Thursday, 2 August 2018

What if I'm never ready for the next National Crisis? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I'm never ready for the next National Crisis?

I spend way too long thinking about stockpiling.
In case there is ever a National Crisis.

I don’t think I am the only man who does.

But I don’t know for sure, because men never ever talk to each other about the things we secretly store.
Because that ruins our competitive advantage.

There might possibly be a National Crisis coming up.
And I don’t think I’ve got my family ready for it yet.

As a Dad - this is literally my one biological job.
To get food and supplies so that my generation of DNA can survive and succeed long enough to get into the next generation.

But my National Emergency stockpile at the moment is 2 big bottles of water, and 6 tins of paint.

I admit it.
My contingency planning is swayed somewhat by "Buy One Get One Free".

In my defence, it’s emulsion.
So at least I can thin the paint out to make it go a bit further.

I’ve got a problem with the food though.
Because my family keeps eating my stockpile.

Which is exactly what it's there for.
But there's no National Crisis yet.

Also as a committed snowflake, I am really picky.
So the panic buying is taking a lot longer than I’d planned.

We all know the next National Crisis will be the worst we've ever seen.
Will we run out of coconut oil? Leads for the video? Printer toner?
My family will be so grateful that I’ve got those covered when we hit Day 41.

And it's great that we never know how long a National Crisis will last.
It'll be like a National Holiday.
The supermarkets will find a way to cash in.
With empty shelves in the "seasonal" aisle.

I'm gonna get my panic-buying home delivered.
I think it'll still get packed into the crates.
But arrive mainly through our windows.

I need to buy a lot of food that's processed and will last forever.
Basically it'll be like eating in the cinema for a month.
Or 1500 trailers.

My family will also have to rely on me growing all our own food.
Which at the moment is essentially blue mould in the bread bin.

The predictions are that fresh supplies will be blocked in Calais.
My plan is to take a really long day trip there and take a really long time coming back.

My Long-Suffering Wife thinks that’s a stupid idea.
But she’s looking forward to the shortages, because finally we'll stop making a mess in the kitchen.

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What if the bucket man on my doorstep is a burglar? #WeAreTheProblems

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

What if the bucket man on my doorstep is a burglar? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if the bucket man on my doorstep is a burglar?

On Saturday we had a weird knock on the door.

All knocks on our door are suspicious.

I can't face my house most days - why would anyone else want to be there?

But this bloke in shorts, with bucket and carwash gear says:
"Hello I'm Gary. I'm your neighbour from number 23 and I'm mentally disabled.
They've cut my benefits and I'm raising money by washing cars."

I feel bad about his benefits.
I don’t know why they’re cutting them.
They all seem to get spent.
Isn’t that good for the economy?

But I've no idea why he’s picked our drive.
Our car's so clean it looks like the kids eat their dinners off it.
And then go to the toilet on there too.

Plus car dirt's carcinogenic.
He's mentally disabled now, but if he cleans my heap he'll end up with cancer on top.

Anyway he carried on talking and rambling about stuff that didn't really make any sense.

He wanted money, and I want money too.

We spent all ours on this car, so of course we'd want to protect our investment.
By letting some random self-diagnosed mentally ill guy all over it.

Maybe he thought the time it took to answer the door means I'm cash-rich and time-poor.
I should've pretended that I was The Staff.
Like in Downton Abbey.

But the kids are playing up.
This is the worst time to be dealing with this.
I need mentally unbalanced people offering me childcare.
Not cleaning services.

Stupid Universe not delivering yet again.

But there was something about his story that wasn't adding up.

I said, so you’re at number 23?
"Er... yes, urm Cheltenham Street, it’s a few streets away."

I closed the door and returned to my kids meltdown.

Then I had a meltdown - there is no Cheltenham Street in our town.
There's a street that sounds a bit like that but it's over a half hour walk away.

You’d have to have a mental problem to walk that with a bucket and car wash gear.

And then it hit me: either I’m a terrible person for questioning this...
or this is a plan to burgle us that's absolutely brilliant.

Wouldn’t it be perfect cover - to make you feel bad.

Plus any inconsistencies can just be put down to the mental disability.

Because like the Government, we all love making the disabled answer painfully personal questions.
“Like are you a bit, you know, “Uhh-uhhhhhhh”?
Or is it random and violent?”
“Does asking questions set you off?”

Who knows... maybe his condition means he’d overdo the work.
Maybe I’d come out ahead on this.

But if not - if he is a burglar - this is pure genius.

