Another man once said a phrase which I forget
He was a great man
His words of wisdom changed me
But for the life of me…I cannot remember how
It seems so sad that I have misplaced his memory
But as he was so gentle and kind I am sure he would understand
If he were still around
Apparently the needles of a Christmas (pine) tree are rich in vitamin C and can be boiled down into a new-car-smell flavoured soup, additionally giving your bathroom and the things you do in it a festive whiff.
I’ve been getting into facts.
Facts, when mentionable, are more like jokes or amusing opinions. When facts are unmentionable is when they are so horrifically dull that whoever mentioned it is false on the grounds of public interest (or in this case – disinterest).
I do some talk-work on a hospital radio show with my dad and I brought in the idea of having regular facts garnered from the internet, helping us to link them into the next song or simply chatting about them (ill people simply adore me, as do the injured).
I’ve read a fair few facts over the time it’s been and I’ve developed the nuance of disregarding some and mentioning others according to their ear-worth.
But upon hearing this fact – of Christmas trees being edible – I knew I was onto a keeper for sure.
I’ll eat a tree.
It’s certainly more impressive than broccoli, albeit slightly harder to fit in the saucepan.
When eating a Christmas tree, I feel the only way to go about it is the only way one should go about any activity: by going the ‘whole-hog’ – in other words: don’t strip it and soften it and maybe not even timber it.
Just eat the tree: go Whole Hog.
I’m sure the ‘Whole Hog’ saying comes from those against bacon; real men who don’t stop only a few centimetres into the pig but rather continue on all the way with their fork down to the sty floor.
If you won’t eat a trotter or a snout; you don’t deserve bacon. And if you won’t eat a Christmas tree plucked fresh from atop the pile of presents; then you don’t deserve Christmas.
Quite differentiating diets here, eating a whole pig and eating a whole tree, but the moral here remains the same.
Why stop at a Christmas tree?
I bet if Redwoods were delicious they’d stand a much better chance of survival thanks to the influx of executives eager to ensure the forest-eating consumer market is suitably supplied.
Much like the fact that if tiger bones really did increase the size of men’s’ penises; those tigers would be living across lush acres of privately protected jungle, raised to be big-boned, king of the lush and dense farmyard for several winters before we take poor Tiger out of pasture and grind it’s bones to make our penis-enlarging bread (“Give us this day our daily penis-enlarging bread”).
Take that Tiger Bone Bread, whack a Whole Hog between two slices, gobble it all down and then pick your teeth with the Christmas tree you’ve emasculated by suddenly having an enormous todger.
THAT is a fact, not factually; but certainly in my opinion.
Besides, you need more vitamin C in the winter months; so eat a Christmas tree for Christmas dinner and hopefully we’ll survive till the next one.
I think I’ll keep up the facts, let’s see.
If you could have one attribute from another species, what would you choose?
And nothing smarmy, like the strength of a bear or the power of flight, something that puts you more into the oddity category, rather than smarmy-superhero. It has to be inconsequential in all manners aside from how it effects your humour.
I’d go with a tail – I think that makes a lot of sense for our species.
Balance is one thing, plus climbing, but mainly I think it’s about our mindset. For one thing, there’d be no more campfire stories, and hence no culture, because before we start to weave a subtle narrative from the holding-end of the marshmallow stick – we’d go: “Oh look, a tail – better go get it.”
I think mainly it’s about company. Try and spend the evening with your hair, or a foot; it’s lonely and only worthwhile if it becomes expensive and weird, but with a tail – that’s a very flirtatious and flicky sofa companion.
More tails please.
Swivel-ears? Because it’d be cute. An animalistic attribute is only really worth it if people’ll think you’re adorable – like how my wife adores how I smell like a dog stirred with honey.
I’ve a dog, Freddie, and Freddie is my first dog and that’s of great importance to me.
He’s titled: ‘My Dog’, and he responds when called that – partly because of the importance he knows that term denotes, partly because I keep calling him “My Dog”.
And Freddie does something that I couldn’t agree more with.
I cannot think of a more total show of affection than shoving your face into something with such emotional ferocity that it’s almost technically ‘eating’.
It’s as though Freddie wishes to become one with my knees, my palms, the top of my head, and I can’t blame him since those are all the most smashing parts of me.
And I’ve done this too, for many years, with my love – Jenny (particularly in the back of the neck as the sun rises).
You’ve probably done it too, when you’ve buried your face into the shoulder of a co-cuddler during a more intense an embrace, and you feel like you just want to be as close as possible that you’re quite prepared to enter their shoulder as a means of feeling better.
I can only recommend it – rub your face into the object of your affection and just see if you don’t feel well expressed.
The only issue is that I’m quite fond of dinner and I cram my face into my bowl of – it doesn’t really matter ‘of what’ – and then live with consequences for the rest of the dinner party.
So if not my dinner, and it not nuzzling on my own behalf, I’ll just take My Dog’s nuzzle when I get home from work.
I’ll take my dog’s face, because he gives it to me.
That’s ‘Brief…Therefore Witty’ enough, I feel.
It’s time to travel.
It’s time to travel because you have time to read this and, whilst this might be shooting myself in the world-dusty foot, travel is far more worth your time than anything I have to say.
