Apparently I left my twenties during March 2008. You'll probably be able to tell from the world-weary cynicism emanating from every line of this column. Let me tell you something. Never have a thirtieth birthday party. You won't feel good about yourself.
I took the week off to get some work done. Not the kind that costs several grand and would make my breasts pert and prone to exploding on airplanes – the other kind, where you accomplish things, like shelving. Throughout my life, I’ve always had the urge to ‘get some work done’. I think it’s safe to say that not a huge amount of shelves got put up, nor novels written, nor even rewarding life experiences that I will look back on as an old, old man and think: ‘that was time well spent’. Unless by then, eating a bag of sweets while watching a DVD and wondering how hard it would be to learn the guitar is a valid use of time. I’m sure it will be, based on my probable level of senility at that point. It’s true that, maybe five days in, I left the house, but that was only because we’d run out of milk and I was curious to see if the people outside were really as small as they looked from my window (they weren’t apparently – thanks a lot, rules of perspective).
Eventually responsibility caught up with me, when I discovered children do this thing called a ‘play-date’, a ritual where very short people present their most precious possessions to each other to gain respect and admiration. ‘Look at this thing I have! It’s a Killing Thing!’ - (my children have been brought up with care and an wary eye to posterity). Often, this works, which I found very interesting. If or when my wife divorces me, I plan to start bringing authentically dog-eared copies of Ulysses and a collection of beermats to speed-dating events. In the meantime, I’ve started carrying around old comic books and and mix tapes in case I need to impress anyone – friends, relations, employers. ‘This is DJ Sharpshooter. It’s ‘jungle’. Isn’t it awesome? Can I have a raise?’ Or: ‘I’m sorry about your hip replacement. Do you want to borrow my copy of Secret Wars 1? It’s got all the superheroes in the same book! Wow, huh?’
I can’t help but think that if we could take more hints from children, all our lives would be a lot simpler. Certainly, my interaction with the world and everyone in it is greatly informed by my inner child. I mentioned to my wife that I thought our neighbours hated us. I was fairly sure there was some dark and mysterious reason, I suggested. She said, actually, she gets along very well with all of them. Well, they’re weird around me, I said, feeling confident that no rebuttal could be forthcoming. ‘But that’s because you never actually talk to anyone’, she said, ‘you make a vague “hmmph” sound, look wildly around and then run away. That’s your problem with everyone. I hope you’re not going to carry on like that at your birthday’. I thought that was a little unfair, but given that it was an analysis based wholly in truth, I thought I’d let it go. The problem with talking to people, I didn’t say, is that some people enjoy it, while others view it as a horrific freefall into a land marked ‘Uncomfortable Silence’. I have landed there many times. I think, once you get to a certain age, if you’ve gotten away with not developing small talk, you don’t have to. The way I look at it, if I could do it, my employment prospects would only expand to include PR. So I’m not too worried.
Oh yes. I’m turning thirty this month. It’s not every year that happens, said someone with not a terribly tight grip on the concept of time. Expect every embarrassing aspect of that to be crowbarred into next month’s column, unless I tell you about the time I read Hot Press. Ho ho.
Breakfast of Champions, Adam Hillman
5 hours ago