Posted by: Splosher | 18/08/2010

40 as a milestone? I’m lucky to have reached it!

On the 23rd of July 2010, I finally entered middle age as I turned 40 years old with the passing of the midnight hour; quite literally, as I entered this world on the clock’s ninth chime, an early morning start to an eventful, if unfulfilled, life. It has taken me a few weeks of coming to terms with this monumental arrival – as shown with the lack of blog input during this period of time – but now I’m back with an amalgamation of my wastrel life’s highs and lows. I have tried to recall some of the key yearly events for possible future dissection of my psychologically damaged brain-box, although limiting my choices was hard work: some years were packed with eventful examples, yet others standout with their lack of instances and there’s a couple I truly cannot recall anything memorable happening at all. So, here’s a single example for each year spread across the last 40 years.

During my 1st year alive – at the age of 10 weeks – I was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, was given the Last Rites and baptised Catholic, then died twice before surviving against all the odds completely intact. I still sport the misshapen ribs from the Doctors’ frantic life-saving heart massaging.

At the age of two I became supremely jealous of my Brother’s arrival into my world and at the first opportunity, I struck. This involved waiting for my Mum to leave him alone for just a couple of minutes dozing in his pram during a hot summer’s day out in our backyard; I then proceeded to fill up the pram with shovelfuls of dirt in an attempt to bury my brother, possibly believing that my Mum wouldn’t notice. One problem I didn’t see was that once his face was covered with dirt, he was unable to breathe and so at this point, he sat up just as I turned with another shovel full of dirt. The shovel’s edge stuck him straight across his nose, making him scream out and my horrified Mum discovered my dastardly plan.

At the age of three, after my dad had cracked me for being noisy and then fell asleep on the settee in our front room to sleep off his drinking session, I picked up an aluminium tube from our vacuum cleaner and smashed it over his head in an early display of retaliation.

At the age of four I was savaged by an Alsatian whilst playing in the backings of our terraced house. I required 10 stitches to my head – although with the amount of blood covering my face you’d think I would have needed 100 stitches – and this fostered a life-long fear of dogs of all shapes and sizes.

At the age of five, I was crawling along the top of a wall when one of the top stones slipped off and I plummeted 6 feet to the floor, narrowly missing being crushed by the vast limestone slab. However, when I tried to stand, I quickly realised I had a 6 inch rusty nail sticking through my femur as I was dragging a broken piece of fencing around with me.

At the age of six, I discovered my dad’s collection of mens’ magazines on top of my parent’s wardrobe, hidden out of the way of a child’s prying eyes. I showed promise in analytical deconstruction by pushing their bed out and using it as a trampoline to gain access to this strange bounty of naked ladies. When finally I was found out, I showed further promise in trying to bluff my way out of it as my parent’s both held in their laughter in the face of my childish lying.

At the age of seven, I can remember my mum leaving my dad and getting a divorce from him. She had my brother and me standing in the back of the removal truck, our heads just above the raised half-flap, telling us to wave to our dad as we drove away from the family home forever. I can still remember my confusion as I waved goodbye, the sadness on his face as we departed and the glee in my mother’s voice as she finally gained some control of a bad situation.

At the age of eight, my brother and I were introduced my mum’s new bloke, a person who would be a permanent fixture in my life for the next 20 years and be someone I trusted and finally despised.

At the age of nine, I was beaten up at school for the first time by a so-called friend: I can still remember being cornered in a closed doorway with a semi-circle of baying faces blocking my escape as I was pummelled during the whole 10 minutes of the morning break time.

At the age of ten and again at junior school, I discovered to my horror two instances of my ignorance. The first one was badgering my best friend in front of everybody in class to make a Mother’s Day card as we all were doing, even though his Mum had died only a few months before and this resulted in his breaking down into tears. The second was my realisation that I was bordering on illiterate when I didn’t know my alphabet during my recital before the class, which obviously resulted in me being badgered and then breaking down into tears.

At the age of eleven, just a week before leaving junior school for senior school, my best friend was knocked down and killed by a car. We were all called into assembly and the Headmaster told all us kids what had happened as my friend had crossed a road during his walk to school that very morning. Then, nothing else was mentioned and we all continued with our lives like kids do.

