Getting started on an idea is much like this sentence; you just start saying something and prompted brilliance will rise itself to breach so as for you to do as thou please with it.
You see, the brilliance only arrived owing to not wishing to be rude.
It observed the situation and realised it was rather relied upon and so took the initiative of turning up.
All rather brilliant really.
And brilliance is a wonderful commodity to have.
Just look at the sun (sure, actually do that).
The sun is brilliant.
Try ye not to deny it and don’t say you weren’t trying to deny it either. Because that’s almost confusing.
And ‘confusing’ is my thing.
‘Confusing’ is the mark of someone I want to stand near.
Because positive consequences, or a few of the other kind too, are sure to happen if they continue as such.
Hey, perhaps the world made up of reasonable assumptions regarding whom one should stand near. And I like to make my reasoning along this line: a good friend should be slightly frightening.
Get a frightening friend and the “Ooo-Ooo Good Things” will happen, or at least something will happen.
Comfort zones are for people.
And I am not a person.
I am an ape, the very next ape, and I am in a rushing of living, urging myself forward to begin and end and thrust myself and expel myself into all manner of frays, occasions and sparky joys.
Because, this way some things, likely “Ooo-Ooo Good Things”, are sure to start happening.
All because I began.
And this is brilliance.
And this is confusing.
I must have written it. With an ambition to improvise.
How like me.
P.S. I spent my evening belly dancing. Consider this proof.
It’s good to have a phrase. And this one’s mine.
I was thinking about the state of the planet and I concluded that the best means to go about saving it would be to place its inevitable destruction in the hands of someone profoundly pleasant – like me, baby.
Not that our negatives outweigh anything much at all, let alone our positives, but at least I came out of the thought process with a phrase to my name.
The scenario would go as such:
“Hey – you guys with the demolition equipment, and you fellows over there with the sticks and stones, and you gentle-folk with the vast amounts of crude oil running down your suit. Stop it. Stop it or I’ll melt you. Stop it before things get awfully radioactive around here. Stop it, because I’m a nice guy with a nuke…and one hell of a phrase.”
‘Nice guy with a nuke and one hell of a phrase’.
I’ve come out with a fair few number of these – as I’ve said before; I was born to write T-shirts.
Should the world begin to spin a new axis and send us whirling off into a grand and beautiful playground of planets – I’ll have the perfect T-shirt phrase for you.
Something like: “The Earth flung me into space and…it’s not too bad actually.”
I would wear the shit out of literature like that.
I’d blend in with all the super-cool inter-stella types who feel the planet’s disassociation with them was a good move.
Sometimes all you need is something to say.
Here’s an example.
I’ve begun to annotate Gideons bible, wherever he leaves it.
Having stayed in multiple hotels recently, I’ve found the few blank pages by the final cover to be too tempting to leave looking so pale. So I’ve taken to inking them up a tad.
Largely, the text has revolved around why one feeling the need to reach for a bible might first consider being waylaid by my words – words which suggest a little self-help.
I’ve gone about it in points. 7 points made to waylay the reader seeking some sort of prophetical depth and meaning from a book famed for causing perpetually self-flagellation/immolation/canonisation and instead offer them some means of self-help largely focusing on gratitude of being a species member easily able to flood one’s own being with endorphins.
That this is possible is reason to be cheery enough, even before we indulge in our sexually explicit, intellectually stunning, physical-adrenaline seeking brethren of folk intent on having a good time seeing as how we’ve all discovered how great clothes are and why it’s so jolly to remove them.
This is the sort of thing I write in the bible; I recommend you flip to the back.
On the subject of religion, I had a thought or two more about what I would like to return as.
Not in any sense of reincarnation, but rather to what purpose I would like my overly willing body to be charitably donated to following my grizzly passing (if my passing isn’t grizzly then I’m not entirely sure what the point of being there for it is at all).
Death by most means seems applicable to me. Likely suicide since it yields a tremendous degree of satisfaction drawn along with the identity of ‘my way’ and ‘on my terms’. I prefer the far more teenage phrasing of it, being: “it’s my life. I do what I want with it.”.
However, as amusing as possible would perhaps be the most communally-minded a way of departing our way to “dusty death”, particularly if able to spread myself over an enormous surface area and knock seagulls out of the sky and wake the dog up.
