Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You Can Shoot Me In The Face If I Ever Become...

Ever hear the phrase "If I do (something), I want you to shoot me"?

Well, when I say it, I mean it.

There are certain actions, characteristics and attitudes that I have come to deplore as age and cynicism wage war on my once youthful carelessness.

And yet, being a writer and thus being cursed to seek reason and logic behind every idiosyncrasy that crosses my attention span, I can semi-understand why a lot of these exist. Even worse, I fear that one day I may become one of these people. Worse still, what if I already am one? What if, unbeknownst to me, I've become that which I simultaneously loathe and am just a walking jar of thoughts, emotions, dreams and damn, dirty hypocrisy? A blind spot is such because we are the only ones who can't see it, and all that.

Being a writer also turns you into a self-loathing bastard, by the by.

You can do what you want, for the record. This isn't a list of things that I'm suggesting nobody should want to be. I'd personally choose the option of being shot in the face above any of the below, but if you're one of the below then good luck to you. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm usually not though.*

1. A musical snob

Perhaps my main pet peeve: those who try and win the "I'm better than you" contest going on nowhere else but their own, damaged mind by using the sounds that they put into their ears as a fitting judge. Those who are so devoid of anything else to identify themselves by that they use something created by someone else, someone they've never met who sees them as a dollar sign and nothing more, to symbolise that they are somehow more refined than others. Fuck the fuck off.

I'll let Dara O'Briain sum it up better than I can:

2. A DJ who 'changes the world'

Ugh. I remember seeing one Irish DJ implying that he had to travel around in a helicopter to 'bring the party' to so many different places. He'd probably defend himself by saying that he was joking, but it wasn't funny. There was no punchline. So I think he genuinely hoped that people would believe him, but said it in such a way that he could play the "Relax man, I'm having a laugh" card if he was called out on being a self-important dick. We're some blokes who play other people's music so that drunk/drugged up punters have something to move in rhythm to while trying to get their hole. It's a skill, it's tremendously fun/addictive, and when you do it well there's very little else in the world that feels better than it. But it's a job: let's not pretend we're doing anything more important than a friendly waitress does serving people in a local restaurant.

3. A pretentious tree-hugger

I have no problem with charity, let me clarify that. Some of the work that goes into helping others less fortunate than us in the world is phenomenal and I hope the heroes that do it have blowjobs and/or chocolate fountains on tap for their efforts. I try and contribute where I can but always feel there is more than I can do. I hope one day that I can say that I've done as much as one person can. All of this needs to be said before adding one big HOWEVER to this dynamic...

...those who use charity for either personal gain, to give them social/political status or to simply fight off feelings of guilt, from days spent otherwise being an absolute wanker, are so irritating that it almost cancels out any acts of goodwill on their part. The Kony 2012 campaign has since been outed as a money-grabbing, plea for attention based on outdated ideas by the Invisible Children group. Similarly, the smugness this campaign brought with it from people who previously weren't arsed to open up a newspaper often enough to educate themselves to realise that this campaign had warning signs from the first minute of its viral video, was sickening.

If you genuinely want to get involved in charity work, good on you, you're a hero among men. If you don't but want to irritate me on your quest to prove to yourself you're a good person who really cares about these issues (screaming it from building tops so the shouts silence the voices in your head, reminding you that you really don't), then you can quickly remove yourself from my attention span before I punch you.

4. Bono

The prime example of this. A renowned tax dodger, perhaps the most egotistical and pretentious of them all, jumping on any cause because it's a good excuse for him to hear his own voice. For decades now, we have been forced to hear this millionaire tell us why we should donate our earnings to his causes, whereas I wonder if the earnings from 'Joshua Tree' went towards Amnesty International or shutting down Dublin City so he could apologise to his wife for being an idiot, then release the end result for further profit. He jumped on the Kony 2012 bandwagon before it had even left the station. Despite his numerous visits to the White House lecturing US Presidents on what charities they should support, he failed to spot the warning signs that a young, educated 24-year old could. Because Bono's 'work' is not concerned with such warning signs. Bono really doesn't care if this is all just an elaborate ruse to line the pockets of Jason Russell and co. Bono cares about being able to sleep at night...because Bono must be having difficulty when the back of his mind keeps telling him that he cares more about ensuring that other people don't get their hands on his money, than actually putting it towards the causes he fronts so ferociously. He remains loud but unaccountable, acutely aware that charity reaps its financial rewards when you do it right.