Either I give him cash on the doorstep...
Or walk him through the house, past all the crucial entry points and confirm where all the keys go.

We're on a meter, he even gets to nick our water.

It’s like the Thomas Crown Affair.
Or Oceans Eleven. With a bucket.

Anyway turns out he does come from a long way away, but he’s a drug addict.

He's not mentally disabled.
He's a local celebrity - infamous on the other side of town.

Maybe he’s looking for fresh cash.
He's a sponge. With a sponge.

But I'm a tightwad.
And my benefits are noisy kids and a filthy car.

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What if the problem is I am a straight white man? #WeAreTheProblems

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Friday, 13 July 2018

What if the problem is I am a straight white man? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if the problem is I am a straight white man?

I got screamed at by a comedian on a Netflix special for being a straight white man.

About how I was ruining her life and the world and everybody on every single level possible.

Which I thought was pretty impressive, given that I'm just parked on my bum, binge-watching a chromecast.

But she's right.
And it's great that my rule of terror is finally over, because I've got a daughter.

And there's no way I want her anywhere near any planet that I've had any part in creating.

But now - as a breeder - looking back, I can't help thinking...
Did I just completely waste my straight white man privilege?

All that extra money I got, I spent on struggling to trick women into breeding with me.

At best trying to impress, but mostly just absolute out-and-out downright utter deception.

And then when I did finally get to procreate, I blew it all on overpriced shoes and piling their bedrooms with plastic.

It's a bitter pill, but maybe... honky baby makers didn't make the best of it.

On the upside, I know my daughter's gonna make us proud.

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What if I want a cheap ticket but the ticket office is shut? #WeAreTheProblems

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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

What if I want a cheap ticket but the ticket office is shut? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I want a cheap ticket but the ticket office is shut?

I needed a Network Railcard so I could get a cheap ticket because I'm cheap.

It's 0820, I need to travel at 1018 and the ticket office is shut.

For the day.

And so begins getting drawn in to arguing the toss and evidence gathering for how this system is skewed against us towards profit for the train company shareholders, and I don't want to get drawn in.

I'm meant to be doing my work.

And then I think they want us to not want to be drawn in, so they can keep the extra money as profit for the train company shareholders.

But I don't want to pay the extra fare when I can get the cheaper ticket, if the ticket office were open.

(** The dull ins and outs are that I have to travel full fare and then go through a claim process to argue the toss to "maybe" get the extra refunded. There's no guarantee for this and why should I do that just because they can't do their work properly. But their work is delivering profits to shareholders, so maybe they're doing their job brilliantly.)

Then I remembered the work I'm avoiding is turning all this into stories.

So instead I lived a little dangerously and tried turning it into a little picture story.

Part 1
Please help!

Part 2
Oh Go On... I'm good for it...

Part 3
I'll do it my way

Part 4
I'm out of my depth

Part 5
I've got a plan...

Part 6

(*** even longer and duller, deep breath, you can also get a Digital Network Railcard, but this involves having your phone that works with a signal and uploading a photo - ticket office railcards don't need photos - and when you do buy it you have to choose whether its digital on an app or a hard copy, you can't change this option after purchase and there are no refunds so if like me you rely on railcard fares because part-time commuting is hugely expensive because rail is run for shareholder profit and if your phone is dead or the signal is down or the app isnt working you are not allowed to travel on railcard rates or claim for the excess afterwards. I know it's pedantic but its not right you're committed to a digital railcard for the year instead of the hard copy ticket that you should be able to buy in a station on day of purchase. And why can't you get a hard copy in the post and the digital version for your £30, they both have your uploaded photo on them it's not like my face can be in two places at once unless it's to crack down on the widespread railcard misuse by twins which is plaguing the rail industry.)

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What if I have no idea why I hate the grill so much? #WeAreTheProblems

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Friday, 29 June 2018

What if I have no idea why I hate the grill so much? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I have no idea why I hate the grill so much?

I have spent 3 straight weeks thinking about this.

The people I could have seen... the things I could have done...
But no, I spent 21 days, thinking about how much I hate the kitchen oven grill.

I will never ever use my grill or anyone else’s.
Even if it’s a brand new one and has a tray that fits.
Which it won’t.

And I don’t know where this level of sheer umbrage has come from.

Humans used to either cook stuff inside an oven or, on top of a hob.

When did that change?
Why was this never enough?
In the oven or on the hob.

What made us want to suddenly start cooking stuff under the heat?

Can you imagine explaining that to a caveman.
(Can you still call them cavemen? Doesn't feel very Woke.)