I’d quite like to explode.
Hot air balloons seem most appropriate for this.
So appropriate I’d put it on a T-shirt; “How do I want to die? Hot air balloon.”
Still – there is the question of what becomes of my leavings.
I like the idea of my dick being held in a trophy case by an enthusiast. Blue Peter badge holders only have access, must be this high and over 18 to ride.
Otherwise, I think I’d make a great bow and arrow.
I’d be a better bow and arrow than you.
I’ve often described myself as just sinewy and bendy enough to be deadly unto game at 18 yards. That’d be a heck of a thing to be considered my remains. Plus I’m an uncle and I like the idea of my niece being able to say she killed an elk using her uncle. I’d like that; it’s good to be useful.
Or a wallet. It’s also good to be a wallet. I like the idea of all my tattoos being flayed from what once was all I physically was and then being made into nice purse for a special gal in what was my life. That ball bag of mine would be perfect for this. Quite an inheritance.
Or a candlestick. This way I could still attend family weddings since I’d be part of the wedding gift list.
Now then, now then. There’s no masochistic tendencies being written about here – rather a sincere query into what’ll happen in the most final of moments. I’m not overly keen to experience the sensation of being pulled and twisted into the candlestick design drawn by a family member, but if I’m on the way out I might as well make it memorable. I’d be a candlestick who had seen a thing or two. Getting lit.
People at the wedding would bicker and quarrel and would lament how the wallet made of their mother and the pew made from Uncle Hugh (“He did love his rhymes!”) are better than one another – citing history regarding why the cousin-made mantelpiece and sister-made skirt never liked each other anyway.
And then I’d stroll in, nuke in hand and phrase on tongue – about to indulge in a large surface area following a suspiciously nukey bang.
I’ve been thinking for a while of my time lately that what I need to get myself going would be the threat of nuclear annihilation.
It’d get me out of bed. And into the meadow.
Just look at the breadth of creativity born from people believing the looming green glow of the most horrible afterwards was perpetually at a 2 minutes to midnight proximity to the end of their lives in the 1980’s.
We could do with that.
Just imagine the haircuts we’d have.
If the common man thought tomorrow’s weather was going to be particularly murderous for the skin then he might go about his next pre-nuke hair-styling with the mantra of: “More dolphins. More pinstripes. More tooth-trophies. These have been missing from my hair thus far.” and then we’d stare at him and enjoy his head.
The liberation is head-bound. We’d be buoyant because what we do to our upstairs growth is going to be somewhat without consequence…and with dolphins.
I could offer you access to the mentality to inspire a hair-do such as this. Just give me the nuclear key to turn, and then help me with my fragile wrists (I’m flawed when it comes to twisting things).
Knowing that somewhere out there there’s a pleasant man with a nice (NICE!) smile who might lean to the East a tad too, oh so too much and nudge two things: (1) a bulbous button into action and (2) you…into either oblivion or next Thursday.
Naturally one argues against this point that this imminent reality is a real reality and we should take inspiration from the probability of a vehicle’s rapid insertion of itself (via a driver) into your physical frame of somewhat-now irrelevant bones and meat (at which point you went from a pedestrian to a mess in a horrific neatness of time) into several poorly compiled heaps of person. People being described as heaps always equates to things having turned sour on a level great enough to be mentioned.
My response to this is as such: yep, but knowing everyone else is going to die will treat you to a level of comfort in how you wear your hair which you cannot be granted by merely being struck by the typical example of speeding driven metal. You lazy fuck – get thee to a nunnery and prepare for the heavy bomb full of nukey-goodness.
Having one more day of neighbours will grant you a piece of peace one can only achieve otherwise by spending a plentiful amount of your time attempting to realise that not only are you going to rot – but you’re going to start before you even die.
So let down your hair (and your parents), find yourself a phrase to your name, and prepare thyself for the dropping of bombs by a man so pleasant you’re going to wish you’d gotten him a going-away gift before the day’s sky began to quickly darken.
Oh well, at least we had the haircuts.
You’ve been great,
There is a current format recently taken on since the death of Robin Williams to talk about mental health. The format is that there is no weakness in mental health.