5. Someone who thinks it's 'cool' to be dumb

"I tink u r a fuckn cnt if u tink txtspk is gud, k?" Now that smartphones don't have a 140-character limit on text messages, there's really no need for it. So you using it is just a handy reminder to the world that my 10-year old sister has better spelling and reading comprehension than you, and you aren't arsed learning how to change that. That's fine. I'm not going to look down my nose than you. But don't expect me to take you seriously if you try and discuss a serious issue with me. You're telling the world with your inability to spell that you don't care to educate yourself. You're effectively giving yourself a Dunce Hat in doing so and trying to play it off as fashionable. Don't blame me because you believed everyone else in school when they said they were too 'schmad' to study. Want to be considered intelligent? Hint: don't write a comment on this using loads of big, mutli-syllabled words...that's been done so much that everyone just thinks "Aww look, dumb kid is pretending to be smart!" Open a book, right the wrongs and become intelligent. It's useful in the real world. Your friends are just being spiteful if they call successful people 'posh' or 'know-it-alls' down the pub.

6. A Pedant

On the other hand, there are times when people just make basic spelling or grammatical errors. I mean, while I would encourage people to educate themselves, you can't expect absolute perfection from everyone. And I'd sooner be someone with an IQ of 70 aiming upwards than someone with an IQ of 140 looking downwards. If we were to all achieve perfection, after all, what else would there be to live for? So, to me, if you consider yourself perfect then you may as well be dead. Pedants seem to be under the delusion that, in a conversation whereupon a disagreement occurs and both have valid arguments, then the notion that one person fails to spell a word correctly within it makes them somehow 'right'. And the only thing worse than a smug arsehole is a deluded smug arsehole. Like musical snobbery, it's another manifestation of people's need to prove they are 'better' than others by using ridiculous fallacies as judgement. These are the type of people you'd play 1-on-1 football with as a kid and they'd give themselves tiny goals with their jumpers while giving you huge goals. Then they'd try and brag about beating you as if that proved anything. So I just do now what I did back then...and beat them with a stick until they shut up.

7. A pointless bullshitter

There are times when I can see bullshitting as a useful tool, even if I don't agree with them: such as when you're telling white lies while trying to sell something for monetary gain, or if you're trying to impress a member of the opposite sex for sexual gain.

But what does a heterosexual guy gain if I am polite and don't point out his gaping plotholes as he informs me about how he fought off a blood-thirsty gang of Yakuzas with only a pencil, packet of Wrigley's chewing gum and his ninja-like instincts at his disposal? If I "ooh" and "aww" at the right times, will it result in him finally being able to look in the mirror without crying like a girl at the let-down he is to his parents?

8. If I ever become well-known and call myself 'famous'

The word 'famous' is another strange manifestation of people's collective inferiority complex. In simpler times, it was generally applied to those who had some kind of an extraordinary talent and were worthy of praise. Then Katie Price refused to go away and changed all of that. So now it seems to just mean "is known by a lot of people." Technically, from that standpoint, Nikita from Tallafornia and Josef Fritzl are both famous. But yet, so-called 'celebrities' (especially reality TV stars) seem to revel in referring to themselves as such as if it's some kind of accomplishment they've spent their entire lives working towards (though Josef Fritzl would still count under that qualification, to be fair).

Well, in this Internet age when you can be made 'famous' for having funny hair or there are viral campaigns to make rapist, child-soldier employing warlords 'famous'...should I ever do something that people consider worthy of high praise, you can count me out of using any adjectives that make me in any way comparable to Nikita.

9. Someone who doesn't reply to tweets etc

On a similar note, here's a trade secret. You know celebrities? You know how you tweet them and they don't reply because they're too busy what will all that famous work that people with funny hair have to do? Yeah, they're reading your tweets. Like writers, almost every 'celeb' is self-loathing, and if they're on Twitter that confirms it. Realising in the quieter moments of their fame that they are, in fact, no better than you or I, they wait for the day they get 'caught' and it all goes downhill. When they are thrust back into working in the office job filing papers for some shite they couldn't care about. Meanwhile a balding, beer-bellied dickhead of a boss screams at them, not realising that they sang the epic hit 'The Car That Went Too Far' that changed lives and inspired a generation of impressionable teenagers across the globe.

So they live in fear of this, petrified the truth will emerge but simultaneously not willing to relinquish the healthy paycheque by 'fessing up that they are, in fact, mere average Joes. So they create an 'image', a facade, a mask to hide behind that they think will convince the world that they are in fact special (see one Lady Gaga for further proof). Irreplaceable. And they live in fear of being exposed, compulsively reading each tweet to see they are still in our good graces, still 'likeable'. Note how quickly they'll fire back to any 'haters' or rumours in the papers. Often you'll read them replying to a story before you were even aware of it. Yet they don't have the time to say thanks to you for your kind, if a little stalkerish, tweet telling them they are your world. Strange that. They get paid the big bucks to be complicit in this life of endless bullshit, not because of their ability.

