Thursday, 8 September 2011

30 Reasons to take Cyanide

The number thirty is currently rushing towards me like a judge asked to pin a rosette on the winner of the Ugliest Face competition (that childhood memory still hurts). Yeah sadly I am significantly closer to thirty than twenty, about nine years five months if I’m being honest. No matter what age you are, you always poor scorn on people younger than you moaning about their age. I truly understand that if you’re reading this on the cusp of turning forty, fifty or sixty plus, you’ll find my annoyances at turning thirty tiresome. But I think the point of what I am saying will strike a chord with whatever age you are, unless of course you’re not bothered about your age – in which case you must be young, and on behalf of everyone else reading this let me just say “We hate you, with a passion you can’t even imagine!”.

As a complete aside, what does one do to celebrate their 30th birthday? A drink down the pub seems a bit under ambitious, but then a trip to Centre Parks seems like the kind of thing that would mean you end up spending your birthday alone. Perhaps I should go on my last (and coincidentally first) 18-30 holiday, or then again perhaps not?

What bothers me about turning thirty is not the number per se, but the fact that at thirty you are supposed to look back at your life and take stock at your wonderful accomplishments. Oh dear…, it’s a bit like looking at a mantelpiece covered in all of the music industry’s awards to Chico, it feels rather bare shall we say. So I’ve completely tried to avoid thinking about it. This plan would have worked until my flatmate decided to shove a copy of the Evening Standard under my nose, the Evening Standard is a good newspaper if you ignore the fact that it’s hideously overpriced and deeply depressing. This is without the fact that this particular edition contained an article entitled “30 things to do before you’re 30”. Suffice us to say my flatmate’s actions provoked the kind of response you’d expect to get if you repeatedly poke a lion in the eye with a stick.

For those of you who fancy a look, you must either be nowhere near thirty or have a death wish, here’s a link to the article:

In case you do look at the online version, I should point out that in the actual print version it’s laid out in such a way that on seeing the headline you go straight to the numbered list rather than reading the introductory paragraphs in which the author explains that your thirties are much better than your twenties and that you shouldn’t worry about completing the list or not. By the time I read this disclaimer it was too late, the damage was done.

So let’s have a look at this long list (I didn’t decide there should be 30 things in it, don’t blame me) and see what I’ve accomplished:

1. Buy a Property – If by “property” you mean packet of crisps and a 15 tog duvet (things that arguably are your “property”) then I have achieved this. Otherwise have you seen the prices of houses?! I’ve got more chance of owning a Nobel Peace Prize.

2. Have a Baby (if you’re a woman) & 3. Avoid having a Baby (if you’re a man) – First of all this is cheating, as by putting these as two separate things you cannot possibly achieve all thirty. Unless of course you’ve had a sex change from a woman after having a still birth, and to be honest that doesn’t feel like an achievement you should be celebrating. In fairness I have achieved number 3, but given last week’s blog this doesn’t really feel like an “achievement”, more an outcome of being hideous.

4. Live Abroad – No. Why would you want to live abroad? It’s hard enough making friends without going somewhere where you neither know anyone nor know the language. This is not for the social recluse that I am.

5. Build Your Brand – Essentially this is the new wankerish trend to be top of Google when you search for yourself, have over 1,000 Twitter followers and get regular comments on your blog. I think you’ll find by scouring these pages the later has not been achieved. You can also tell by reading this blog I have nothing worth tweeting. And also there’s an Irish folk singer with the name “Matt Cunningham” who rudely keeps topping Google over me.

6. Leave Home – Ok, so I’ve achieved this one. But beyond your early twenties you have to stop living with your parents, as it becomes too depressing. It’s like looking into a mirror that shows the future. It slowly dawns on you that your inescapable fate is to become your parents as you see their traits develop in you, but worse still (and this is the terrifying part) you realise you’re going to have all the annoying habits of both your mother and your father – yay for genetics. Leaving home and not thinking about this is the only way to stay sane.

7. Look After the Pennies – This one’s all about savings, but unfortunately there’s no criteria on how much you should have saved (how you can have any money saved if you’ve achieved item #1 on the list is another matter). I’m going to say tick, as I have at least £100 in the bank, and that’s a lot more than the UK Government.

8. Drop Out – Meaning leave your boring 9-5 job. Are you mad? It may be boring, but how can I have all these savings, leave home, move abroad, buy a house and support or not support a baby, if I’ve decided to give up my job and live of the profits of Bring & Buy sales like some tedious Blue Peter appeal?