At the age of twelve, I broke my right-hand femur after a BMX jump over a one-brick high ramp went completely wrong and then I had to spend the next 13 weeks in a hospital bed on traction. During this time I discovered two things: firstly that my Dad brought me a motorised car model in the first week, then never showed his face again, thus going from hero to zero and allowing his eldest Son to cultivate animosity towards him; and secondly, to have a student female nurse around the age of sixteen feeling you up whilst strapped to a bed at the age of pubescence is both titillating and terrifying in equal measures.

At the age of thirteen, during a school trip to the Isle of Man, one of my best friends died after he fell from some cliffs he was climbing up. Spookily, as the Isle of Man has a belief in Faeries, we travelled to the seaside that day in a coach and crossed a small bridge where it was said the “Little People” lived. As we went over, we all had to say thank you for our safe passage; my friend, the one who fell to his death, thought it would highly amusing to shout “F**k off!” instead…

At the age of fourteen, I discovered drinking for the first time and considering that all the role models in my life were heavy drinkers, it seemed the right path to follow. It took another 20 years to sort out all the problems inherent with this decision.

At the age of fifteen I met and fell in love with my first proper girlfriend, who I tried to seduce in my own pathetic, post-pubescent way and failed spectacularly due to her insistence we should wait for the right time to arise. After another six months, we finished because she turned up from a two week holiday sporting a love bite on her neck and it wasn’t inflicted by me…

At the age of sixteen, I left school without any qualifications due to knowing best and not bothering sitting any of my O-levels. This stupidity took many years to reverse but thankfully, I did manage to re-educate myself through stubbornness before it was too late.

At the age of seventeen, I witnessed the tragic death of a work colleague during the refurbishment of a cotton mill’s lift, which resulted in his near-decapitation as I stood watching in horror next to him. Again, this instance went on to form many of my future neuroses, even though at the time I believed I’d coped well.

At the age of eighteen, after dabbling with a little cannabis and the like, I decided to eat over 1000 magic mushrooms without fully understanding the very real consequences of my foolish actions. This altered my entire perception for the rest of my life (thank God!).

At age nineteen, I had to have an emergency, life-saving Tonsillectomy due to the infected throat lumps passing poison into my bloodstream and my rehabilitation took over six months.

At the age of twenty, I withdrew due to the adverse effects of the Psilocybin from the magic mushrooms and spent nearly a year coming to terms with my now-altered psyche, which had turned me from a drug-taking, drink-quaffing, f**king and fighting cretin into a someone who’d realised there was more to life than being a prick.

At the age of twenty one I made the massive mistake of trusting someone I worked with and believed their family had a villa in Tenerife, so when he said we could go and stay there rent free, I jumped at the chance. I bought two tickets for the pair of us as he had no money but he assured me he’d pay me back weeks before we were due to fly; obviously this never materialised and with just 3 days before the off, I chose to take my mum’s bloke’s son and this turned out to be one of the greatest single mistakes in all my life. Needless to say, I return home earlier than the two week return flight by using my insurance.

At the age of twenty two, as I worked 12 hour shifts in a local cotton mill, I undertook three GCSE’s at night school in order to reverse my appalling decision to leave school without sitting any exams six years before. I attained C passes in Math, English Language and English Literature.

At the age of twenty three things finally started to look up: I was accepted into a residential mature student college named Coleg Harlech based in North Wales, where I threw myself into belated studying and soon discovered I had a gift for writing and amongst other things, acting. The nine month course was over way too quickly but it had changed my outlook on life forever and instilled some much needed intelligence back into my lacklustre skull!

At the age of twenty four, propped up with having passed my studies and gained four A levels, I then immediately returned home and within a couple of weeks, moved into my own rented flat. This was mainly due to being greeted by my Mum’s appearance as she opened the door to me when I returned: she had a two black eyes and a split nose. She’d gotten up in the middle of the night, half-pissed as usual and forgot she was sleeping in a bed, which she then stood up on and then stepped off, resulting in the facial injuries I now looked upon. This was enough for my escape from the maternal home and is only one of the numerous examples of living with an alcoholic parent (the others I’ll keep for another time).

