More family than I thoughtPosted: May 29, 2023 Filed under: Brief...therefore witty. | Tags: 1970s, Cheddar Man, dad, family, hero, Humour, life, mafia, nicknames, photographs Leave a comment
I’d love for ‘family’, in my context, to mean a little more mafia it currently does.
My family are simply my family, of the traditional context – father, mother and a brother.
But I wish it meant people were worked in the concrete shoe shop.
Perhaps it’s in the enunciation: “The Fairmily”. Maybe then people would give up their train seats for me, or when I enter their homes unexpectedly (I’m joking, don’t enter stranger’s homes).
And I’d have a plethora of brothers instead of the embarrassingly singular sibling I’m stuck with, and their names would be ‘Paulie’, and ‘Joey’, ‘Tommy’ and ‘Mikey’. My brother’s name is Ben.
And we’d have nicknames. Like ‘Sam the Nose’ – which would be appropriate because of what I’ve got.
My brother would likely be ‘Big Ben’, because he is enormous. But that wouldn’t make me ‘Little Sammy’, because I’m only really slightly less obese.
Family. I’ve come to realise I’ve more of them than I previously realised.
I have long disliked large crowds, which I presumed was due to coming from a small family. Both my parents were a single-child, whilst both my brother and I are both single-children too according to how we feel about one another.
But at a family dinner yesterday, my father invited his only living blood relatives (aside from me and my brother, which is weird as one tends to picture a ‘closet living blood relative’ as being an appropriately distant and appropriately many-times-removed grandmother of an ancient generation, instead of it being me).
And there was a pile of extra family, all ages, many types of clothes, basically all one colour, and they all had no idea who each other was, least of all me.
“Here’s Sam, the less obese one I was telling you about” says my father, “and his equally less obese wife and two kids – both of whom are also single-children”.
And everyone looks at me and my family, each of them agreeing vaguely and approving the description. There’s some handshaking and pecks on cheeks, and then I left the room because I’ve got a problem with large crowds.
I didn’t feel any kind of interest towards these people and so didn’t engage (nobody’s loss), but my father was keen to get to know them, because he really didn’t know them, nor they him.
As I played with my kids, I saw him leading them in comparing old photos, the black and white ones, followed by the later coloured photos that have now gone a 1970’s shade of nicotine-brown.
And then, my father told his stories to the new lump of distant family we’d discovered, detailing his upbringing (some family remembered his childhood address – which was nice), his family and career.
I was listening and realised something I’d suspected before.
My dad is really, really super-cool.
He’s a cockney-rebel, a cage-shaker, and the next new big thing in the classic style, a rebel with many causes (in fact, he’s a Rotarian), but he’s always been willing to do what he can do get jobs done and to achieve doing so with flair. He’s my hero. And looking through the photos, the variety of hairstyles and scenarios in which he had those hairstyles, were astonishing.
Meanwhile, I have a blog, and literally piles and piles of distant family that I’m about as related to as everyone else is related to the Cheddar Man.
I’d best look to emulate him. My dad I mean, but also the Cheddar Man a bit too.
They’re both fairmily after all.
Bananas are the punchline fruit. Give them a break.Posted: October 10, 2022 Filed under: Brief...therefore witty. | Tags: banana, bus, family, fruit, Humour, lime, museum Leave a comment
Sometimes a thought enters your head, and then you hear yourself saying it to someone.
In some of these ‘sometimes’, you might find yourself muttering it aloud, causing others to get off the bus quickly.
Other ‘sometimes’, the preferable ones (unless there were no spare seats on the bus), mean you do what I did, which was to say it to my wife. In a museum. There were many seats.
In fact, there were so many seats, you could tell that some people weren’t sitting down, but not due to seeing anyone standing. Just, lots of chairs really.
You might also find yourself typing such things on a blog, causing people reading it on smart phones to get off of buses all the same, but perhaps it’s still best to revert to my what was going to be my original point.
I said something to my wife. And now I want to share it with you.
“Jenny, which fruit looks best in mid-air?”
My wife has a wonderful capacity to both humour and wither me with a look. She doesn’t do that for just anyone, but perhaps not many other than myself can draw such infuriated pity. Especially in a museum (lots of chairs).
Choosing the ‘humour-him’ route (there were children present), she indulged me, saying “I don’t know Sam. Bananas?”
I had hoped she wouldn’t say that, because I worried she might be right, which meant I was too with my first thought.
The punch-line fruit.
A very applicable fruit, certainly, but still the go-to fruit in the historical contexts of people using a fruit for something a fruit shouldn’t be used for, and for things that don’t actually need to be done.
I think it’s a blend of the shape, colour, peel, consistency and pronunciation. Everything else is just legend.
Certainly over-relied upon, and as such, I didn’t want it to be the answer to my question; I didn’t want banana/s (singular or plural it really doesn’t matter at this point) to look good in mid-air.
But, damn it, they do.
I expressed this all to my wife, who by this point had chosen her well-practiced alternative to humouring me.
“Pineapples?” she ‘fuck-offed’.
Unfortunately, perhaps more of the same with Mr Pineapple. Certainly not the jobber of mid-level fruit expectations, but they’ve at least been put forward for their obvious attributes.
Pineapples, really are just trying too hard.
A silver-placed friend with the wacky green hair-do, trying to talk to women at a party where women are really in-to fruit but getting ignored in favour of his friend shaped like a big penis with a healthy yellow glow.
