the ladies involved. And he wrote what was probably the most awful poem ever devised and posted it on the noticeboard. It wasn't the writing, it was the subject matter - praising the staff and the other members of the home, in the most... crawling, ingratiating and sunshine happy way. It was absolutely nauseating to read. I wouldn't have been surprised if the staff had stood over him and made him write it.

My grandmother, who had very little patience for bullshit and arselickers read the poem and wrote at the top in big letters the word

TWADDLE

It caused an absolute scandal! The talk of the dinner tables for quite literally the next month. The care supervisor actually went around knocking on doors for 'unrelated matters', and oh so casually dropping it into conversation and asking the poor victim if they did it. A grey-haired Spanish Inquisition with cardigans instead of robes. Fear the Granny Brigade.

My aunt found all this hilarious. And wrote the word Twaddle on the next thing to appear on the noticeboard that was of a similar tone... but she hadn't known my grandmother was responsible. Another scandal! This time there were phonecalls to the residents that got straight to the point, asking if they were the ones responsible for this terrible and malicious vandalism.

Damned senile delinquents.

A month later, my mother did it when she was visiting the home, having heard about the scandal - though she did know that my aunt had done it. She cruelly twaddled the noticeboard, in tiny letters at the bottom of a menu. There is definitely something on that side of the family - a shit-stirring gene if ever you saw one.

Cue the inquisition again, with no less fervour and much gnashing of false teeth - dental plates make such a lovely rasping noise.

When the three ladies in question found out the others had done it, there was much hilarity

And thus, it has become a family ritual to write the word "Twaddle" in random places whenever there is something crawling or pathetic.

And of course on the noticeboard at the old folk's home whenever we visit my aunt. I myself undertook my first twaddling in October, on a list of items for sale. There are no longer any scandals or inquisitions, the residents of the old folk's home seem to have accepted their terrible fate... but we can't stop now! It's a tradition!

Twaddle.
(Fri 21st Nov 2008, 0:21, More)

» My most treasured possession

Paper
I've been thinking about this one over the last couple of days. And the expression "You never know how much you'll miss something until it's gone"

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. I would obviously remove my various financial documents and my computer from the fire, between them I've got pretty much most of what I need, the rest can be replaced on insurance. That takes care of the essentials.

But as for the other stuff? That needs a story.

About three years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. The symptoms were very similar to those of stomach ulcers at first, so it didn't get diagnosed immediately. She was in her early eighties at the time, so health problems at that age aren't really that unlikely. She'd always been the grandparent that I'd been closest to, growing up, and though I was lucky enough to know all four of my grandparents she was clearly the best. The longest-lived too, as she was the last one alive.

And it was then that I realised that yes... she was going to die. All of my other grandparents had died when I was younger than 12, and it didn't really hit me at the time. Subconciously, I thought that she'd be around forever, even though my logical mind knew that wasn't true. She was stoic about it. And I started writing to her. I'd never done that before, previously we'd chatted on the phone now and again, and every time I went home from university to see my family I always went to see her too. But never writing before. We sent messages back and forth, hers beautifully handwritten... mine typed on a computer purely because my handwriting is atrocious. And it was good. We got to know each other better over those three years than we ever had before.

I didn't throw out any letters she sent to me. I didn't read them again after the first time I read them, but it just didn't feel right to throw them out. They're all over my bedroom in various misc places. She went through a bout of being really really ill, lost a lot of weight and ended up looking skeletal, the chemotherapy not doing much either. But the cancer went into remission and she pulled through for a time. And lasted another year, though gradually getting weaker and frailer. And still remained mentally alert and strong through it all, despite three strokes. She kept her mind until the day before she died, when she was in a morphine daze.

Near the end, she walked into the hospital on her own power, and that was the last time she walked. She was shipped to the hospice after that, and I talked to her the last time two days before she died. I got to tell her that I loved her and that she'd been a wonderful grandmother, and she heard me. 48 hours later, she was gone, only a few days before Christmas. She was the first person I loved who died when I was actually old enough and mature enough to understand death and exactly what it meant. The first time I cried as an adult. And I got to see the uglier side of it too, all the endless organising, bureaucracy, and sorting out paperwork, legalities, funeral arrangements as well as the obvious physical side of things.

The memories I've got of her aren't going anywhere. And I have photos of her and the family stored on servers so backups aren't a problem. But the letters? They're what I'd take out with me, I think. I'm not sure I'll ever read them again. But they're a reminder of the connection we had, that was just me and her. My mother told me how happy she was whenever she got a letter, and I'd glad that I was able to help her in that way. Even now, six months later, I think about chatting to her, and it takes me half a second to realise that I can't do that any more. The letters remind me to really treasure what you have because it can just go.

Sorry for being all sappy.
(Sat 10th May 2008, 15:41, More)

» Tales of the Unexplained

Shop haunting
When he was a bit younger, my brother got a part time job at a fishmonger's. Really unpleasant work - gutting fish, throwing away the guts and making them look presentable for the customers. The owner of the shop used to pay well though, purely because the job sucked and that was the only way he'd get someone to stay there long enough. Fish gutting and scaling is an art, and you need practice in order to stay good at it.

Now, having spent a bit too much on beer one week, brother dear was needing some overtime pay. And stayed late for three nights in a row, catching up on fish gutting. Nothing happened on the first two nights. On the third night, so I'm told, it was creepy. It was summer, but the inside of the shop was cold. Not just the fish storage or the counter but the whole shop. This wasn't solved even by turning the heating on.

He kept hearing whispers. Fragments of words in the background, always coming from the shop front. Every time he went out there, no-one was there. Obviously, after a while you'd get a bit creeped out.

After finishing up, he heard the whisper one last time, saying something like "hello?". He went out to check... and saw something there. A thing, in a black robe, transparent. Like the stereotypical image you have of Death. But stinking of fish.

It stuck a finger out at him and said in a loud clear voice.

"I'VE COME FOR YOUR SOLE"

(I am so so sorry)
(Fri 4th Jul 2008, 18:00, More)
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