The Life Yips

“Do you know what your problem is?” A friend asked (or rather wanted to tell) me one evening last week. Oh God here we go, I thought, please don’t tell me what my problem is. I know what my problem is. And it is not a problem, it is a series of problems and I have become pretty adept at hiding from them and I don’t need you adding to the list, giving me more stuff that I need to hide from.

So instead of listening to what my problem was, I looked around the bar we were sitting in and tried to work out if there was some way of letting the tables of pretty women in there know that I was a writer. I took out a pen. It did not work. Then, for no discernible reason whatsoever, I thought about a giant balloon version of Shaun Ryder just endlessly drifting through space. Three days of constant drinking can do that to a man.

“Sorry?” I said. “What was that?”

“I could tell you weren’t listening. You want things to fuck up for you. You want to deliberately make things difficult for yourself. You get yourself in these good positions, then find a way to fuck them up. It’s weird.”

For a bit I couldn’t reply. I couldn’t reply because my brain was yelling at me to blurt out “SPACEAGESHAUNRYDER!” Jesus, I thought, that’s a new one. I wonder what it could be? Tourettes? A brain tumour? Cancer of the speech?

In the end I said: “That’s the most ridiculous fucking thing anyone has ever said to me. But it’s also probably true.”

And so, a change. From now on I’m going to try to not deliberately fuck things up. But how does one start? Yesterday I started by waking at seven and meditating and reading a book. Blimey, I thought, that felt pretty good. So I did some more meditation and read some more of a book and exercised and ate a grapefruit and trimmed my armpit hair and emailed some people wondering if they wanted someone like me doing some work for them and then made a short film about Jesus and then came up with a three-month plan. The film was pretty awful. But the day was pretty good and my old pals the night terrors didn’t visit me yesterday and it’s a start.

One can start again at 35 can’t one? Of course one can, of course I can. If not, what’s the alternative? Not make a fresh start? Carry on as I am? Try and find God and tell him that I’ve fucked this life up and can I have another one please? No, no and no.

Oh, and I’ve decided to tinker with my pitching style too, decided that whilst these jokey woe-is-me affairs have been fun – and, come on, we’ve all had a good time – it’s perhaps time to toughen them up and make them sing. And dance. My pitches from now on, then, are going to be tough cold hard steel song and dances. That sounds terrible – worse than my film. They will be something though. Something good. Just you watch.


10 responses to “The Life Yips

  1. Cancer of the speech are the funniest 4 words I have ever heard together! Bravo!

  2. Fuck yeah! Thanks, Brilliant.

  3. Good luck! oh and what book were you reading?

  4. Joanna: Thank you for the luck. And good question: Sam the Cat, a collection of (excellent) short stories by Matthew Klam, and Miss Wyoming. They´re about the only books in this house I can read. I also tried reading a book of Toby Litt´s short stories and very nearly mentally collapsed.

  5. I can’t bear it when people start telling me what my problem is. This post has annoyed me so much, actually, on quite a few levels I am going to listen to my (donated) ipod really loudly so my ears bleed onto my pillow – I am going to listen to Dolly Pardon, The Smashed Pumkins and The Can’t be Cured. Fuck!

  6. Toby Litt could be Titt Loby, I know, I am ultra sassy and smart.

  7. 35 is nothing. Just you wait.

  8. You trim your armpit hairs!

    I almost stopped reading right there.

    But I didn’t and, yes, I’m with Karl, 35 is nothing. I started again at 45 and then again at 51 (different things but quite major ‘starts’). And it’s been great, thanks for asking. You just have to want to do it badly enough.

  9. Marge, I would love to know on what other levels the above post annoyed you. If it´s any consolation, it annoyed me writing it.
    Karl. Karl, Karl, Karl. I will wait, thank you. I feel honoured that you have taken some time out of your busy schedule of taking photos of your cat and yourself to leave such a considered comment.
    You´ve kind of inspired and uninspired me in the same breath there Andy. But thanks, lovely to have you here. And I don´t trim them that much or that often. Or, actually, at all.

    Jesus, what withering replies to your fine comments. Apologies. It´s been a bit of a slog today.

  10. Sorry, I think it was the pen not workng that just about finished me off, plus I am terrified of ballons so I shuddered. I also got a mental picture of Shaun Ryder in ‘I’m a celebrity’ which I tried to push to one side. I blame Julie as she had just poured me 2 glasses of red wine from a bottle that has been sitting around since my birthday.

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