And travel is worth your time, because you are worth your time.
All you ever really had was yourself and the Earth.
I think I’ll try some larger font sizes to encourage you to do it; maybe if the writing is thuddier – you’ll get to it.
Besides the talent, brains, good looks and whatever else you thought others had to their advantage, you still had yourself and you still had the Earth.
So go plunder and soak-up the soak-up-ables of this world, because of the greatest regrets the occupants of deathbeds claim (other than not learning another language – which’d is hardly comparable to travelling: you’d just end up saying you regret not-travelling in stunted Francais) – the most claimed and most rued truth is the road most travelled having been merely stomped on by yet another.
These are the times you need to think back in history, when the Earth was slightly less ancient and joining/being press-ganged into the military was your best chance of seeing the world and therein giving some kudos to the definition of ‘living’.
‘Living’ isn’t in the cubical, nor is it the job title on the door to the office you’re yet to occupy.
Nobody looks back on their life wishing they’d played more Candy Crush, unless of course it were whilst whiling away the hours in the back of a tour bus – but that’s a real waste of scenery.
I’d done a fair bit of here-and-there-ing in my 27 years of life, and whilst those times were tremendous – it was my 7 months of travel through South East Asia, Australasia, New Zealand and North America that really sealed the deal as to how I felt about Earth and why I was strolling around upon it.
Get gone and (no offence) just go away.
Now I’ve been home for several months now and have gone about day-to-day life as best I can, and thus I’ve had the time to process the experiences of my travel and what they now mean to me.
And here’s what’s key in my thinking: travel is not my everything, but my everything is very different now I’ve travelled.
It’s hard to return to the corporate world and give two tupenny tosses about the printer machine’s new button and how only Bodoni MT Condensed is the only font capable of truly expressing us as a company.
Instead, I remember flying…on a bus.
It’s an easily achievable method of motion once your driver realises that (1.) he is incredibly late for the tour’s scheduled arrival and (2.) you get more job satisfaction when you’ve put your passengers in surreal danger and gotten them out from it because you were dangerous.
We were hurtling our way through some ethereal mountain roads in Vietnam – heading north to Dalat at speeds illegal outside of South East Asia.
The view was typical of Vietnam; four feet away and consisting of a thick grey mist that a bus’s headlights couldn’t penetrate (but the rest of it certainly could at top speed) – with intermittent splashes of wondrous valleys and awe-inspiring mountains of that dark green that speaks such a wealth of nature one can only feel a little hurt at how the Earth has got so much going on besides you.
And despite our 10-moutains-per-hour speed – some corners required the nuances instilled from days as an experienced mountain bus driver. It was on one of these two-minute turns in which the passengers clenched their stomachs, buttocks and Candy Crush drenched Ipads in preparation for the imminent through-the-floor pedalling that our driver was treating us with, that I looked out of my window to see what locals were nearing the bus.
Three young children, looking very cold and very wet, took steps towards us in crappy plastic shoes, their hands upturned and out-stretched in the international sign for begging, though with that hurried professional assuredness that comes from knowing the passengers on board had gold to spare and the indulgence with which to sprinkle it like fairy dust all over Vietnam.
We knew they would act upon our pity, big eyes and little feet in even crappier plastic shoes than the last sentence, calling to us: “Please!” whilst we did our best to ignore; knowing that a dollar now meant it was less likely they’d ever be sent into school and have a chance to learn their way out of those shoes and down from the mountain.
Seeing life like that makes you put down the donut.
But what I saw next as we sped away from these three children made me want to throw a donut into the sky, thump it with a baseball bat with all the strength I could muster into the mouth of anyone who wanted to join the game, all due to the sheer fact that satisfying hunger is fine, but some things are eternally fun.
Another corner, another three children come into view, utterly and completely uninterested in the potential for making out-of-school money from enormous tourists…because they were – gleefully as I’ve learnt only people doing this can be – playing with a fireball.
They didn’t have lunch, but they sure as sweet hell had a fireball. And it was satisfying.
I don’t know where they got it from, but they had gotten themselves a fireball and were being entirely appropriate with it – picking it up barehanded, throwing it at (not ‘to’; fuck ‘to’) one another (the drizzle cooled them down), kicking it up and down the mountain and smiling their teeth into another dimension.
I’ve never seen humans do anything better than how those little Vietnamese children conducted themselves with their fireball guest of gusto, their small bundle of vibrant, amazing joy that excited them so much that hunger could go and fuck itself.
Additionally, I promise you that this is not metaphorical. They were holding a fireball and lobbing it at their friends.
I wish I had a fireball, and sitting at a desk, reading a snooty email either complimenting or complaining (I can’t be bothered to find out which) about my choice of font, I remember the two trios I encountered in those Vietnamese mountains.
The three hungry children and the three fireballers. Both living total alternatives to the life of a typical Englishman, and now I step forward knowing of them both.
That’s progress, that’s healthy, that’s an experience you tell the grandchildren about and that’s travelling.
And again, this experience was not my everything, but now my everything means something very different to me.
Travel – either do that or cure cancer with video games; one’s more likely and one’s possibly even more enjoyable (not that I’ve cured cancer with video games).
Fireballs and hunger, hunger and fireballs.