21 Mar 2011

Worry for Nothing and You're Thick for Free

2011? Jesus, how did you arrive here - on your dinosaur? Click here to go to hencewise.com, and stop a weirdo holding a candle in the dark, looking all dramatic and old-fashioned.

I have personally found that one of the most positive and liberating attitudes you can cultivate in life is a healthy attitude towards Time. We don't much know about it, but what we all seem to agree on is that, to us at least, it is galloping unrelentingly in a single direction, away from what's happened and towards what's about to. It's unforgiving; not giving you the chance to say the much funnier thing you thought of after the argument. It's indifferent; never arranging the future according to what you would or wouldn’t like to happen to that prick doing a wheelie on his moped. And it's unstoppable; definitely on the way to wherever it’s going, and not about to change for any of your silliness.

And what's the point in worrying about anything that you can't change?

Events that have already happened, of course, fall unquestionably into that category. Until you invent that time machine you're obviously working on, saying things like 'I wish I'd never kicked that dog's eyes off' are always going to be mean exactly nothing. Blaming yourself for what you should have done makes about as much sense as electric soap; you didn't, and now you can't. Sure, you might not like the consequences of your action but that fact is immediately irrelevant. The new reality is that there's a canine missing its retinas, and your 'regrets,' as boring as they are, possess no magical abilities to reattach them. Instead, it's far more productive to think about what you can do presently to improve the situation, rather than what you should have done then to avoid it. Stop worrying. Stop moaning. In fact, stop all your unproductive word-fart nonsense, and redirect that wasted energy into self-improvement – ‘how can I prevent the end of my leg from intersecting puppies' faces in the future?’ you could ask yourself-- or get on your hands and knees, start searching for them corneas, and hope someone's got some sticky tape.

The more you practice this attitude, and it is often as small a thing as the pause it takes for your intellect to overtake your emotional response, the sooner it becomes your default way of dealing with the world, and the less anxiety you'll feel towards anything and everything that's out of your control. As an example, I had one of those boring car crashes a couple of weeks ago -- just smashed my vehicle in to the back of someone else's one for a laugh -- and while my initial jerk reaction was to swear at the boring airbag that didn't even hit my face, only a second or two later I was completely calm again. Really. The new situation - and the fixed state of reality from that point on - was that I now owned a large piece of metal about as useful as Stevie Wonder's telescope, my next insurance policy quote would be about as cheerful as cot death, and I was now a full-time pedestrian again like all the rest of the world’s massive walky wankers.

While it's a fairly simple concept to understand in relation to the past, though, it can be almost equally applicable to the future. 

Expectations, indeed, can be almost as self-destructive as regrets. 

Imagine you're going to an interview for that recently decided career diversion into Veterinary Optometry. Just as you can never know what might have happened if you had made different choices in the past, neither can you predict how the possibilities and potential of your future will arrange themselves as they squeeze through your present and into the growing prison of your past. Yeah. Sure, you can choose how to dress, how you present yourself, and how you prepare, but beyond that, once again, you’re at the mercy of the Universe. You can't control who interviews you, what they want, or manage what they'll think of you and your past discretions with the fragile, frontend of a German Shepherd. You can't control the kind of room you're entering, the atmosphere waiting inside, or whether you’ll be allergic to the chair. You can't control the questions you'll be asked, or what already exists in your head with which you can answer them. You can't know or change who else will apply for the job, what the interviewer thinks of them, how they'll compare to you, or how many animals they’ve punted in the chops. Worrying about the future is as unhealthy as the past because, almost equally, you cannot control it. 

You can only react to it.

With no expectations, you cannot be surprised. With no expectations, you cannot be disappointed.

In terms of unnecessary things to worry about, the Future might as well join the bulging, heaving pile of nonsense things we fret about unnecessarily.

Death. The Past. Your height. Other people’s stupidity. Aging. Your parents. George Lucas cashing in on Star Wars. Pandas not humping. Continental drift. Your skin colour. Your gender. Your genes. Yoko Ono. When all of these inevitable facts are raked in to the same dark and dusty corners of the mind where Catholics store scientific facts and their repressed childhood memories, the real priorities that deserve our attention begin to emerge and become clear. Once you let go of the things that are beyond your control, you can hold much tighter on to the things that are left within it. If you prevent wasting energy where it’s useless, it’s more available for where it can make a difference.

Now please open your Handy Gandhi pocket notebooks, skip past the photo where he looks like Gollum's just re-emerged from the caves with a degree and a bed sheet, and jot down the following in the Shit He Probably Said First section:

You can't change what people think of you, but you can change how you treat them.