Well, evidently there is. There is no benefit to mental depression; it cannot help. And of course, this weakness is nothing to be ashamed of- in the same way that a man may suffer from fragile bones, another might be unable to see in bright light, whilst one more continually feeds coins into a machine of bright lights- unable to stop, perpetually about to win (if the winning actually matters to a gambling addict when compared to the thrill of the risk).
These are weaknesses. The point is that there must be no shame in having them.
Of course, you might not wish to admit having them, nor should you at all have to, but openness is always an aid to diagnosis and treatment. In most of the West anyway- I wouldn’t recommend it in The Badlands.
However, the weakness of a mental illness is not what I aim to focus on here.
I’m going to make clear, from what I have learnt through my own issues, that there is a strength that can be taken up through the momentous energy of a Panic Attack.
I have suffered from these things throughout my late-teens up till now and they have been a despicable hindrance to my fun and pride as a young man.
My own triggers for a Panic Attack centre on being unable to escape- in terms of a great distance to make or a social obligation. If I feel I have to do something, or that I feel as though my comfort is a great distance away, then I feel a sharp energy beginning to flow through me, leading on to the failure of despair.
Other sufferers might recognise the other typical triggers such as: having little option in what is about to happen, fast and manic activity out of their control, and what we might regard as normal stressful situations (E.g. An interview, a test, receiving a large responsibility, public speaking…etc.).
When a person feels unable to control what is happening, they will feel a dark sense of energy coursing through them as the aspect of their stress they are focusing on becomes increasingly tense until the reality of the situation goes completely out the window like lost luggage and we suddenly feel as though we are one or more of the following:
- Having a heart attack (which makes our hearts beat faster, which feels like a heart attack, which makes our hearts beat faster, and so on via this tortuous psychological cartwheel).
- About to vomit. This also causes fear in that we might vomit in view or earshot of people, which at the time seems totally unacceptable in your mind and so goes further to cause you to freak out. Essential we fear vomiting on our friends, family and work colleagues.
- About to faint…in front of everyone…down some stairs or into the wedding cake (again- something which causes you to feel even more stress).
- Something else odd. Such as your head swelling and the pressure on the brain killing you, whilst also being obvious to passers-by who will surely mutter to each other: “That guy’s head was throbbing. That’s unacceptable! If he needs medical care we’ll have to ignore him”. This seems crazy, and it is.
It seems crazy because it’s not reality. It’s as crazy as your bountifully-imaginative brain can conceive.
You are not having a heart attack.
You’re having a Panic Attack.
If you feel you’re about to vomit then go about it- you’ll feel grand afterwards and the tension will relieve itself.
Feeling faint? Lie down and attempt sleep. It will pass much like sleep does.
To begin with, your body is a sturdy thing (even if right now you’re telling yourself it’s not). It can, and always has, coped and in all honesty it would probably prefer it if you did pass out so that it can get back to being in control and sorting your innards out. As I said before, you are not having a heart attack. Rely on your body for the powerful and adorable little engine it is. Most chemicals and injuries unpleasantly introduced don’t stand a chance against a pissed off human body.
Most of what I listed above was a concern for your own physical health whilst, actually, the issue being fought is concerning how embarrassing this might seem in view of those around you- be they strangers you don’t know if you can rely on or old friends you don’t want to let down.
This is why talking about it helps- so that your friends know what’s happening and strangers might be familiar with what you’re going through.
If you’re not a fan of suffering from the Panic Attacks, my advice is to begin with the long-play strategy.
Diet and exercise.
For your diet, just eat healthy. You know exactly what I mean by that- we’ve all seen at least pictures of vegetables and fruit so go forth and acquire. However, the main part of this is to cut out that which actively deteriorates your wellbeing: caffeine and sugar, alcohol and tobacco.
These might seem to make you feel better; calmer. These things are addictive poisons only to be had when in a sound sense of mind and body. If you’re having a bad series of Panic Attacks, which can happen, then you should drink alcohol to the same degree as a patient with liver damage.
