99.98% Alcohol-free

In my younger days,  I never consumed alcohol probably more or less for the same reasons youngsters at that age never took to downing the proverbial firewater – and that was due to the Divine Prohibition. Around that age it was just blind adherence to the faith. That however could have been easily broken up because no one gave any valid or sound reasons behind the prohibition other than the usual stories of spending all of eternity as fuel for fire. But as soon as I bore witness of those who do down the booze, I decided objectively and unequivocally that alcohol consumption is definitely not for me, because as soon as they cross the threshold of civil drinking into sheer assholicity, the jury’s decision is final– booze ain’t the bitchen bitch they make it out to be.

Lotsa laffs lads.

I don’t drink but I’m not intimidated by alcoholic beverages, which means I’m not so anal about it that I can’t be within splash distance from a drop of alcohol. Therefore, I end up being quite a regular companion to boozers, especially on Friday nights. Apart from being an inexpensive drinking buddy because I go for the non-alcoolisé beverages, I’m also the obvious designated driver. But the downside to that is that I’m also a boozers bestest friend in the whole world when they’re shit-faced. I’m the one they’ll get up close and personal to, all flustered with spit and fumes, ready to clue me in on the meaning/miseries of life. Whichever one it is, they’ll insist I’m the luckier one for it. Yeah I would be, because between us I’ve still got control over my faculties and even if I don’t blow out chunks of my insides soon, I won’t be waking up underneath furniture or around bathroom tiles with a desert of fur for a mouth and a tympani where a head should be.

Or a urinal for where a face should be.

Of course I still get jeers and taunts by champions of the fermented nectar of the sods, especially hollow heads who consider alcohol consumption the epitome of higher culture or civilization. I do try to enlighten them that a person of my disposition who tends to do things to the extreme is just not good for such vices. I would have very high slosh potential if I started boozing and could easily end up a drunkard as easily as I ended up a chain-smoker once in a lifetime before.

However, that answer is never enough for them. They really want to get in on the religion angle. Well, I just simply establish that any religion that has a ban or admonishment for alcoholic drinks is merely banning the only beverage in the world that requires legalization.

Think about it – it’s the only beverage that prerequisites a legal drinking age; it’s the only one that has a roadworthy driving legal limit; sales of it is regulated and requires a license; open consummation of it is not globally allowed; nations made attempts to prohibit it, and I won’t even begin to go into the social crimes and issues that are directly related to it. You would not find any such parallel with the widespread consumption of say, caffeine – of which no religion has been known to ban. But of course to morons who need to fill their weight in booze, all that negativity only applies to others and it could never be them – they are the apogee of human restraint; which is probably what a DUI driver would have thought to themselves to have gotten behind the wheel after a ‘coupla’ glasses.

Yeah, very 'high civilisation' indeed.

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Me Bloody-fool.

Google 'bloody-fool' and you get that.

Growing up, I’ve been called a bloody-fool for as long as I care to remember.  It became so synonymous with me that I’ve forgotten since quite early on the bitterness of being called one.  I can’t think of any particular outward aspect of me that would bring it about – it just happened.  One moment I’d be going about my own wits and next thing I’d hear “Bloody-fool!” and sure enough, that would be me.  There never seem to be any anomalies, disaster or catastrophe in my vicinity that I could attribute to having deserved such a sanglant moniker, so it can’t be that I was such a klutz.  I’ll admit I was not the most graceful of characters but nor was I behaviourally bovine when in a china shop.

In retrospect, it is true that I lacked the trophies I was supposed to collect during those formative years; no ‘A’ laden certificates of education, no plated trophies for athletic achievements, no weighted medals in recognition, no seriffed scrolls of commendation, nor any frame-worthy citations. I just wasn’t much of a recorded achiever. The lack of such would probably qualify me as a candidate for being called a bloody fool to those who need such indicators as the basis of their opinion or judgment of a person.