Even I know that heat rises.
So how come the grill's the fastest way to burn stuff?

Nobody asked for it.
It’s only good for melting stuff.
Cheese on toast and tray handles.
Each and every one of them.

I’m with the drip tray, the microwave and the smoke alarm.
Nobody likes the oven grill.

And now, I don't know what I'm going to do with all this time that I've saved.

Yet another reason to hate the grill.
I'll stop.

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What if we're the baddies? #WeAreTheProblems

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

What if we're the baddies? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if it takes me 10 minutes to work out that we are the baddies?

My kids came home from school and they were absolutely buzzing about Gandhi.

They want to know everything about this amazing hero from India.

And I’m delighted.
Finally, they’re into something where I don’t have to buy more expensive crap.

Optimus Prime and Lego Friends Andrea?
Get out and don’t come back.

Mahatma’s in da house.

And we’re looking up all the videos and movies and cartoons - there are Gandhi cartoons.

When you’ve got one billion people in your country, they’ve got you covered on every level of culture.

And what a brilliant story.

This man’s just in robes, and wears glasses.
And he's a baldy like me!

Using peaceful protest and passive resistance to kick out the army of baddies that shouldn’t’ve been there in the first place and...

It took me ten minutes to work out that we were the baddies.

“Daddy? Why are we running their country?”

When I was growing up, it was all British Airways adverts and Rule Britannia Last night of the Proms...

“Daddy, why were we taking all their stuff away?”

I had a “BRITAIN IS GREAT!” Union Jack top and we had parties in the streets - painting pavements and lampposts - we turned Central London into an actual Union Jack..

“Daddy, why wouldn’t we let Indian people use their own salt?”

And I’m reaching now.
Grabbing at anything so the British Empire doesn’t come off as a total knob.

“Well kids, we uh... did it for the money...
And money’s good, right? And we got all the railways and the big famous stone buildings, and er...”

“Slaves, Daddy. Did we have slaves?”

“Oh, boy. Yes. We, we did slaves. We did slaves real good... But here’s the thing.

Germany came along and did things much worse than crushing a billion people.
And they didn’t even do it for the cash.
And they bombed everything - the big stone buildings and the railways and...

And India worked out great.
They invented Bollywood and call centres so Daddy can yell at the bank down the phone... we practically work for them now.

“So Daddy, what you’re saying is because of the Germans, we completely got away with treating that many people so badly.”

Well, no. Not exactly.
Because I’ve got to explain it to you now, and you’ll have to explain it to your kids, and then their kids will have to explain it too.”

Then the kids are all like where's Optimus Prime and Lego Friends Andrea?

And I know that glasses and robes and a bald head aren't gonna get me out of this one.

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What if I need to treat my T-shirts better? #WeAreTheProblems

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Monday, 11 June 2018

What if I need to treat my T-shirts better? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I need to treat my T-shirts better?

The T-shirt went for “shirt” status and I admire that.
It could have gone for “vest” but it reached for the stars.
And got my armpits.

And then T-shirt went for a hyphen.
Because apostrophe would be pretentious.

T-shirt and jeans is the uniform of my mid-life crisis.

Looking down, midriff crisis.

I am exactly the right age to pull off a T-shirt.
By pull off I mean wear and under no circumstances remove in public.

Bare chests are for youth.

My chest is improved by oblique pictures and/or big numbers.

I buy them from the finest fashion shops:
Anywhere with the words discount and outlet.

They’re called outlets because that’s the closest word to “waste products” and “rage”.
Which also explains my T-shirts' smell.

I can’t help feeling the 5 labels of care advice is... ambitious.

But the tags help me learn all the poorer parts of SE Asia.

The reason I am sharing all of this is that today I have to let one go.

It’s 40% cotton.

It was 100% but now it’s more holes than cotton.

I don’t know why I find it so hard to let my T-shirts go...
...from that special storage place that just happens to be the same distance I can hurl it from the bed.

When they’re in service, I don’t treat them very well.

I love them because they soak up everything.

This one’s got so much of my DNA, I’m surprised it didn’t just write this by itself.

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What if my eyebrows are too long for this world? #WeAreTheProblems

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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

What if my eyebrows are too long for this world? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if my eyebrows are too long for this world?

I got my 9 year old son to pull out my eyebrows, and I really regret it.
Because now I miss them terribly.

I liked brushing them up the wrong way.
Like I used to gel my hair in the 1980s.

I don’t know why straight men are so bad at grooming.
But I do know that’s why we gave it the worst possible word.

