The Old Time Puddle of Goo


Here’s the story of adverts, stress, and Babe.

“We’re going out for Sunday dinner.” Mum said. “When?” I replied. She nearly throttled me. I mean, sure, it was said partly in jest, but I have had a Sunday dinner on a Monday. I don’t like making decisions so the second I find out where we’re going for dinner, I Google the restaurant and look at the menu online. I don’t think this is weird, but others beg to differ. None of us was very well on Father’s Day so we’re going out this week. Dinner. It’s what they say you do on such a day, apparently. I’ve often wondered whom this ‘they’ are. I remember an advert where ‘they’ were shown as a random group of people dressed in black wandering through a forest. Sure, it’s a strange advert, but not as strange as this recent one where a couple watching the television are interrupted by the arrival of their talking dog. Except only one of them can hear the dog and communicate with it. Which could mean the man’s partner is deaf, or that only the man can hear the dog, or he’s imagining a conversation with the dog, or the dog is communicating telepathically. I would love one of these magic dogs. And that’s why I don’t like Sunday dinner…

I’m probably going to go for the gammon steak. I don’t know why, but I’ve suddenly had a huge craving for gammon steaks lately. It’s a very underrated meat, readers. Common knowledge would say that a craving is a side effect of pregnancy, but, as far as I’m aware, men can’t get pregnant. Oh, I’ve just remembered. That advert. That company did another one with a whiney little brat getting all angry over why pineapples are called pineapples. At which point, his dad points to the guinea pig and says, rather correctly, that it’s not a pig or from Guinea. The kid is greatly confused by this, because, well, children are mostly stupid. But the adults don’t get off lightly here, either. Guinea pigs were called ‘pigs’ because the adults who named them thought they looked like pigs and ‘guinea’ because they thought they came from there. I’d also like to point out that the Germans call them ‘little sea pigs’, which, sure, sounds adorable, but I think if ‘Babe: Pig in the City’ was ‘Babe: Pig in the Sea’, it would be a very, very short and sad movie.

Adverts annoy me, readers. I mean, how can she not hear the dog talking! We know she isn’t deaf, for heaven’s sake! ARRGH!

But life isn’t all gammon steak and candyfloss. Which sounds disgusting. Well, maybe – actually, I’m not sure now. Cotton candy on a steak. Hmm… Sounds quite nice, actually. The gammon fairy floss. That’s what the Australians call candyfloss. Probably because they are a bit mad. But what else would you expect from the nation that invented the rotary washing line, a death trap if ever I saw one.

I’ve had a hard week. A hard couple of weeks. I don’t handle stress well. Like most men, I punch something when stress becomes too much, unlike women who take a bubble bath. Hey, if you want to stew in your own filth like a pig, go for it. What’s that, honey? Oh, no, I wasn’t calling you a – no, come on, no – you’re not filthy, it’s just – oh, please stop crying. What’s this about your mothers? Give me a minute, readers…

You wouldn’t think it’s a hard job designing things for a living, would you? Probably not. Probably worth it. Except I’m not really being paid for it, which does make one a touch sad on an evening. You get up at seven. Get home at six. And in-between, there’s some lunatic ranting on about the colour green. Of course, I’m to blame, even though he can’t speak English, because, the – customer – is – always – right. Well, yes, well, of course. Always right. Yes, sir. Right away, sir. Whatever you say, sir. No, sod it. SHUT UP! IT’S GREEN! STOP COMPLAINING!

He wanted a business card. Told me the exact green he wanted. Quick job, saved it, emailed it across to him. Came back to me. “Nope, hate it, don’t like it.” I think that was the translation. Did it again. A different shade. “What are you doing? It’s awful.” Sigh. Did it again. “Oh, I’m getting annoyed now, you’re just not listening to me.” The boss, bless him, was fighting my corner. We gave the client a collection of business cards and told him to pick his favourite green. We’d then find that business card on file and copy the green colour. Simples. Eight emails later. “I told you, I want this green!” IT IS THAT GREEN, FOR GOD’S SAKE! YOU MADMAN! WHO CARES! IT’S GREEN! IT’S GREEN! GREEN AS GREEN CAN BE! I didn’t say that to him. Was tempted, though.

Oh, and then you are told you have to design 24 individual adverts for a booklet. You could rattle out five on a good day because each has to be designed from scratch. You have three days. WHAT! Oh, gee. Oh, and while you’re at it, I want three posters, two flyers, three business cards. Fine. Okay. Ten minutes later. Have you done all that? Sigh. I am not good at this, am I? Otherwise I’d be able to do it, right? I’m slow and methodical with everything in life. Eating. Designing. Making love. Probably. I don’t know yet, really…

And then they leave you alone in charge of the office. So there I was, frantically designing as much as I could as quickly as I could, whilst taking down a message from someone on the phone and trying to deal with several angry clients that had just walked in through the door. Oh, and the other phone was going off as well. I am quite enjoying the madness of it all, but there are moments, usually on the bus at around 5:30, when you start to nod off and don’t fight it. And it’s a rare thing to see a man do that on a bus. Women, on the other hand. They’re always asleep on public transport. I’m surprised they don’t carry a pillow, to be honest.

I was greatly cheered up by a visit to the engravers, a sentence that probably goes a long way to explain why I’m still a virgin at nearly 26. Oh, God, I’m 26 in July. Oh, feck, I feel old. I woke up this morning, stretched and heard a pop in my spine. I stood up and heard a pop in my left knee. I then noticed the biggest rash you’ve ever seen in your life on my left foot. It was at the point I realised I probably should’ve stayed in bed.

If I’m falling apart at 26, I can only imagine I’ll be a puddle of goo come 36…

My dad is nearly 65. I got him a tankard, very hard to find in a shop in the UK. Very expensive, too. I decided to get it engraved, but, as you could imagine, nowhere really does that anymore. Not by hand, at least. But there is this one shop in my town. Beautiful. Hasn’t changed in a century. Wooden walls. Frosted glass. All the signs were done by hand and crafted. All the engraving is by hand. Lovely smell in the air. Run by a kindly old man with old time blue overalls on. No phone numbers, email or however the kids communicate these days. Just takes your name and tells you to check back in a week. Ah. Lovely. Just lovely. A slice of the old days. Give me a trip to the engravers over a trip to Ibiza any day of the week…

That was surprisingly cathartic, actually. Just like I’m sure the dinner will be with dad and mum. In the countryside. Before back to work. I hope dad has a nice time. After all that trouble with the neighbour’s kids. They keep kicking the ball over our fence and they hit our conservatory this week. Cue a horde of teenagers trying one by one to jump over our fence. Cue dad getting in to a rather public and sweary argument with said kids. I’m with him. Trespassing is illegal. It’s the millionth time they’ve done it, it’s the final straw. You’re not getting your ball back this time, sunshine. So yes, I think dad deserves a treat.

I suggested to mum that we give the kids their ball back, but we pop it beforehand.


I told you I don’t like kids…

American playwright, essayist, screenwriter and film director, David Mamet (b. 1947), once wrote: ‘We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.’

Peace Out :|:

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To Contrive & Jive
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