Exercising is a tremendous bit of medicine for the mind and body. Get your heart and lungs to hump each other and your skin to sweat you wet and you’ll feel the warm rush of endorphins throughout your body all the way down to your toes. Why do I mention toes? Because they’re a great distraction from a Panic Attack. Focus upon and give sensation to the toes (you’re welcome) and time will pass in your favour.
With a regular exercise routine of cardio and weight-lifting (particularly the buttocks- also very distracting to behold and get involved with and not just on other people) you will develop a much greater control of your emotions and what you do with them.
During exercise, you might feel a tad dizzy, breathless, as though your heart is jumping out the window and that body parts suddenly feel very light. That’s because this is normal. The only advice is this: remember that this is what happens to everybody during a workout and so you might as well try to enjoy it.
That brings us very nicely to the end of the long-term strategy (although a quick workout might help relieve some building tension in the short-term as well) and bring us to our immediate remedies for a Panic Attack.
Before I go into detail of the life-changing methods of ruling your world, here are some quick aids I have come by before arriving at where I am now:
- Remember what this is- a Panic Attack. Don’t deny it- accept it. Now we can actually deal with it.
- Study your reflection and remind yourself that this situation is actually fine and that it will end.
- A sudden sharp slap to both facial cheeks. Do it to yourself to regain self-control.
- Cold water applied to the hands, feet, face and (most effective of all) the back of the neck. Feels great too.
Going about the last two is a method of bringing you back to a sensible reality. As well as this, getting cold water and achieving a jolly slap will distract you from what unpleasantness you feel is happening.
Now here we are- the methods of dealing with a Panic Attack that will make your life a little better if you let them.
As it turns out, the key to your happiness is good body posture…
Sure- sitting up straight is just swell and all, but there are some other postures that we associate with some happy victory, which will win the day for us here.
First of all- smile!
Smiling is not only the result of happiness, but as you will discover by experimenting with yourself, it can be the cause of happiness too.
By smiling, our facial muscles are triggering nerves which release endorphins into our bloodstream, much as exercise does only a great deal faster.
Sit where you are now, and flash your pearly-whites for us (in other words…smile) and don’t continue to read or do anything else until you have about 60 seconds of hard, constant smiling under your belt. See you in a minute. Go.
Not only are you feeling happy, but you are finding things genuinely funny. I’ll bet the first thing you laughed at was the thought of yourself sitting there with a silly smile all over your face, right?
That’s what I always laugh at first anyway.
So we have this- already a great help in treating a Panic Attack and a bringer of ‘immediate happy’. You can’t even get this in bottles it’s so good. It only comes in brains…
The next piece of treatment I learnt from watching a truly fantastic TED talk by the inspirational Amy Cuddy.
In her talk (which I’ve linked at the end of this article) she speaks of the various poses our species, and other apes, take part in when going through certain emotions.
For example, when stressed and nervous we literally try to make ourselves appear as small as possible via hunched shoulders and lowered heads (sound familiar?). This is a ‘weak’ pose.
When indulging involuntarily in moments of joy and pride (say for example: winning the race, getting the job or “SHE SAID YES!!!!”) we throw our arms up as though we were the ‘Y’ in the ‘YMCA’. Not as though you were a construction worker or a Native American of course…or even a bad boy biker. This is a ‘power’ pose.
Amy Cuddy put people through trials in which those in a ‘weak’ pose and those in a ‘power’ pose were asked to hold these positions for roughly two minutes and to then have fluid samples taken.
The results showed that those in a ‘weak’ pose had an increase in the chemical known as ‘cortisol’- essentially: ‘fluid stress’.
Those grinning volunteers in the ‘power’ pose were also tested and were revealed to have a significant decrease in their cortisol rate and a distinct increase in their testosterone levels- also known as liquid balls for the brain.
Testosterone, as you likely know, is a chemical that gives your body, brain and personality such ‘Oooomph’ that it has been regulated by sporting promotions and has even be known to do that thing that it does to teenage boys.
In smaller doses however, such as in the quantity granted by the ‘Y’ without the ‘MCA’, will bring about a sense of confidence and optimism- basically as good as you’re naturally meant to feel without enjoying the latter stages of a hefty bout of sex you can be proud of.
You feel good.
I know this not only from Amy’s marvellous talk, but from trying it for myself.