9. Co-Habit – Yes I have managed to achieve this, but the person I’m co-habiting with gave me this damned article in the first place, so I don’t think that worked out!

10. Have a Threesome or Moresome – Some of us are still struggling with Twosomes thank you very much.

11. Own a Designer Handbag – This is random, I have no idea why this is in the article. The closest I come to this is that I own designer clothes, if by designer you include Burtons Menswear. Guess that’s a no then.

12. Grow a Pair – Balls not breasts here, and no we’re not talking about sex changes again, but sticking up for yourself. Given I spend most of my day, hiding in the corner trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone (regardless of whether I know them or not – especially if I know them), I suspect this is a no.

13. Always wear Sunscreen – Technically no, as I’m not wearing it now. But have you seen outside? It looks like deepest winter… on Pluto, when did summer happen? But having managed to achieve some rather unpleasant comedy sunburns over my life, I suspect this is still a no.

14. Dump the Debt – Pay off your student debt. Sadly I don’t happen to have a five-figure cash sum cluttering up my bedroom, so sadly this is impossible. Though maybe I’ll pop it on my credit card, no mention of clearing credit card debts in this article so clearly that’s a far more sensible thing to do. I don’t think so.

15. Build Up Your Black Book – Have a good list of contacts. “Networking” is one of the most disturbing terms in the English language, just behind “floating shelves” (which are not natural and should be burnt). The idea of meeting people and convincing them I’m worth knowing is making me feel quite, quite ill.

16. Drop Your Last E – Nothing to do with spelling your name this one, all to do with giving up drugs. Sadly I haven’t even got round to starting yet (I’m that much of a failure), so I can’t tick this one off. Instead I’m planning to work my way up from soft drugs to harder substances so I can then give up. I’m currently working on caffeine – I know call me crazy.

17. Be a Fashion Victim – Now I am the master of unfashionable, what’s wrong with slippers? But fashion victim is all about being too fashionable and that has never happened, and has no danger of happening now I’ve caught myself looking at clothes in shops and going “it’s nice, but it’s just not practical”. Depressing isn’t it.


19. Get Married – Seriously? You’re even asking?

20. Take it to the Extreme – Take up some kind of extreme sport. Problem with being me is that I have an acute fear of everything (see last month’s blog about the London Riots), which makes crossing the road away from a designated crossing an extreme sport. The thought of bungee jumping off a mountain, is about as appealing as becoming Ann Widdicombe’s sexual partner, and no she is certainly not going to be involved in item #10.

21. Write A Book – Who on earth would publish what I’ve written? Few enough read what I’ve written. It’s only due to the true marvel of the internet than anyone can write any old tosh online, that I get away with any writing at all.

22. Know Who Your Friends Are – This is a hard one to tick off, it’s all about finding your true friends. But friendship is ever evolving, in my case my current acquaintances are gradually working out what I’m really like so I having to trick new people into liking me without realising what I’m really like at the same rate to maintain the status quo.

23. Learn to Cook – Ok so I can do this one. But it doesn’t really feel like the coolest thing on the list. When you’re weighing up whipping up a cottage pie against having a threesome, I can’t help but feel that I’ve fallen in the tragic group…, again.

24. Learn a Language – My bumbling attempts at French and Latin (yes I had to learn Latin at school), probably don’t count. I can ask “where is the cat?” in French, over the years I can’t honestly say this has proved that useful.

25. Make a Million Pounds – Wwhilst arguably more obtainable for me than item #19, I can safely say I have not achieved this. If I had, do you think my blog would be this miserable?

26. Find Yourself – I’m desperately trying not to find myself, all the evidence seems to suggest I’d hate myself if I did, so best keep to avoiding myself at all costs.

27. Have a Summer of Love – There’s an uncomfortable theme running through some of these entries, and one I’m not enjoying. The closest I’ve come is a Summer of Chicken Pox, on the plus side it’s less vomit worthy than a Summer of Love.

28. Get a Second Life – Basically find a hobby to occupy yourself with. You know for all the time you’ve got when you’re not making friends, whipping up a meringue, spending your millions, applying sunscreen, moving out of home and f**king two or more people at once, preferably during the summer. Funnily enough given all that, I have found time for a hobby, fortunately the Evening Standard hasn’t dictated any standards for “coolness” of this hobby else I’d lose out again.

