13 Nov 2011

Post 316: Is caring or worrying too much just going to make me angry?

I go on quite a bit about how post stroke life is a lot about the avoidance of boredom. I can't work and because there aren't 'real jobs' that would be suitable for a bloke in my condition – I want to be a writer but an idea for something remains elusive so I write this – which is not a real thing to do! I guess it's all to do with, do I feel like I'm worth anything to myself and to others? And this is what I do everyday. I continually ask myself this question at the same time as trying to avoid boredom, it's a shame it's such a boring question. I probably used to do this before my stroke -christ, I'm sure we all do it. Do we? Or is it just me? I'm sure there are some people who think they're great, well, bully for them - we can't all be sociopaths! People who merrily cruise through life without realising that we're only worth what other people think of us and there's no arbitrator which means life seems to be one big guestimate and becomes more of a guess the stupider you get. This seems to stand up to critical reasoning. Crap, I think too much, which for a bloke who tries not to take life too seriously is a bit tricky, a lot of the things I used to laugh at about myself don't seem so appropriate to laugh about anymore but I have a go. I try and avoid being too inappropriate by distracting myself – pre-stroke it was about solving a seemingly endless supply of problems (good old John Lewis), I suppose I'm still trying to solve problems now, it's just they're different and less structured and who knows who the boss of me is now? I fear it's the hardest person for me to please. ME. Simple Question: Why can't I stop worrying about it? Why do I care about this? Have you met the people whose Genes I've inherited? Plus they always tell me off when I say 'I don't care'. It goes without saying I love them very much and as much as I've got a lot of good stuff from them, any misanthropy (see previous post ) coupled with their capacity to worry makes things a bit harder than they need to be. It does prepare you quite well for inexplicable histrionics which until it's an Olympic Sport are a bloody waste of time and energy. Mum's efforts will have to go unrewarded, although she's a clear gold medal contender! There are people who bleat about how unfair society is. We all want want more equality and fairness but I also know with a more equal society I'd be living in a bloody awful care home in South London or not living at all. I have been extremely lucky not to have to rely on state support or my parents financially – everytime I have ever asked the state for help since my need for critical hospitalisation they haven't even had time to open the door before slamming it shut. What's that? I know strictly speaking you can't slam a closed door but you get the drift, because I used to have a job and pay tax and I own a property because critical illness cover paid off my mortgage and the company I used to work for pays me a disability pension that gets taxed? (this allows me some sort of life – it pays for my food, heat, carers and concert tickets) but that makes me a privileged b*stard, I'm sorry – state help is out of the question for people like me, it says here I'm on my own – it says I can 'jolly well rely on my friends, my elderly parents and myself – good luck and goodbye. Actually, they don't wish you luck. In practice it's just another means testing form that my long suffering dad has stopped filling in because I'm not destitute enough to get any state services and before my lefty mates say 'well, it's this tory coalition – I'd like to point out this has been happening since before the election. No wonder I've got esteem issues if the state I've paid loads in tax to doesn't seem to give a sh*t, but it can spend £18m evicting some gypo's from a piece of land they decided to illegally park their caravans on one day.
Pardon me if I feel a bit annoyed and with the politics of those whose bleating about 'equality' and 'fairness' has redistributed my tax pounds for someone to spend on fags (maybe) or cheap lager from Wetherspoons (possibly). Pardon me if I'm not thrilled my tax money ended up in the pocket of someone who doesn't care if I live or die, probably someone who thinks I'm posh. If that person is able to work, they don't warrant a penny of other peoples tax money. I have no objection to my tax being spent on hospitals, schools, the disabled or the elderly but beyond that people should look after themselves. People who make the effort should be rewarded . It should be about reward for making effort for the people you care about, and who you care about should be people who care about you. I care about the dignity of humans but this runs out on humans who don't care back. I apologize if this isn't 'light and airy' enough or too serious – I just hope it shows some depth to my unstructured rantings and some underlying evidence for my 'anger'. If it's no structure you want then I'll oblige, despite all this I've seen some good comedy in the last few days, firstly last Sunday at the Dome,Alan Carr,
a man who's slowly turning into an old woman – in fact I would hazard a guess that he wouldn't have to spend long in make-up to become Mrs Merton,
and seeing as I'm a former politics student there will only ever be one AC!
Anyway, he's good enough, he's basically an amusing 'chatty man', I say man, there were a couple of times he even told himself off for over mincing or being too camp. He basically transfers his TV persona to the stand up format but he camps it up more (if you can imagine that's even possible) although I believe he was a stand up first. His audience was an interesting juxtaposition of 30something fabulous gay men and a high number of 20-50 women who love chat shows skewed because of the Dome's unfortunate location (sandwiched as it is between Essex, Kent chav central and the East End) meaning that there were a lot of high-heeled boots