It works. You feel slowly filled with a subtle confidence and optimism that you can do as you please with.
And, once more, let’s do for ourselves some experimental self-treatment.
Stand, with your legs straight and your arms outstretched high as though forming a ‘Y’ with your body. Hold this for two minutes, and focus on something pleasing- like a Labrador or 70’s fashion.
Do this now.
See you in two minutes- I think I’ll take part too.
How social of me.
As I said in my article on the feeling following skydiving… “I feel goooooooooooooooooooood”.
Now this might not feel quite the same rush as a 12,000 foot drop at 130 miles per hour. But I know I feel swell.
And so do you. You feel a little more ready to take up a challenge and to win, though losing is no loss. You feel like you got what it takes and that you could take it anywhere.
You’re in control and you feel goooooooooooooooooooood.
Amy Cuddy recommends that, when feeling the need before as stressful situation, you should spend two minutes doing this- wherever you feel most comfortable- and then reap the benefits.
My suggestion is that you do this ‘Y’, with a big old-fashioned grin, when enduring a Panic Attack.
These measures will go some distance in either helping you through it, or using that natural energy your brain sees fit to give you to do whatever you want with. Remember, you are in control and you feel goooooooooooooooooooood.
As I always say: “Mingle”.
Only now, rather than panic, use this natural energy of yours to distract yourself from the dire and inject yourself into what’s happening with a gusto that will make people either want to avoid you or try to meet you.
Talk to people and be involved in anything that is happening. Be interested in many things and you shall become what is interesting about many things.
And this is why I say that whatever psychological reason causes us to have a Panic Attack is no weakness- it is a strength. Within you there is an obvious power of energy that permits you to enjoy yourself via only a few very simple means of control…smiling and ‘Y’ing.
Smiling and ‘Y’-ing.
My final suggestion to you is that you no longer refer to these bouts of energy as ‘Panic Attacks’. Rather- do as I do, and know these cases now as ‘Power Attacks’.
In any case- however you choose to take my advice- be sure to talk to people and do not forget that the option to turn your ‘Panic’ into your ‘Power’ is entirely yours.
Congratulations on all that power.
Have a blast.
Smiling and ‘Y’-ing…
For Amy Cuddy’s brilliant talk, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWZluriQUzE
Tomorrow I’m going Skydiving.
That’s not the odd part.
The odd part is that I feel relatively fine…and I’m about to jump out of a plane.
I thought I’d give a commentary as much ‘as it happens’ as possible, so am starting with the night before the jump so as to give some insight.
I have a feeling I’m about to be develop a deep and loving relationship with parachutes and meeting the ground slowly, but am also sure that a sincere freakout is on the way, at 12,000 feet.
I’m hoping that the adrenaline and sensation won’t cause me to say something stupid afterwards when asked “What’s it like?”: “Uhm. Er. I…It’s like having the fan on”
I’ve heard that you’re supposed to scream as you jump- so I’ve been thinking that I might as well sing a song on the entire way down, it’s just a matter of fixing onto which song for the journey down.
Now, it’s about 10 minutes from plane to Earth, so I’m thinking either two songs with some supreme guitar solos (‘Freedbird’ or ‘Stairway To Heaven’) or three sweet songs to help with the plummeting.
Other than that I’m pondering the following: ‘Afternoon Delight’, ‘Breath’ (Pink Floyd) and ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’. For a 9 AM jump at this time of the summer- they should go down hopefully just as well as I do.
Other than that- all I have to do is make sure I’m wearing clean underwear (in case of post-mortem) and bid my loved ones farewell.
As I said before- I still feel fine, but have a sense I’ll be feeling distinctly unusual in about 12 hours time. I’m going to have to get up early. Maybe being sleepy will help with the fear. Sure as hell is a good way to wake up- don’t think I’ll bother with coffee.
See you tomorrow.
Day Of The Jump.
I was supposed to wake up at 6 and awoke at 5 instead.
Last night my wife asked me very nicely not to die “Please?”- I shall do my best to do as she asks, as a favour to her to be later called in.
I have bid my friends a facebook farewell and now feeling pleasantly excited about the forth-coming experience, though I am also glad that it is apparently over and done with in the grand total of 20 minutes.
