Who Bleedin Cares Anyway?
Bertie: “Are you suffering, Bobby?”
Bobby: “Not ‘suffering’, but wary in these troubled times.”
Bertie: “So why post this, Bobby?”
Bobby: “Dunno. Why not?”
Bertie: “What will Andrew say?”
Bobby: “He bought the book!”
Bobby: “He is Technical Director, not bleedin Aristotle!”
Bertie: “Then why?”
Bobby: “Too many questions, Bertie. Sometimes problems have many solutions for Serenity. Anxiety is like that. We are always learning. What follows taught me valuable lessons. Profanities are merely there to catch your attention. Diddley did that to perfection.”
Bertie: “Suppose people don’t like it?”
Bobby: “Here we go again. My hero is the Gentle Author, with his daily Spitalfields Life blog. If the subject is not my cup of tea I delete it and look forward to the next one. You must never forget the guiding principles that are the raison d’etre for writing stories:
- Al-Anon. This is my recovery from the affects of someone else’s drinking. Made us lots of friends.
- Grief. This is our bereavement therapy. Made us lots of friends.
- GAD (general anxiety disorder). This is counselling. Made us lots of friends.
- Fun. It’s a wonderful hobby. Made us lots of friends.”
Bertie: “But why now, just before Christmas?”
Bobby: “That’s exactly why. The current obsession with a ‘normal’ Christmas seems to forget that a ‘normal’ Christmas for many is ‘Crisis‘! Homelessness. Grief. Broken families. Financial insecurity. Like many Al-Anon friends, I used to dread Christmas. An excuse for our ‘qualifiers’ to drink even more. And could I ever forget the office Christmas parties? Would you risk your granny just for Christmas? I am staying indoors, with my Christmas tree and you and the others. The rest of the human race is banned. Roll on lockdown January.”
From “THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A FXCK” (there are no X’s in the book!)
Subtlety #3: Whether you realise it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fxck about. People aren’t just born not giving a fxck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fxcks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly. Fxck that kid.
When we’re young, everything is new and exciting, and everything seems to matter so much. Therefore, we give tons of fxcks. We give a fxck about everything and everyone – about what people are saying about us, about whether that cute boy/girl called us back or not, about whether our socks match or not, or what colour our birthday balloon is. As we get older, with the benefit of experience (and having seen so much time slip by), we begin to notice that most of these sort of things have little lasting impact on our lives. Those people whose opinions we cared about so much before are no longer present in our lives. Rejections that were painful in the moment have actually worked out for the best. We realise how little attention people pay to the superficial details about us, and we choose not to obsess so much over them. Essentially, we become more selective about the fxcks we are willing to give. This is something called maturity. It’s nice. You should try it sometime. Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fxck about what’s truly fxckworthy. As Buck Moreland said to his partner Detective McNulty in “The Wire”: “That’s what you get for giving a fxck when it wasn’t your turn to give a fxck.” Then as we grow older and enter middle age, something else begins to change. Our energy level drops. Our identity solidifies. We know who we are and we accept ourselves including some of the parts we aren’t thrilled about.
And in a strange way, this is liberating. We no longer give a fxck about everything. Life is just what it is. We accept it warts and all. We realise that we’re never going to cure cancer or go the moon or feel Jennifer Anniston’s tits. And that’s OK. Life goes on. We now reserve our ever dwindling fxcks for the most truly fxck-worthy parts of our lives, our best friends, our golf swing. And, to our astonishment, this is enough. This simplification actually makes us really fxcking happy on a consistent basis. And we start to think. Maybe that crazy alcoholic Bukowski was onto something.
Hope and Gloomy
Hi Lovely You.
Anyone out there feeling somewhat gloomy at the moment?
Yeah. of course you are.
There are 100 possible reasons for that.
Anyone out there feeling hopeful at the moment?
Yeah of course you are.
There are 100 possible reasons for that.
Yes supremely weird fricking times.
Just when we were all bracing for a long, dark, pandemic-ridden, locked down, recession looming winter, hopeful news comes steaming through the door and not even wearing a mask.
And for me there are two main aspects to the recent hope –
Biden won. (Sorry if you don’t agree with either that fact or my glee in that fact). Vaccine news of an excellent nature arrives every 2 days. (Sorry if you don’t agree with that fact or my glee in that fact).
And just when you are feeling a bit more perky because it’s not all bad news.