You can't change your body, but you can appreciate it.

You can't change your past, but you can accept it.

You can't change that you'll die, but you can change how you live.

You can't change the world, but you can change yourself to fit better in it. 

2011? Jesus, how did you arrive here - on your dinosaur? Click here to go to hencewise.com, and stop a weirdo holding a candle in the dark, looking all dramatic and old-fashioned.

3 Mar 2011

The Speeding Ticket

2011? Jesus, how did you arrive here - on your dinosaur? Click here to go to hencewise.com, and stop a weirdo holding a candle in the dark, looking all dramatic and old-fashioned.

On average, you've got somewhere between none and a hundred years on the surface of this colourful little rock, and that just isn't enough time to get to grips with all the stuff that’s going on all over its surface. It's too big for our little feet to ever tread, too complex to figure out, too strange to change. We're overwhelmed by the sheer impossibility of trying, or learning, or seeing, or doing even a portion of what exists to interest or intrigue us. Ignoring Pokemon cards, there's also the recorded artistic output of humanity's collective history available to our hands. On pages, in pictures, in words, on walls, in messages, in math. Generations of souls trying to outlast their time, and live in to ours. There's sports, and music, and tastes, and things you can put in your bloodstream to make you feel nice while you bumble around between them like a doomed drunk in a disco. There are mountains and animals and rivers and seas, and fun people to meet or mock or share a night with all the way in between. You'll lose a day on the Beatles anthology, another building a shed. Learning poker, a good stew, fixing up a bike. You'll lose one day trying to get to the other side of the planet on a plane. We're cruelly spoiled by the abundance of activity in every direction, and yet we can try and have a happy time as we rush and bounce between it in our little, lovely efforts to get a bit of all of it, or at least all of a bit of it.

With everything to do and so little time to do it in, then, it's a real bastard who wants to slow you down.

Unfortunately, believe it or not, these people exist. They've been given uniforms, feel legitimatized by the Law, whatever that is, and are out there trying to stop you doing what you want as if they’ve got it all figured out and you haven’t. They think they're right, and they're trying to stop you going so fast.

But fuck them. Fuck them right in their hats.

Let's cut to some empty, boring Hypothetical Highway where you've been pulled over by one of the Shits in his big, flashing Shitmobile. You're welcome to assume they're fat, too, if that helps. Fucking fat cops. Everyone hates a cop whose skin is too far away from their skeleton, especially when what's in between is majority pie. He's pulled you over, maybe to put you in between some bread, and now he wants to give you a Ticket. But you're not going down without a fight, are you? Damn right.

Obviously first you should try some mild, elaborate lies about the much bigger and more important crime or accident that you just witnessed round the corner. If a simple distraction doesn't work, start with the basics -- dealing with the Police 101 -- flirt, look mental, speak another language to see if they can really be bothered with you, cry, pretend to faint, faff around in your glove box like a blind, armless pensioner trying to save a hamster from a soup, blink a lot, shit yourself, ask if its legally possible to arrest just one Siamese twin, and finally shout 'ejector seat!', throw your arms up, and then just sit perfectly still for several minutes looking relieved.

Has the Officer gone?

A stayer, huh? Pesky. Well, fine. Let's face it, there's obviously a very good reason you were in a hurry; you're not some kind of prick, are you? All we have to do is hide that actual information, and replace it with a fast-flowing faceload of blabbering nonsense.

'My grandmother's diabetes has gone rogue', 'my life partner's been in a Code 17 caving incident,' and ‘I promise, it was the Magnets!' are a nice start.

It is important to note at this stage, however, that if you choose to lie to the Police, you should spew all of your excuses at them rapidly like an incomprehensible, wordy mumble-vomit. Not only will it express to the Officer your extreme disapproval for the idea of this ticket, it will also be very hard for them to actually prove anything you've said. If by this point the Officer is still pioneering enthusiastically with the life-wasting, ultimately consequence-less procedure and you've exhausted the argument that it might be nicer if they were arresting real criminals like the Pope, it may now be time for the intellectual phase of Operation I Really Would Rather Spend That Money on a DVD Boxset and a Nice Cake.

Please tell the Officer that for the next few minutes you are going to explain why he doesn't have any evidence of you speeding, that it is impossible that you were speeding, and that you will be from this point onwards be inferring that punishing people for speeding makes about as much sense as Gary Glitter's parameters on sexual maturity.