There were some thoughts floating about my head in bed as I tried to sleep, thoughts reminiscing my bungee-jump from a year ago. A feeling of missing a step for about 6 seconds and, far from a scream, a deep guttural lurching sound from my depths. Not quite ‘Afternoon Delight’ as I am hoping. We shall see.
Although I am fully confident that by mid-afternoon today I will either be sipping a celebratory drink with my co-jumpers or sitting back here in my living room do much the same as I am right now…but there are still those necessary nerves that I hope will be quashed by the adrenaline I know is also soon on the way.
So, until afterwards guys…
I’ve Been Skydiving.
I feel goooooooooooooooooooood.
Feeling good with a capital ‘fuck yeah’.
Let’s run through what happened to me a few hours ago.
I arrived early at the air-field, signed in to at the front desk, was made a provisional member of the Parachute Association (“I got my provisional!”) and promptly made my way to the nearest lavatory so as to use the hell out of it. I think I lost about a kilo in there.
I was weighed and measured and told to wait for a long time- about an hour, at which point I was sent to a post-jump briefing for those first timers amongst us.
Much like the ride for a roller-coaster, this was the most terrifying part of the experience. About an hour in all went by until I was called to be suited up and to meet my professional.
The suiting up, the brief plane-ride up to 12,000 feet and being tucked up into a flying tin with a dozen other leapers was of little consequence to the experience. Aside from when the winks and handshakes began making the rounds- bringing with them about a little comradery as though we were of some fellowship bound together to return to Earth smiling and alive.
I felt fine until my pro wished me luck- which I felt a tad disconcerting. Why would I need luck when, if the worst and squishiest were to happen, that would be your responsibility and, my word, my mother would make knowledge of your name and pursue you. I didn’t tell him that.
“When you get to the rim of the door, tuck your feet under the plane and scream”
Quite an instruction, which I looked to heartily obey.
We sat with our legs out of the plane, the noise furious, the wind awakening and the view endless, we rocked back…and then forwards…
The screaming, they said (and as I discovered), was very necessary as not to do so would result in a sky’s amount of air cramming its way into your lungs as you go hurtling.
I found this to be true, only the scream I made was not a conscious effort (on my part anyway), whereas the breathing certainly was.
The sensation of the free fall (lasting about 20-25 seconds) is about as much as you can feel with the entirety of your being. You don’t think- you can only feel. Feeling is all you can do, aside from the scream. “Remember to breathe” was not a sentence uttered in my head- it was an equation grandly smashed together within my noggin which activated my nerves and made my upper-torso go: “Breath now”.
This was not just a matter of air rushing in and your lungs trying to cope with that- it’s also because you’re getting distracted by the 130mph plummet that’s happening to you right now.
You fall fast. You really do. You fall so fast you forget things, like breathing. I descended so quickly I forgot I had brown hair and am male. That is some good falling.
As I was a tandem jump- I was required to have a stern pensioner strapped to my back, whilst this same poor gent was made to wear me as a belly and crutch warmer, a lifestyle I hold very little merit in. No one told me I would have to sit on this man’s lap as though he was an armchair. He was so armchair like, he was even pleasantly leathery with reasonable wear and tear.
This man was my pro and his name was Clem- a former cabbie who was convinced by a military friend of his to jump out of a plane for charity in 1981, a thing apparently unheard of at the time. On that first jump of his, Clem immediately arranged a sudden change of career and has been doing this ever since.
“It’s a good deal safer than being a cabbie” he told me whilst winding up the parachute. “I’ve never had a knife pulled on me in this job”. I felt inclined not to change this- Clem being a lovely guy and I didn’t wish to disrupt his quality leatheriness.
Following the jump, and the immediate manner in which one attempts to explain the sensation to others, you realise just how over used superlatives are. The sensation of the fall was far beyond such now-meaningless words as ‘Amazing’ and ‘Incredible’, this being why all I can think of for it is to say perhaps “Unreal” and to encourage others to try it. As I said earlier- all you can do is feel. At 120 miles per hour. Powerful.