And Biden won and the vaccine cavalry are coming, you get hit with other shxt news in one form or another (such as: Brexit is about to happen, oh crap; You can’t see your parents or friends until 2021 probably; Trump won’t concede; We’re going to have to pay for all these debts off one day; or.. and this one was on the same front page as the first bit of 90% effective vaccine news: A third world war is more likely to happen coming out of this pandemic than for decades, according to Brigadier someone, head of the British army or something; Nice timing matey, you’re not after more money are you? Oh you were, and you got it, fricking brilliant).
And the whole messy mass of it all makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
What the frick were you worrying about before it became scary and dangerous to walk out of your own front door, or touch your best friends?
Crikey, was there anything to worry about before THIS?
Well, YES, for those with very good memories, the kind of highly-tuned brain circuitry that can remember what you were thinking before February this year.
A year ago we were panicking about climate change, about our global house being on fire.
(Genuinely, thanks Greta for helping wake the world up to that), about the possibility of making ourselves EXTINCT through our stupid actions, then Australia proved how close Greta’s metaphor was to the truth by burning like it’s never burnt before (yes, I’m foreshadowing an imminent Trump reference with sentence construction). and we were all so horrified by that, and then the people went skiing to relax and brought back the China virus (Trump allusion part II).
And a year ago we would have been worrying about Trump too, surely?
I can’t remember exactly what it would have been. But he would have said something or done something scary. Maybe that was when he had peaceful protesters tear-gassed out of the way so he could hold up a bible in front of a church.
So our climate/human-extinction-possibility anxiety preceded the even-more-imminent-human-attacking-virus-reality of the most serious pandemic in 100 years.
And a rapidly increasing awareness and ability to talk about “mental health” preceded the greatest threat to our universal mental health in years.
Peculiar that, eh?
Don’t worry if you don’t know whether to jump up and down with hope, or sit down on the nearest toilet to poo yourself.
Don’t worry if you’re sitting there feeling down or confused or concerned,
But can’t put your fingers on exactly why
Because there’s such a multifarious, heterogeneous procession of nasties coming at us most days that its perfectly natural.
And in this sometimes-gloomy-sometimes-hopeful craziest of days.
When we experience strangeness from the astonishing mundanity of our living rooms, our lives shorn of restaurants, bars, cinemas, dinner parties, gigs and football matches (or whatever non-home-related-fun—distraction floats your boat).
Get back to survival basics –
- Take one day at a time
- Remember that loads of people are feeling the same as you
- Appreciate what you have, and what’s working
- Find something to look forward to, too.. something good that’s likely to happen.
And as ever, we’re here,
Throwing you “Fxck it” bits of wisdom as we go.
John and Gaia xx
Rainbows are Good.
Diddley and Bobby swam at the Legal and General’s pool at Kingswood in 1998. On their own. Pool manager Dave turned the building lights out to leave just the underwater lights on. They swam to their song. Eva singing “Over the Rainbow” and a love affair was forged.
Halos are Good Too.
Kirchenes, Norway 2012
Suffering from SAD? You could live here.
Phrase of the Year
“You are muted” (optional ‘dickhead’)
I Don’t Believe It
Phone call… just now. “Could I speak to Mrs Diane Ball?”
“No you fxcking can’t, you imbecile. She’s been dead five years. You imbecile. Try heaven. You imbecile.”
Al-Anon … Thought for Today
“I used to live my life as if I were on a ladder. Everybody was either above me – to be feared and envied – or below me – to be pitied. God was way, way at the top. Beyond my view. That was a hard, lonely place to live, because no two people can stand comfortably on the same rung of a ladder for very long.
When I came to Al-Anon, I found a lot of people who had decided to climb down from the ladder into the circle of fellowship. In the circle we were all on equal terms, and God was right in the centre, easily accessible. When newcomers arrived, we simply widened the circle.
Today I no longer look up to some people and down on others. I can look each person in the eye, squarely and honestly. Today, being humble means climbing down from the ladder of judgement of myself and others, and taking my rightful place in a worldwide circle of love and support.”
(Al-Anon is not a religious organisation. The term “God” is of your understanding and can be anything you chose, including the power of a group of like minded people)
Moral of all the Stories
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow a mystery. So live for today.
Lighting a Candle for Diddley
The dilemma of an alcoholic. (Long before Bobby came on the scene.)
It’s hilarious. It’s fun. It’s life and soul of the party. It’s popularity. It’s humiliating. It’s delusionary. It’s an awful illness. It’s a death sentence.
We love you Diddley.
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