You know those laser gun things they use? You know, those we'll hide here and walletfuck a lottery pick of unlucky motorists all day, cunty laser gun things? They all work on the same basic mathematical principle that the time it takes you to travel a certain distance can be multiplied to decide whether your speed is above the limit they've decided. So if they ('The Man') say you've travelled one meter in 12 miliseconds, that means you've travelled at 100 miles per hour which is too fast, tsk-tsk, naughty-naughty, what if there'd been a child in a packet of crisps?

However, if you've been pulled over, exhausted every feeble last shitwhiff of an excuse, and are still feeling particularly argumentative, mischievous or tight, you could now go down the route of explaining to an increasingly tedious face that it is actually impossible to prove the distance you travelled. That one meter could be any length, indeed it could even be exactly 1.3 meters, just right to prove that you were actually travelling at 70 miles per hour. If you measure the road, you will inevitably find that it is a bumpy, uneven, windy surface. If you stretched and pulled and ironed it out, it would actually be considerably longer. If it still didn't reach the holy 1.3 meters, you could look closer still and see that all those bumps have bumps too. Press those out, and you could continue zooming to the macroscopic level, or microscopic, or nanoscopic, or the molecular level, or atomic, or subatomic, or the quantum level... by which time you're forced to conclude that any ‘one meter’ of road is actually infinitely long, and may not actually exist.

'How long does it take to travel across infinity, potentially, Officer?' you'll ask if there's time before his baton meets your teeth.

'And that’s before we discuss the complex, anomalous and relative nature of time,' you'll plead, bleedingly.

Have you got away with it yet?



By this point, although a lot of your main dental matter may now be displaced over a large area of tarmac, it is important not to give up hope in the scientific method, and persist with contextualizing this speeding ticket for the pesky Officer. This, after all, is not the Dark Ages. We've got SatNav and pre-sliced cheese now. 

Continue to argue.

Amidst their violent power trip or nervous breakdown, the Officer may maintain that by all pragmatic, practically applicable standards you were still travelling at 100 mph in a 70 mph zone. This is where you grab his intellectual gonads. 'But, Officer, you were travelling faster than 100 mph!'

That's it, his brain balls, right in your hand.

'Only because I had to catch up with you!'

He thinks he's got you, the rascal. Reel him in.

'BUT YOU WERE GOING 900 MILES AN HOUR!' scream at his face. Now watch. He's looking at you like you're a genuine licking-battery lunatic. Savour this.

Now explain using as many whimsical voices as possible that because the Earth is rotating at 900 miles per hour, even though we're moving on its surface, everything is going 900 miles per hour. You weren't even doing 1000 miles per hour in a 970 miles per hour zone. Your refusal to be arrested while you patronisingly explain rudimentary physics, however, may now have lead you to the position of owning a smashed face and pulverised skeleton.

Do not be discouraged.

As you use your tongue to poke out bits of gravel from your damaged gums and wonder whether using high school science was the most appropriate and ultimately beneficial way to deal with this situation, it might be time to ease off a bit and consolidate your position. Take a break and refresh your creative energy by using your remaining time with the Officer to insult their most sensitive physical attributes. Faces are particularly good because you can lose weight, can't you, but it’s hard to change your face.

When you are ready for Round Two, you will no doubt be continuing your wanked-up, doomed rant inside a courthouse after a lengthy boot-induced coma. However, if you believe you may have attracted the interest of any of the bored, angry looking group of individuals opposite you who thought that jury service was some time when they could use to catch up on the ironing, persist arrogantly that it was scientifically impossible that you were speeding. If courts do decide their rulings based on evidence then there's no harm in further explaining that we are also travelling around the Sun at nineteen miles a second in a solar system moving 40,000mph around the galactic central point of the Milky Way. It'll be hard to get to the bit about the universe expanding at a million miles a minute, however, because you will presumably be receiving further punches to your already shattered smug twat face by a surprisingly plentiful group of smug twat face-punching enthusiasts.

Did it work?


If you are in jail now, it is no doubt because you abandoned the Gandhi method of conflict management at the last minute and switched instead to the more immediately productive John Prescott method. Naughty. But -- onwards -- you've now got lots of time to read, and in jail you'll learn loads of new skills like how to hotwire a car, how to make a nail bomb, how to synthesise Class A drugs in your bathtub, and perhaps even how to cry yourself to sleep after discovering the staggering elasticity of your anal wall.

So, let's work on that Parole Hearing material. You've tried the bamboozlement method and the intellectual argument, so now it's really time to become a nuisance. Let's dip our toes into the philosophical waters of the nature of truth. No?

Fine. It's your sixty quid.

2011? Jesus, how did you arrive here - on your dinosaur? Click here to go to hencewise.com, and stop a weirdo holding a candle in the dark, looking all dramatic and old-fashioned.