My throat still hurts- the fact that I could hear my own scream (and I swear I could hear myself laughing as well) means that I must have been loud and my sore throat qualifies this as likely true. It turns out that your own personal volume is surprisingly easy at 12,000 feet. Why was I laughing- some sort of jolly hysteria perhaps, but I am left to assume that this speed is just funny.
Like when you receive, with no invite, a swift shin to the bollocks and your being is screaming at you: “SAM?! ARE YOU STILL IN CONTROL BECAUSE THIS FEELS LIKE YOU’RE NOT!” and all you can do is reply: “AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH THIS IS HUMOUROUS!”
And then Clem let loose the parachute and we slowed down incredibly and the only uncomfortable moment of the experience occurred- not the sudden grabbing action upon my testis, but the potent realisation of how fast my heart was pounding. Struggling to get one’s breath back and to allow time to process what just happened- you are bound by only one thought which cancels all worry: this is lovely. Messing about with parachutes.
Clem allowed me to steer as well- doing what are called ‘fast turns’: “Pull the right handle to turn right, turn the left handle to turn left, do not pull them both or we will crash, and don’t look directly down”.
To give an idea of the height and speed, four of these ‘fast turns’ (lasting about 5 seconds each) equated to dropping the height of Canary Wharf from top to bottom.
It was following the ‘fast turns; and now on the slow decent that Clem casually stated in my ear: “By the way, we’ve lost a highly important piece of equipment”
“Oh. Oh, okay, well it was a pleasure knowing you Clem…”
I realised that the ripple of terror throughout my being was surely lessened by the adrenaline I could still taste on my tongue, before Clem assured me the equipment was missing from the air-field only- not from us.
Upon landing and returning to the canteen the taste was stronger and I felt compelled to combat this with an orange ice-pole. At this point, with my certificate for jumping in one hand, my dripping ice-pole in the other and the enlightening sense of potential in myself and in the world made me feel as totally complete as I have in many years.
As it turns out, for future reference, I’m a jumper.
And ‘face-first’ is once more proven to be the preferable way to go about something.
On the ground Clem and I embraced, folded up the parachute, and enjoyed a brief debate about how natural this all was.
I argued that the Skydive itself was unnatural, but that skydiving was like a joke- the fear of uncertainty and shock followed by the relief of the enjoyable comfort that makes you laugh, and this was natural. That and the 130 miles per hour that happen to your face-first whilst you’re essentially just lying down, mixed with the accomplishment of curiosity- once more- a natural aspect of the dive.
Clem argued that super-markets were also unnatural and so we left it there.
“Is that the fastest I’ve ever travelled?” I asked Clem.
“Not if you’ve ever travelled in a commercial plane before, but it is the fastest you’ve travelled without mechanical assistance” he replied.
“Didn’t the plane help quite a bit in getting us up there then?”
I countered, for the sake of it really, and the debate began to ensue once more before the bus back from the field to the canteen arrived to collect us. As it turns out, squeezing an unfolded parachute into the front compartment of a bus is one of the more amusing things to watch someone attempt to do. Poor old Clem.
There we go, that should do it.
Maybe it will feel different next time, which will surely happen soon.
Thanks to Skydive Headcorn.
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
By all means, avoid the blue ball.
Glasses will smash, noses will be blooded, and conversations will be rudely interrupted, all on account of the blue ball not actually being there whilst you swipe full-force at it.
The red, yellow and white however- they’re you’re business. Like the colours of the flag of pool (we’re going to need one of those).
First things first, you need to step back, then forward again so as to assault the table in every sense of the word. Whether or not people are watching you- either they’ll remember you, or the table sure as hell will.
Then we’ll leave you alone, once we’ve dragged you away from the green and that’ll be that for a while.
You’re a good person now, so just give yourself five minutes to enjoy that feeling and then breathe deeply once and make your way back inside.
Although fact that the table is inside is part of the problem.
Naturally- you’re drinking throughout your pool performance. The violence is natural, the pool is natural and the drink is natural- all you need now are some natural surroundings, so a nice meadow in which to enjoy a game of pool is increasingly important now. Have yourself a pool table, and stick a meadow underneath it.
The reason for the act of violence being natural is that it’s svelte, not the violence, the pool table. The violence is not so much svelte as much as it is loud and eventually leaky.