10. A cyber bully

As sad/mildly amusing as it is to see someone get deservedly exposed and humiliated by a sector of the Internet, what you don't see behind it is the lack of identity of those exposing them. I know I had a go at pointless bullshitters above, and I stand by it fully, but at the same time the punishment should fit the crime and some slight (or even great) exaggerations being exposed does not entitle that person to have their dignity removed. Do what my friends and I do: just wait until they're gone, point out the holes in their story and snigger at them a bit for being dicks.

But what cases like this almost always reveal is the sad underbelly of cyber-bullying: that there are just people so miserable in their own lives that they are almost prowling in wait for someone to degrade. In the 'real world', a lot of these cyber bullying campaigns would be the equivalent to punishing someone for having a loud, annoying voice by gang-raping them. The punishment and lack of remorse in administering it often reveals a lot more about the perpetrators than it does the initial wrong-doers. Feel free to watch this clip from Panorama's documentary on cyber bullies to get a look at the faces behind some of these 'trolls' and how little right they have to judge anybody:

11. A person who defines themselves by their children

Nothing wrong with a proud parent. In fact, there's either something seriously wrong, with a parent or their child, if they're not at least a little bit proud of their offspring in some way. But for christ's sake have a personality/life of your own too, or at least don't inhibit mine by making every word I say to you about your stupid, not-that-cute-anyway kid!

The worst phrase I think I've ever heard is "I always wanted to be a singer/dancer/Garda/footballer/solicitor/whatever, but then I realised that all I really wanted was to be a good parent." I think that's supposed to elicit an "aww..." response. But I usually end up saying, "Yeah because nobody in the history of the world has ever been able to dance after they've had a baby." It's such a muck excuse that essentially translates into, "Having a baby gave me an excellent excuse to be lazy but still engage in my hobby of telling others how they should run their lives anyway."

12. The guy who makes sad self-depreciating jokes, because they're true

You know the kind. You're out with your mate who has INSANELY ginger hair, and freckles to complete the ensemble. He's not even that horrible looking, like you wouldn't look at him and have to ponder what species he is, he just seems determined to make his life worse by dressing like the stereotypical ginger, freckled kid and adopting that defeatist attitude that just kills any conversation stone dead. What's worse is when they try and draw attention away from people noticing it...by mentioning it in a joking manner that only depresses everyone further. For example, you say something simple like:

"Hey what was the craic with you and that girl in the club there? Seemed to be getting on well!"
"Oh, her? Yeah she was just giving me a sympathy conversation, I think. You know us gingers: if you're not pretty, you get all the pity!"

It's not even funny. It's just sad. And you can't even pity laugh because that'd sound like you agreed with it. So you just have to sit there, for a moment, and share his misery.

13. The man they lost to love...

You can usually spot these guys in the group, while you still remember what they look like, because they're the ones who go out of their way to tell you how they always pick 'Bros before hos' and they hate arseholes who ditch their friends for a girl.

Which is a fine, admirable quality and everything. Except you weren't talking about ditching friends for women. You were talking about football.

Enjoy these moments with your friends, because as soon as they find a remotely attractive girl willing to spend time with them, you'll never see them again. Until that ends and they come back, tail between legs, and say they'll never make the same mistake again. Until they make the same mistake again.

And as these friendships grow, intermittently, you'll notice how the girls seem to always leave because the guys give off a 'needy' vibe. Strange that, since they're the one's who are adamant that their all about the broski's, forget about the hoski's.

14. Old, naked gym guy

'Nuff said. This will, and should never be, considered normal behaviour. Not because of any feelings of homophobia, just because you should never be willing to expose yourself to an entire dressing room of strangers who didn't particularly want to see you naked.

15. Young, cocky gym guy

I'll quote my previous blog 'A 10-Step Guide To Being A Better Facebook Creep' to sum up my thoughts here:

The one’s I’m referring to here are the guys who possess perfect 6-packs and post pictures of themselves in the mirror while stood in their bathroom. Did you ever notice how the toilet seat is always up in the background? That’s because God is vomiting behind them. You may wish you could super-impose this guy’s abs onto your current boyfriend, but if those abs could talk they would have a voice like ET’s and be saying “No, Nigel, she won’t mind if you try a golden shower on the first date. Now oil me and wash the shame off once and for all…”

16. The 50-year old DJ

I've no problem with these guys. Good luck to them if they're happy. But I'm 24, and already a lot of today's newer stuff is absolute shite to me. From Justin Bieber's 'so manufactured they made it in Taiwan' sound to Skrillex's 'I can't believe it's not the sound of classic vinyl records being grated like cheese' tracks. I'm sure people thought the same about the stuff that makes me go "Now THAT'S music". As I've already stated, I loathe musical snobbery, so if people like this stuff then good luck to them. And I can find the odd track by either that doesn't annoy me enough that I can bare to play it if I really, really have to.