Study-wise, I was constantly distracted by the intrigue of understanding rather than just memorizing for exams.  History fascinated me as true stories rather than putting dates to names or events.  Physics was such a revelation of forces around us and not just about formulas or reciting word-for-word laws and definitions.  Biology was organic mechanics that was sadly reduced to naming parts and bodily processes.  Geography was simply fruit for imagination.  Okay, I sucked at mathematics; that I left to being purely functional.  So due to my lack of Instant Data Ignoramuses Consider  Knowledge [iDICK] I would not have been a very exam friendly candidate.

For extra curricular activities, I was not coordinated well enough for the delusion of being a soccer star – I had a weak left foot.   Athletics had hardly any creative merits and seemed too regimented.  Art was about painting within the lines of statuesque poses and was hardly expressive.  Never much into uniforms and thought the boy scouts were too faggy in those shorts and scarves – and their affinity for ropes.

Oops, sorry for the 'faggy' remark.

I was too brittle for contact sports like martial arts.  Of course I was into music but not the marching kind that would have made parents proud in stadiums. The music I was into just had such bad press thanks to Keith Richards; so there was probably nothing there to boast about in polite circles.

This man made me unpopular, bless him.

I was constantly being talked to for being such a bloody-fool, but that just made things worse.  The talks were purely instructional and related to experiences which I realized had no similarities or bearing to the circumstances or time-space I was in.  There was hardly anything that I could walk away and use from their advise apart probably from knowing the fact that they care enough to have done so.  As there was not much from their ‘wisdom’ that I could apply for myself, I would then appear, I don’t know – Ungrateful? Obstinate? Rebellious? Rude? Insolent? Disrespectful? Or by their a priori semiotic signifier – a bloody-fool!

From my novice quasi-psychoanalytical know-how, I could say that the bloodyfoologuous phenomenon would result in low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence.  That’s probably true. However, I did have strong opinions on things and was steadfast to my beliefs, whatever they may be at the moment.  And there was no low self-esteem or weak self-confidence when I make my case against things I took great care in understanding. But unfortunately as it turns out, when I stand by my opinions or thoughts with the full regalia of a healthy self esteem and glowing confidence, I’d hear “Bloody-fool!” once again.  In other words, I’d be a bloody fool for standing my ground every time I made a stand.

What I can say was a result of the bloodyfoolomena, is that I avoided aloofness and cockiness within myself and did not end up an arrogant person by normal standards.

[I should state that the ‘cockiness’ I’m avoiding here is the ‘Mr/Mrs/Ms-know-all’ cockiness of the non-charitable variety; i.e., those who will never give credence to any view that does not conform blindly to their set opinions-arguments.]

A man proud of his nature.

I would never assume that what I know is the ultimate conclusion cast in granite and in that way I’d always be open to other thoughts and ideas with the willingness and readiness to say I’m wrong when I am; simply because if you’re being called a bloody-fool often enough you’ll find that it is not easy to be too sure of yourself.  For instance, if I met someone who would not conform blindly to conventions or socio-cultural-structures created by some unseen consensus which defies sense and sensibility, I would not immediately conclude that the person is a Bloody Fool.

4 P O A

Four Points of Admonishment

Have you noticed that local teachers, tutors, lecturers, elders, employers, etc., have a certain sequence of points they consistently go through when they reproach or castigate their pupils, students, subjects, youngers, employees, etc.? Here’s how it goes:

1] The “You-all” opening –

This is where they clump you into some fraternity that seems to be synonymous with the trait or fault for which you are being reproached. Examples, “You-all never seem to realize . . . ”, “You-all just can’t . . .”, “You-all just don’t . . .”, “You-all just won’t . . .”, and so forth y’all.  [There are times it’s only you in the room being talked to but when they go “You-all . . “,  you can’t help but wonder who else do they see in the room with you? C’est bizzare!]

Why? I suppose it’s to shame you into realizing that you belong to a conglomeration of negatives. And of course it goes without saying, that they would in turn shine forth as not being, and could never be, a member of such a gawky gaggle.