I wanted to tell my wife this, but she’d been through enough today, even though earlier we’d practically had a bus to ourselves.
So I continued my thoughts and settled on a fruit (phrasing you can’t use in reference to bananas or pineapples because it is inappropriate and, more so, already been done) with a degree of subtlety.
Bear with me.
A lime, emerald green, backed by the bluest of baby boy skies, suspended in mid-air, just for us to see.
I thought that was nice. I told my wife that I’d concluded, and this cheered her up immensely.
Then again, maybe all fruit are pre-determined to look good whilst falling. If they drop from a branch, with few-enough leaves, on a clear autumn noon with strongly sunlit blue skies, any fruit looks good, because they’ve been doing it for centuries.
Bananas, pineapples, limes, maybe even a tomato.
A sense of style, doing as the ancestors did it. Dropping, and looking good.
THAT is good museum conversation, but I couldn’t continue as my daughter needed help eating her apple.
It was a good one. You should have seen it go.
How To Remember Robin WilliamsPosted: August 15, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: comedy, depression, family, goodbye, hope, life, mental health, Robin Williams, self improvement, self-development, success Leave a comment
To begin with, I am sad.
I am three days over 25 and realised, as Robin died on my birthday, that I am getting to an age where people I grew up with, staples of the world I regard as being ‘daily’ to me, are leaving us by various means. Robin left by his own means, which I feel is fair enough, whereas I do simply wish that we had one more chance to say ‘thank you’. The final choice however was always his own- that is not the issue.
We may feel that owing to his last moments undoubtedly being ones of true despair, this is how we should remember him. But it needn’t be thought that his life was ruined accordingly. Nor should it be when we remember him.
He was sixty three years old. By far not long enough a time for treasuring time with those we love, but other than this; how many more years do you need? I think that 50 would do me nicely, and sixty would be great- thanks for the time, particularly in consideration for getting things done, and this is the point: Robin Williams got things done.
From a very young age he excelled, through the natural ‘different-class’ and speed of his comedic wit and persona but most essentially through the hard work that made the people we remember worth remembering. He was a young comedian at Richard Pryor’s comedy roast. You don’t think of him as having come from that era, let alone to be so highly regarded even back then, but he was. Don’t forget this whilst we also easily recall his later stand-up specials and, of course, his acting.
The fact that he straddled such a broad range of characters and genres is partly why we remember him so well. He was Mrs Doubtfire and the Genie whilst we were children, and as we grew we recognised him for his roles in the inspirational films of ‘Dead Poets Society’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’: films espousing finding your own path and celebrating life for how you live it. All whilst being painfully hilarious- giving us a chance to work out that guttural noise of hilarity that we so often yearn to yield and so rarely able to.
And this is what matters to me here- he was a man of tremendous success and acclaim and although I am aware that this acclaim is like dust on bone to a man suffering depression- it does mean that in between the worse bouts of the disease: he was happier than he might have been.
What I’m saying is that compared to others that share the disease of depression, although that cruel despair experienced is equal for all that suffer it, the times between bouts are not.
In between the sadness- Robin had his own happiness, his wife and child with whom things were no different from any other family’s love for one another. He had his career and his success which, though being no matter of consequence to his (here) fatal disease, it would have made things better between the worst of the tempests of depression. In the lighter moments, the knowledge that he was providing for his family well would have been of tremendous power, if only in the times of natural happiness.
Aged 63, loving wife and children, successful entertainment career, a long life of acclaim and interest. Robin Williams lived life, despite his condition, with a passion brought from appreciating what life is- at times joyous and always fleeting. I think it is an admirable way to live and though we all wish he was still here, had not died as he chose to and had simply not been alone on that darkest evening (for which fault can go to no one); his life was not one of woe. Often, like all of us, he was happy and he was content, at times obviously ecstatic and joyous- with the aspects of life we all hope for, though having a life-long disease.
What I’m trying to say is, although it pains us so badly to know that his last moments were of despair- that is not all his life was, and we should feel no despair because of this. There will be grief, and an unending sadness for his departure, but we there must also be acceptance in the knowledge that we’re all going to die, no matter our success, stature or condition. So let us live much as Robin did; to the full despite what tries to bring us down.
As far as I can see- Robin Williams was victorious in battling his disease owing to living the life he had. Our final moments are not all we are. I will choose to remember Robin Williams, not only as that unparalleled comedic tour-de-force and that distinguished actor (speaking of which, how much does that academy award pale in comparison to the distinction of how incompetent we are in explaining just how much he made us laugh? Apart from this description, which I feel is actually pretty on the nose. Nosed it!). I will remember him for having made for himself, amid those seas of misery, large islands of happy hope and love for life with family. I envy these islands.
Robin Williams- a sad death and a happy life. We could never understand the mind’s darkest hours, but we must think of those bright moments of his life. For us, we might assume his success was the best. In fact, I am certain that thoughts of wife and family were the successes he achieved that we should all hope to look back on some day.
And here, more than in any other medium, I say “Bravo Mr Williams”.
For living life as we all should. Remember this.
This reminds me of Stephen Fry addressing the death of Peter Cook and the media’s response to his demise, purely as it reminds me that we should remember them for their own personal happiness. The link to the Youtube video is as follows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQrTnhkQo5k
Also included is a link to Robin performing, and killing, at the great Richard Pryor’s comedy roast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCVpJ6DFqao