But I dread the thought of 26 years going by and me being further out-of-date with the charts' finest, being forced to endure it nightly in an effort to pay off a hefty mortgage. It's why I never want to become a full-time DJ/musician: I want there to be a point in my life where I sit back and say "Fuck it, let's just listen to some AC/DC!"

17. If I'm ever 'ashamed to be from...'

I'm from Blanchardstown, Dublin. If you were to ask someone who has heard of the area their thoughts on it, they'd likely say 'shootings' or 'drug gangs'. Not once has this caused me to be ashamed of where I'm from, nor does it make me proud. I suppose I'm proud to be Irish...we're a country with a wit and charisma about us that the rest of the world appears to be admire. But we're also fucking idiots in a lot of ways too (several of the above rants will be like foreign languages to many non-Irish, for example, but Irish people will know exactly what I mean). It doesn't make me funnier because I came out of the womb in the Rotunda hospital, nor does it mean that any alcohol-related issues I may have had are my country's fault. I'm an individual, capable of rational thought of my own, who lives in Ireland. So none of Ireland's flaws or successes are directly attributable to me alone. Therefore, I shouldn't have cause to feel any particular pride or shame based on the place I was born.

Yet every day on Joe Duffy's 'Liveline', you get to hear a litany of people absolutely incensed by the behaviour of one or two people in their community that you would think makes them unable to open the curtains what with all the shame coursing through their veins. Last week, it was Deirdre from Ballyfermot who was ashamed of her hometown after the local Supervalu featured one young resident shopping in it while wearing pyjamas...on the telly no less! Joe, a proud Ballyer native himself, for once decided to challenge his plaintiff asking why exactly this caused her great shame. She answered that she didn't want everyone she knew thinking that everyone in Ballyfermot, and by extension her, wore pyjamas while doing their shopping.

No Deirdre, they didn't actually think that about you based on two 14-year old's doing so. Now they just think you (and by that I mean you, specifically, not anyone else in Ballyfermot) are a bit of an eejit who needs to get out more for having to call the radio to clarify said problem. Let me tell you, I was ashamed to be considered a Liveline listener after hearing it. I would attempt to clarify that not all Liveline listeners think along the same lines as Deirdre but, unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

18. If I ever use the phrase 'life experience'

You know that part of a disagreement with someone older than you, a parent or elder relation perhaps, and they have no actual basis for their argument left? That's when you'll hear this. In their mind, 'life experience' transcends into some kind of inexplicable, Yoda-like wisdom that means you can never, ever disagree with them again. In the real world, it means that they're generally unable to admit when they're wrong.

The worst part about it is that I guarantee that all readers older than a certain age will see this and just assume that the person with the 'life experience' is correct. I remember I once had someone try and advise me regarding the direction of my then-radio show, using their 'life experience' as a key. I politely asked them if they could detail their actual 'radio experience' for me to consider, please. Unsurprisingly, they had none. One of the downsides of acquiring access to this 'life experience' fountain of knowledge appears to be that you also become a know-all twat who gives bad, unqualified advice as a result.

19. That Drunk Guy
This one:

Handy hint on how to spot these people: they're the type who tell you how 'mad' their nights out always are. Because they know you'll think it's not that 'mad' otherwise. And they're also the same people who say "Aw it was so funny..." before they tell you a story. Because they know you'll think it's not really that funny.

20. My Tattoo? Oh, it's Chinese for wanker...

They LOVE tattoos and "totally" think you should get one! But you have to make sure it means something to you. After all, that's what their parents drilled into them when they were a kid. So when they got a tattoo, they made sure it was the one thing that meant more than anything else to them in the world. Was it...a picture of their child's face? A vow made to them by their one true love? The best piece of advice their grandmother bestowed upon them before she unfortunately passed?

No, silly, it's the Chinese word for 'fire'. Cus, y'know, they're all fiery and stuff.

I don't mind tattoos at all, they often look really good. But you know how you're always warned that you'll regret them one day by the 'crazy' uncle in your family who got three when he was younger? Yeah that's because said crazy uncle had the imagination of a teaspoon and got some crappy barbed wire design on his arm so he could look bad ass in front of your auntie, who now wears cardigans. What does the barbed wire even represent? Thou shalt not trespass...onto my bicep! Get a tattoo that means something to you by all means. Just don't get advice beforehand off someone who clearly couldn't practise their own preachings.

And, with that, I assume that I've offended just about every single one of you! Oh well.

*There. That should pre-empt the moany cunts who read something a bit close to home and say "Why don't you take a long look in the mirror??" Why don't you read someone else's blog instead, dickhead...

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