2] The “You-know what I went through” reminder –

This is to begin to tell you in case you didn’t know already, the rigmaroles, trials and tribulations they had to go through for you to be in the position you are in; such as setting up the task for you, nominating you for the task, giving birth to you, etc.

Why? Feel the guilt you insensitive ingrate!

3] The “In my time” soliloquy –

Now you hear how they [or others they know] did it, would have done it or how it was done in their personal time-space continuum.

Why? Apart from making you feel more hapless than they expect you to already – they just enjoy it I guess, because they seem to do it at every other opportunity they think warrants it.

4] “So now, . . . ” –

By this time, I would have forgotten what the admonishment was for in the first place. This is when they just reiterate what needs to be done, sometimes in a pep-talk manner – probably to give some semblance of relevance or culmination to the three preceding points they were waffling on about. But I’m not normally convinced that this would be the last time we’ll be hearing all this.

Why? They never tell the ‘how’s that you actually need so you could complete the matter at hand to a level of satisfaction that would immunize you from having to endure further variations of the 4 POAs.

When Ghosts Speak Of Ghosts

"What is this that stands before me...?"

I’ve always been intrigued by the supernatural. Probably started about the time I was 11, after having received a book prize on haunted houses for being the fifth in class. [Yes, they did reward such back then; and I have been prize worthy at some point in my life, thank you.] My literary diet for awhile since then consisted entirely of ghost stories, the macabre, and of course the unexplained. After that followed the natural progression into horror stories until I was eventually no longer spooked by the unseen but terrified of the hidden. Then came the slasher movies and by the time Freddy Kreuger came back to life for the fourth time, it all became simply mindless entertainment value. By which time I approached the spookies by diagnosing sense before shivers – that means that I would seek for the sensible explanation behind every scary phenomena.

Nevertheless, I still constantly meet someone with a scary story to tell. There’s always a show of reluctance to tell it at first but it wouldn’t take more than just a few nudges on the right nerve and they’d just spew forth with it. They’d tell it like they were there, all wide-eyed and in your face. Some with an amateurish sense of the dramatic such as the drop of the voice, the quaver in the narration, the impregnated pause followed by a shudder at the recollection of the eerie, the nervous twitch or gesticulations as if sculpting the ethereal. Really, it’s as if they were there.

Oh, hi!

The thing is, they weren’t – they were not there. They were nowhere near there. No, they never tell you from their own personal experiences. It didn’t happen to them. It never happen to them – much like it’s never happened to me; or at least happened to me such that I cannot explain it off sensibly. It’s always a retelling of someone else’s experience; someone they know, someone close to them, someone close to them who knows someone, someone who knows someone close to them who knows – so goes the permutations in the chain of narration. If you question the integrity of the narrator, they say its someone emotionally or sentimentally attached to them, so you would be a real callous bastard to even doubt them.

It’s never of first hand direct experience of the teller themselves.

However, in the utmost rare occasion that it is claimed to be their very own experience, my intrigue wanes when they adamantly refuse to discuss earthbound possibilities of what could have happened or been the cause. It’s as if it has to be supernatural or nothing. They refuse to approach it with House diagnostics or Grissom forensics or even Velma’s logic – they would actually prefer to concur with Scooby Doo than wrest through rational explanations. And of course, it so deeply and emotionally shook them such that you would be from another strain of callous bastards to even consider doubting them.

What concerns me of the phenomena though is this – it’s not that they tell it to be believed, but why do they need to tell it to such effect? Despite being savvy in psychoanalysis, I can see someone who needs the spotlight with their eerie tales, even if it is just for that one moment. And of course they’d be a-hoping that the spotlight will still shine on them in absentia when the story is retold further – assuming of course that the next narrator is not a dick and obliterates them from the narration in order to take the spotlight for themselves.

Everyone has a story to tell, but when it’s a ghost story it always seem to come from personas that do not seem to be for real – much like the ghosts in their stories.