And the worst place to do the grooming (ugh, that word...) is the bathroom.

Breeders like me know from birth that this is not a place for us.
It’s where we’re at our most vulnerable.

Have you seen how straight guys treat bathrooms?
The very last thing on our minds is tinkering with our appearance.

I went to my young son for help.
Turns out he had no problem whatsoever with ripping out hair from around my eye sockets.

And I’m glad he did, because it’s the perfect male bonding exercise.
Plus when I’m yelping in pain to my wife, man does she go on about childbirth.

So I’ve got my 9 year old plucking my eyebrows with tweezers.
He’s going at it like some broken game of Operation: one body part and 100 times the noise.

He went for the longest strand first.
“It’s like prison”, he told me, “You’ve got to take the biggest one out first as a sign to the others”.

And he didn’t stop.
Mainly so he could learn the more swearing.

I’m not so sure about it though.
Removing eyebrows is to make you look younger.
To look less experienced in the world.
So you don’t come off as a threat.

Which is kind of sneaky.
It’s like having a nose job before having kids.
And the baby comes out with an unexpected face.

And eyebrows are there for communication.
This is why women pluck theirs more than us.
They’re much better at picking up on the signals.

I need all the help I can get.
Mine had grown to the length of CAPS LOCK.

One day my eyebrows will reunite with my nose hair.
Then my kid won’t know where to start.

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What if I can't even get healthy eating right? #WeAreTheProblem

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

What if I can't even get healthy eating right? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I even get healthy eating wrong?

I drink a smoothie full of kale from the Nutribullet every day.
I just found out raw kale has a chemical that blocks iodine and effectively shuts down your thyroid.

I can't even get Healthy Eating right.
I love the phrase "Healthy Eating".
It shows we managed to screw up even the one thing that keeps us alive.

But I'll keep trying.
I've got a family medical history that makes The World At War look cheery.
And is about the same length.
Filling in insurance forms makes me sick.
But there's no room left to put that in the box too.

I'm not big but when I measure the kids' heights on the wall, they're now tall enough to mark the width of my belly.

Both of them can bounce on it.
It's like a really slow sympathy pregnancy.
That my wife isn't sympathetic about.

On the upside, I can't see my spare tyre over my manboobs.
I hope my daughter will buy me a training bra.

Maybe my belly is protecting me and will grow to distance me from the fridge, or blocking out the adverts on TV.

So I'm trying to do something about it.
I get food advice from podcasts and they're great.
They last about an hour, or 3 to 4 family size Dairy Milks.

I now put coconut oil into my coffees.
The end of every drink looks like a Bounty Bar abbatoir.
It's meant to put more protein into my brain.
So I can think clearly through the palpitations.
It's already pushing out the 1980s clarinet lessons.

I make sure I get a rainbow of fresh food, from puff pastry beige all the way to burnt steak sandwich brown.

I'm taking probiotics with no idea what they do
All I know is the best brand has more billions of bacteria.
And a box that says "Now wash your hands".

All my cheap food I like has wheat in it and that makes my face red.
I look like Mr Strong having a stroke.
And he has got a really firm grip.

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What if I'm too late for solar power? #WeAreTheProblem

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Monday, 21 May 2018

What if I'm too late for solar power? #WeAreTheProblems

I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I'm too late for solar power?

The planet is dying.
Humanity is headed for oblivion.
I will fix this.
By looking into getting some solar panels.

I want them to earn more money during the day than I do.

And turning our house into a power station is much easier than, say, using less electricity.

Not saying our home is rough but if we put the panels there, the roof will come down as well as our bills.

So I want to put them in the garden.

I want to become a solar power gardener.

I’ve got everything we need: a back yard, some shorts, and a really bad energy habit.

Plus two kids who treat the garden with such respect, it’s definitely the best place to put a cutting edge fragile electrical installation.

I can even get them a nice big pylon to play on.

I will have to wash the panels to get more power.

Bragging “I’m a bigwig energy company” while looking like a refugee with a squeegie doing windscreens before the lights turn green.

And then I’d spend all the money we save on an electric vehicle.

Because my kids want their mates to clock them in a brand new disabled assistance cart.

“Come on kids, it’s time for school!
beep - beep - beep - beep - beep - beep...

It will be at home with our clapped out electric halogen cooker.

I am so blessed to have something to gently illuminate my dinner.

I like my food cold and senstively lit.

It gives me the strength to watch my gorgeous family blowing more power than a Polish steelworks.

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What if I am an electronic hoarder? #WeAreTheProblem

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