We rarely encounter that which is svelte in our day to day lives. Apart from babies- they’re fairly svelte, but they haven’t got the arrogance of a pool table. If violence feels svelte to you- then you must’ve been practising.
A pool table will stand there as though it’s clever to have four legs and no skirt on, arrogant and obviously pompous- because somehow it’s winning without playing, whilst also swallowing my balls and not giving them back. It only gives the white ball back, but only so that you can prolong your own agony as you don’t succeed in potting the correct ball and wishing that the blue ball was real.
The house always wins, but you can change the interior before you are made to leave. This doesn’t mean that you should wallpaper the walls, but it does mean that you should take some wallpaper home with you, and perhaps a couple of bricks. The same method applies to pool. Make sure that this cheeky table remembers you- you’re going to lose but leave it a pretty little scar.
That is good pool. Though it may well sour relations with the next player who might well, and justly so, enquire as to why their pool table is scarred and why you have a mouthful of wallpaper. You’re appropriate response is: “Go and do likewise fella, now excuse me…I have a need to flee”.
So the violence is natural.
The pool is natural too, and ties in very smoothly with the naturalness of the drinking.
Drinking is natural owing to the fact that…here it is! Nature is a matter of opinion, with “death by natural causes” being the most debateable.
If I’m eaten by a mountain lion (fine- as long as I truly deserve it) then there really is little more-natural a death to be had by this talkative ape here. But, the police, and hopefully my family, would freak out at the fact that technically I died from being chewed. For some mountain-born kid in the…mountains…it’s likely that being eaten by a mountain lion is comparable for him to a kid in New York dying from being hit by a car. Tragic, and it doesn’t happen to everyone (someone has to be the driver), but- it’s not unnatural. Maybe what’s natural is what’s common in your habitat.
Drinking is happening all around; my town has a raging alcohol and budding weed problem. So it’s natural.
I believe that we have an urge to flaunt the mind’s capabilities when we are drinking, and so either some strong conversation, testy little quiz or a bit of hand-eye co-ordination is what we need at the time of the consumption of alcohol. This is why darts boards, quiz machines and pool tables are found in bars and pubs.
Conversations can also be found here, although they tend to be free of charge. Maybe they won’t be for long, as good conversation can be hard to find and lonely people are plentiful- a very valuable resource for those that sell things in the place of a social life. ‘Whoring your vocal chords’ is how it must be put, since ‘whoring your mouth’ is rather more misleading and much more popular.
All in all, to ensure you’re playing pool as if you’re a good person; be sure to leave the pool hall a little different to how it was when you arrived. Preferably with other people leaving their mouths open as they watch you waddle out with in a funny fashion because you groined the table in a moment of 17 century sexuality- in which you became so aroused by the sight of naked table legs that you grabbed a leg and beat it with it, whilst also beating, with the aforementioned leg,…off.
But how does this relate to you being a good person?
Well, aside from doing what is natural (apologies for not being able to find an alternative word for ‘natural’), you are making a difference.
Change is good, whilst change is also bad, eventually in a good way. If it hadn’t been for the horrors of the holocaust, then the best of human nature would not have been displayed, nor would we have the option to generally be against the holocausts- a cause most aggressively espoused by more good people than bad. So, as an aside, if you want to play pool as if you’re a good person, then play it whilst also being against the holocaust.
Make change of the world’s arse (GHETTO LANGUAGE USED IN WIT- THANKS FOR READING), and then things will be continuing exactly as it always has- constantly changing, hopefully evolving, possibly just changing- lacking a point for which to do so being the reason for it being so.
Sudden and shocking action, unto a room unexpecting it, is a favour to all. Particularly if you don’t know any of them as it is the finest of conversation starters.
Think of it as a social call to those few others that might be there want to contribute to the sudden action. Having a point to the action, let us call it…’momentum’…is something that might matter, as opposed to most things that happen, and do not matter.
Play pool as a good person by making a difference; any way you choose, but I recommend the sudden and shocking method as a call out to the people that might also want to leave the room, which is temporarily the world, a little different from how it was when you first arrived.
That’s about it. The ethos of ‘make change’ prevails above most others- even the one about helping old ladies cross the street- and change is natural, change is good.
You are natural; you are good.