Me Wise Not

I’m by no means a wise person – have never considered myself one, and could most definitely not recognize myself as one. Never been much for wisdom. Making sense is more my thing; and of course, I presume, wisdom goes beyond merely making sense.

Eric Clapton use to say that he found wisdom from the solitary bluesmen when he was growing up, him being without a father and all. I can dig that – or at least part of it, the solitary bluesmen part. Unlike Clappers, my beloved father has always been around and is still alive and well. However, my wisdom gurus were not exactly the booze-soaked, broom-dusting, woke-up-this-morning, hellhound-chasing, cotton-pickin’, porch-rockin’ bluesmen. Wisdom for me came more from their devil-child disciples such as Nanker-Phelge, or more currently known as Jagger/Richards.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find, you get what you need.”

My gurus!

I would have appreciated very much to find true wisdom from sources closer around me, like from those who have many, many years ahead of me hence are much more experienced in life and wise from the lessons of its many trials and tribulations.  Actually there are no shortage of sources for wisdom around. But the times they have tried to impart their wisdom onto me, I don’t find myself walking away much the wiser.  The first thing that struck me about their body of wisdom was that they all seemed clichéd, contrived and some even sounded very much like gobbledygook. If there was any inkling of any wisdom to be had from them it was from what I call deriving wisdom through inversion – I would see the wisdom from not following through what they say or their course of action.  And I discovered eventually that by simply not doing what they say or do I’d always be all the better for it.

Now thanks to being aware of fallacious discourses and being able to differentiate between rhetoric and truth, I really am so much the better for not giving their pseudo-wisdom any more than the courtesy of listening despite the experience of it being so mind-numbingly tedious. Oh the yawns I had to clamp my lips down to suppress! I even wondered if stifled yawns would escape through the ears and blow the eardrums out. Come to think of it, that might have been quite an act of grace as I would not have the hearing implement in place to hear them with any further. But I digress.

Of course they must’ve meant well, even those preoccupied with their own narcissistic pride when sharing or imparting their own version of wisdom; but like I said, it all just sounded the same and and very, very lame. It’s as if they’ve made their general conclusions quite early in their lives and have reached the point when they have subconsciously established a system of codes of what’s right, what’s wrong, the do’s, the don’ts, the hows, the whys, as basis by which they make sense of the world. So all they are imparting upon you as ‘wisdom’ is how they have applied, adapted or adhered to these codes throughout their lives, regardless if its relevant to you, your personality or your circumstances.  One could almost call it wisdom by numbers – the illusion of wisdom instead of any actual wisdom.

Their quasi/pseudo-wisdoms were full of passive verbs – be patient, be strong, persevere, soldier on, caution, beware, etc.; and they were hardly pro-active with the hows – how to be patient, how to be strong, how to persevere, etc.  The whys were based on their own guesswork rather than any deep analytic observation. That is where for me it all falls short. And when they tell you that you should figure it out for your self, its simply disguising the fact that they have not a clue.  And you’ll discover that what they are doing is all part of the same system of codes – telling you those inanities is them acting out the coded form of offering wisdom. Giving you examples of their experiences, as unrelated as they maybe, is the coded act of sharing their wisdom from experience. So under their system of codes wisdom is offered, and this would be recognized as the code for showing that they care. It doesn’t matter if it did not alleviate your concerns or queries because according to their code system, for someone who could not obtain the benefits of their contribution, you’re just a hapless dumb schmuck. And if you say that it doesn’t help, that is the sign of someone who is simply an ungrateful so-and-so. Interestingly enough though, even when they admit that they could not offer you any wisdom, they will direct you to those whom they think can, and here you will see that they even have a set image of what a wise person should look like – the white haired, the bearded, the wizened, the bushy browed, the uni-browed, Oprah, etc.

Their wisdom personified.

So in the absence of any beacon of wisdom of any real benefit around me, what else if left for a seeker such as I to do but to be left to my own faculties and devices to make sense of whatever comes my way; and somehow, life is all the richer for that methinks.