At the age of twenty five, I wrote my first full-length screenplay entitled “The trouble with successful living” and this was followed six months later with another called “Guns, plans and hands”. I genuinely thought I was destined for greatness but life always manages to disrupt a well-lid out plan…

At the age of twenty six, I eventually made it to University after ten years of menial and life-sapping jobs. Then, just six weeks later, my Mum dropped dead from a heart attack aged just 50 and my life changed beyond all recognition, as if Fate had just clicked its fingers without a second thought. I managed to finish my 1st year against all the odds and then decided to take just a year out of studying in order to organise things back home. I’ve never managed to return to my studies and it’s now 14 years later…

At the age of twenty seven, I ended spending nearly the whole 12 months sitting in a variety of courtrooms listening to charges of attempted manslaughter being brought against my brother. He was eventually exonerated.

At the age of twenty eight, my Mum’s bloke – who’d we’d lived with for the last twenty years – turned around and threw me out of the house we’d all shared for the last ten  years, then moved his ex-wife in once I was out of the way. I then had to live in my car for the next month. Words cannot express the complete hatred I still harbour towards this evil c**t.

At the age of twenty nine, after a couple of years of pure Hell, I managed to escape and relocate to Salisbury, Wiltshire where things began to redress in my favour. That is until the following year…

At the age of thirty, my father died aged 53 from cancer of the diaphragm and pancreas. I could only get up to see him two weeks before he passed away, driving the 500 mile round trip from Salisbury to Manchester in a car with no tax, MOT or insurance and with the back suspension held on with mole grips. I’d seen my Dad a year before when he was first diagnosed and he weighed his normal 19 stone but when I walked in, he weighed just 6 stone: It’s an abiding image that still burns in my mind today and I’m sure will do for the rest of my days. His funeral was terrible for the simple fact that his friends all ignored me due to my Dad’s unique way in expressing his love for me being taken wrongly by his gang of f**king cretins. Also, my brother and I ended up fighting in the street as emotions ran high due to years of suppressed rejection on both sides.

At the age of thirty one, I was getting worse with my drinking and drug-taking habits due to using them as emotional crutches and as my job position was a van driver, I had some touch-and-go moments of madness. One instance of this was driving back to Salisbury from a heavy weekend in Manchester and without any sleep and a head full of “coke-cola”, had to go straight to work and do my delivery round of 210 miles. Needless to elaborate much further but the collision into an articulated lorry at 70 miles an hour due to falling asleep at the wheel whilst overtaking was a low point in life but a high point in surviving without a scratch.

At the age of thirty two, I got a job through a friend to work temp cover of three weeks for an IT Infrastructure manager. This turned out to be an underestimate and she was off work for six months, leaving me right in the s**t without any training in the job role. I managed to keep it afloat until she returned and then she got me sacked due to her being a f**king c**t. I’ve had trust issues regarding work colleagues ever since.

At the age of thirty three, I finally achieved the unthinkable: I was taken on as a staff writer on a PC magazine after many years of trying to garner such a position. This only lasted barely a week however due to the fact that a complete, belated breakdown was waiting just around the corner from all the years of mismanaged stress finally catching up with me. Then, the slow rehabilitation back into life began with earnest.

At the age of thirty four, one of my best friends was tragically killed when he was run over by a National Express coach. He had moved to Newquay in the hope of turning a new leaf in life but was struck down early in the morning following a party. Good news though was I stopped drinking alcohol and have stuck to this decision ever since.

At the age of thirty five, everything was a blur and I cannot for the love of God recall anything of any real importance happening during the whole moribund 12 months.

At the age of thirty six, my best friend of twenty years committed suicide, an event that has crushed me emotionally ever since and has changed the parameters of any future friendships that may arise with other people.

At the age of thirty seven, I was again lost in a bereavement blur and worked collecting Golf balls from a driving range for the next 12 months, come rain or shine, running on life’s auto pilot. I did however manage to stop smoking after 15 years on the tabs and have stuck to this decision.

At the age of thirty eight, I had a car crash that wrote off my car and has thus far stopped me getting a replacement due to the cost of my new insurance premium, which is akin to buying a Ferrari when you work as a street cleaner: i.e. impossible!

At the age of thirty nine, after over ten years of having writer’s block, I finally managed to re-boot the old brain cells and re-flash the forgotten synapses back into life and although my writing now comes in dribbles, at least I’ve managed to salvage something from my previous existence in the form of “The Boiling Rage” blog.

TA-DAA! The Big Four-O! I’m now forty, I’m now middle aged, without any family, friends or financial infrastructures in my life, working in a place where I have no respect and stuck back in the small town I was born and raised in.

If there is any truth in the saying ‘Life begins at 40’, shouldn’t I be looking to get a lucky break in life anytime soon…?!

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