29. Sleep When You’re Dead – All about partying through the night and not worrying about sleep because it’s cool. This is a lie, perpetrated by young people, sleeping is fun, and if starts at 10pm after a cup of Ovaltine all the better.

30. Start Your Own Business – No, just no. I’ve watching Dragon’s Den, all the people who’ve started their own businesses, come in begging for money looking like they last slept around the time Eldorado was on the telly.

So out of those 30 things I have to have achieved, by the end of the next seven months, to be considered a person worthy of the flesh I was born in, how many I have achieved? Six (items #3, #6, #7, #9, #23 & #28). Six!!! Just six! And one of those was not to have a baby. In other words I’m 80% failure. Terrific. Thanks Evening Standard, and they wonder why people throw themselves under trains on the way home.

Personally I think the list is flawed, because most of the things on it I don’t want to do. And any sane person wouldn’t want to do either. So instead I present my alternate 30 things to do before you turn 30, except there’s only 15 because 30’s a lot to get round to. Who has the time? So here are 15 exciting, wacky things that you’d actually want to do:

1. Tell all your younger friends, that like to buy you birthday cards joking about how old you are, to F**K OFF AND DIE! – Trust me you’ll be grateful they’re not your friends and no longer sending those cards on your 30th.

2. Have a Onesome – Go to bed on your own, for a change (if you’re luckier than me). Less likely to need to change the sheets, and no one to steal the duvet off you. Bliss.

3. Go and buy a new bin for the bathroom – I only put this, because I did it yesterday. Easy to tick off.

4. Go to McDonalds and don’t order Fries – Sometimes you’ve got to let your hair down and do something crazy, like not ordering fries at McDonalds no one does that. Top tip go at breakfast, they don’t even serve them then.

5. Leave a party early to get the penultimate Tube – This way you can party and get to sleep in your own bed at a not unreasonable time. And the penultimate tube is a bit less drunk filled than the final one.

6. Eat an entire Double Chocolate Cheesecake on your own, because you have no one to share it with – meals for one, always represent worse value than shopping for two, so get your own back by eating the whole cheesecake. It may not work mathematically but you’ll feel better for it.

7. Stalk an ex/“never was” through social media (or even in real life) – Go on you know there’s someone who either dumped you, spurned you or was rude enough to already be in a couple when you wanted them. Stalk their every move, sift through all their photos (or their bins), and imagine your happy life together that will never happen ever. It’ll help you move on, honest.

8. Go into a toy shop, even though you have no kids to buy toys for – This doesn’t count if you’re under 12. Just go and look at all the toys you’d have bought as a kid, it’s fun!

9. Spend an entire day at home in your pyjamas – Sod what your flat mates/relatives think, relax a little and enjoy being casual, even if you really do start to smell at 3pm.

10. Attempt to get two Weetabix from the packet into the bowl, without dropping a single crumb – Harder to do than it sounds this one, but it’s a challenge and the rush of excitement when you do it is better than that provided by any hard core drug… probably.

11. Delete someone off Facebook you don’t really like – Sod friend numbers, it’s the quality that counts (though I’ve found if you have less than two friends people start to judge) get rid of the annoying tit. Oh that’s me you’ve deleted, didn’t think this one through.

12. Run up a flight of stairs on all fours – Surprisingly liberating this one, though best do it at home - might annoy people on the Piccadilly line otherwise.

13. Eat a chocolate from your Advent Calendar on the day before you’re supposed to – Bit of a naughty one here, but if you can’t break the rules before you’re thirty when can you?

14. Go Commando! – Just for fun, one day, when you’re at home, probably in your pyjamas because it would be weird if it was proper “going out” clothes.

15. Leave a comment on my blog – Only the coolest of the cool would do this before they hit thirty. So here’s your chance to be a trend setter, do it now.

There, and as luck would have it I’ve done all 15 - I’m a success. And don’t worry if you haven’t yet, because you’ll have a lot more fun doing it than the 30 listed in the Evening Standard.

Oh and before I go, for those of you wondering how the wedding I went to last week turned out. Well you’ll be pleased to know, as expected, I got on well with the pot plant:

In fact it was a great joke teller:

That was of course until it wandered off in shame leaving me all alone at the edge of the dance floor, still social interaction can’t all be fun now can it?