Monday, 27 September 2010

Can't play won't play

It doesn't get any easier the more I have do it. Embarrassment, demasculation and isolation engulf my body each time I break the news to someone or worse still, a group of people: I can't play football. I don't know how to play football. I never have. I have come to terms with it, it's fine. I have other skills. Admittedly they are less traditionally masculine and more artsy, but its the differences in all of us that make up life's rich tapestry. The problem arises when I have to tell new acquaintances my situation. The effect of dropping that particular bombshell is akin to castration:

"So do you play with this lot too?"
"Erm, I don't"
"Oh, who do you play for then?"
"I don't play for anyone actually"
"Oh right...dodgy knees I suppose?!"
", just...don' Just don't play it."
"What, never?"
"Oh right"

That's pretty much the text book exchange, followed invariably by an awkward pause as one of us tries desperately to move the conversation on to something more mainstream. I instantly drop at least 10 per cent in people's estimations. Men especially, then begin talking ever so slightly louder, using simpler words and smiling a lot as if all of a sudden they've realised they are actually talking to a child, dog or foreign person rather than a proper fully grown man. Admittedly I probably do the same thing when I discover someone over the age of 20 who can't drive or still plays World of Warcraft.

I don't know how it happened, how I got here but I never played organised football as an under 8 and all of a sudden I am staring 30 in the face and am still in the same position. I mean, I would love to start playing but it somehow feels too late to start now. Just imagine me going along to a training session for the first time aged 29 and having to ask basic questions about shin pads and deep heat. I would look like someone who had just come out of a coma or whose body was inhabited by aliens. Its not as if I completely have no idea, I can kick a ball relatively well and am physically adequate, its just that I am not aware of where I should be on a football pitch and when to run and when not to run. Poor Titus Bramble never let that stop him I suppose (

I suppose it doesn't help that I hang around with a lot of people that play regularly and in the days leading up to seeing a live game I gobble up the Sky Sports News yellow ticker in the hope it may contain a snippet of injury news; it may create undeserved expectations. Maybe if I was into WWII re-enactments or online RPGs people would be mentally prepared for me not playing Sunday league but, just my luck, I'm not.

In a way the fact that I am a football eunuch might allow me to derive more pleasure from watching it. It can be the case that a professionally trained musician can spot how a piece is put together in the first few bars which in turn removes the mystique and magic of how the sound was generated, reducing a song to the sum of its parts, nothing more. In that respect ignorance can be bliss, if not mildly humiliating and can allow you to fully enjoy gems like this (

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Faking it...?

The lowest ebb; we've all been there. Submerged in debt, suffocated by a job that couldn't be classed as a career and reminded of your shortcomings on a daily basis by smug "friends", associates and people under thirty who won't stop buying houses, travelling the world or doing jobs they actually enjoy, things are pretty sour. Short of bailiffs turning up the office to demand payment on your Topshop card, this is as bleak as it gets for your middle class graduate very late twentysomething. Wallowing at the bottom of a bottle of Pinot Noir (you've seen Sideways) at 3am, the only answer is a bit of death fakery. A new start. A new life. A chance to delete all those non-entity acquaintances for good. No debt. Maybe you could try an accent? Dye your hair. Reinvent yourself. Make up a colourful back story. As long as you don't commit life insurance fraud like Mr Canoe (and you're not organised enough to have a life insurance policy anyway) I'm pretty sure its not fully illegal.
Before getting all posthumous there are a few bullet points to bear in mind, and these are they:

• Bank account. Either clear it very gradually over the course of a year - hiding a tenner or two in a pillow case each week - or forget it entirely. Given your state of mind its probably empty/negative anyway and a wholesale account emptying stinks of fake death. Any employment you might get in your new life should involve living above the premises and being paid in kind. Digital money is a right little tattle-tale.

• Pre-death behaviour. The text book fake death is disappearance coupled with irrevocable accident/disaster. Burnt car in ditch is the default method. In this instance just try and act normally (this will be difficult given you'll be well excited about embarking on the lie of a life/death time). If you want to attempt the more ambitious 'suicide' option (for which you'll need a dead homeless doppelganger with identical dental records) you can afford to act a bit odd before passing over. Your call.

• Loved ones. Tough one this; if you really like them tell them of your plan and get them to meet you in Paraguay before returning the UK on a slow asylum boat from Santander and seeing out your days living in a secret apartment under the house. If you're indifferent (which is more likely given your rock-bottom self esteem has led you to believe no one could ever love you thus leading to you keeping everyone at arm's length) leave them to mourn you quickly and modestly before moving on with their lives. Just don't try and befriend them on Facebook using your new Hispanic persona.

So that's it. Good luck. Or 'bon chance' as you may be saying from now on; it is beneficial to have a decent grasp of another language before attempting this. Trying to pass yourself off as German and getting your inanimate object genders mixed up will get you found out pretty quickly.

Lets face it though, we know you'll never have the bottle to actually go through with it. A personality as flakey and flighty as yours will have settled on another way out by this time tomorrow...or worse still decided to live through your turgid, grey, monotonous third-gear life until you die for real.

But until then, chin up!