and ill-fitting leopard print leggings
or 'muck'.
You take the rough with the smooth going to the Dome. It's a great music venue but I'm reminded of Tim Minchins words 'stand up comedy is killed by arenas'. As it was thankfully I was taken by a mate who'd never been to the Dome before, Danny Legg,
so what the show lacked in hilarity was made up by his impressedness at the scale of the place
although Danny's a fairly sanguine bloke. So that was last Sunday, on Tuesday my friend Jo had discovered original 'cheeky chappy', cockney legend and one of her hero's Lee Hurst was touring and hitting the bright lights of the Redhill Harlequin Theatre. I must admit, stand up at close quarters
is rather better - in the silken words of Reginald D Hunter ' stand-up comedy is art, [appearing on] Television is business'. although parts of Hurst's show Man v Woman bordered on the misogynistic which Jo can happily handle but I am reminded of being at college during a particularly right-on phase when the womens officer had nearly succeeded in cancelling the college subscription to The Sun on the grounds that 'page 3 was degrading to women'.Sense was seen in the end and our subscription stayed but it was an odd time at college. Perfectly reasonable women would treat all men 'as potential rapists' and political correctness [spastic gaytalk] was rife. As you become a bigger name on the Comedy circuit it's about crafting a show that suits the size of the venue you play which is why the show I went to see on Wednesday worked so brilliantly. A few months ago the mother of a friend introduced me to a friend of hers called Graham
whose job it is is to help disabled passengers onto planes at Gatwick. For some reason she figured we'd get on although he must be fed up with disabled people, I know I'm often a bit fed up with myself. In August Graham and I went to the Dome . Because he lives on the way to Brighton he suggested that I look at events there, the combination of sea air, amazing fish and chips and a decent show might be just the ticket for blowing a few cobwebs away (which I badly need to do), and as luck would have it, the show in question was a gently modified version of one of my favourite ever stand up DVDs Dandelion Mind by genius and my hero Bill Bailey. A friend of mine once wisely observed 'he's like a favourite uncle' I had first seen this DVD back in December last year so Bill has been [milki...] touring it for quite some time and why not? It is one of the funniest things you'll ever see. I was literally crying with laughter at some points. Because Bill is a musical comedian, a larger venue with big sound and a big stage rather suits the show
(The Brighton centre is not intimate or remotely inspiring
with Bill taking the piss quite liberally out of this latter fact). It is clearly quite a major venue though as yesterday I managed to get tickets for Graham and I to see the 'big yin' Billy Connolly
in March next year. He (Billy) must be getting on a bit now, I saw him in January 2010 and he was so good I have vowed to try and see him whenever I can. And finally, I went to go and see Jack
Whitehall at the Hammersmith Apollo with my old schoolmate Owen,
the unanimous decision was that he is rather good although having half of his old school, Marlborough college there made it feel a bit like the House of Lords, speaking as a former public school dweller myself a big gathering of male public school types is not the most welcoming atmosphere but there were hundreds of them (and I had forgotten my grenades). This Irony/Hypocrisy isn't lost on me but putting it into words isn't happening. As much as this feels a bit like a flounce, my brain just won't do it. Tiredness is sh*te. An unexpected bonus was running into old friend Matt Clarke
at the end.. Not quite the lady of my dreams, but I've been told to keep looking, she is out there. Since my stroke, I have often been called brave. I'm not brave, I just somehow go about my life. Today is armistice day
and the real people who are brave need to be thought about today I was watching a program last night about 'the battle of the Bulge' in WW2 and I can't even begin to comprehend the terror and hardship those guys faced Standing up to that is bravery – the same can be said for Afghanistan and Iraq, it must be even harder to be brave when it's not exactly clear what you're doing there – fighting an invasion is at least clear. Being nice to someone who you suspect doesn't want you there and would happily kill you painfully must be awful. That is proper bravery.

1 comment:

The Taxi Dog said...

I started at:
and met you.
So I'll leave the same response here.

Another survivor says ‘Hello’. My street credits are these: in 2002, I had emergency brain surgery in Cedars-Sinai Los Angeles. I shit in bed for several weeks until my body decided to work again. Then rehab for 3 months. But I’m sure you’ve gone through you’ve gone through your own hell. All I want to do is to say, “Welcome, fellow traveler”.

We probably have much to share. I have multiple handicaps as you will learn, and I hope I will not scare you away. I am a retired psychotherapist, a grandfather of three, a lover of words elude me. Like Frankenstein’s wish for love.

You’re photographs are achingly beautiful. We both see God in Nature.

Street Cred [its]

First man: “I’m from Maine and got a 4.0 from Harvard. My parents are both on the fortune 500 list and are still together”

Second man responds, “Man, you are wack! You don’t got no street cred, sucker”

Keep in touch, eh what?



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