Tag Archives: Responsibility

The Things You’ll Pass As You Drive Towards Death

22 Sep

Whenever we’re traveling, it’s a good idea to have a few landmarks on our maps to know that we are heading in the right direction. People point out the cemetery on the right to let us know that in two miles we need to turn left to reach our destination.

In our lifespan, those landmarks are milestone birthdays. They’re not quite as reliable as that cemetery (we all know what happens when people move cemeteries), because each of us arrives at them in different ways. However, when it comes to special birthday celebrations, our own experience is irrelevant. I’m not here to tell you where you should be by the time you’re 16 or 40 or 75; ultimately, if you want to follow or break from a tradition, it’s nowt to do with me. What I can do, though, is let you know what others’ expectations will be to help buffer the shock just a tad.

YOUR FIRST BIRTHDAY

The first milestone is obviously one’s first birthday. It’s clearly all about other people, since one-year-olds are legitimately too stupid to know anything about life whatsoever. Luckily, other people’s expectations for this one are pretty low: as long as they get to take a picture of you with cake on your face, they’ll be happy.

YOUR TENTH BIRTHDAY

Moving into double digits means that others will start expecting a little more. You might be expected to do chores; you may start dealing with money. You will also be asked to “perform” for people at family gatherings, and unlike when you were 6, it’ll no longer be cute when you sing off tune or forget the words of the Gettysburg Address (I’m afraid I had to learn this the hard way). How you deal with this pressure will be up to you, but the main thing you should be prepared for is that, while it will feel like the worst thing in the world to you, no one will really give a shit.

YOUR ADOLESCENCE

Adolescence is a complicated time because of the physical and emotional changes you will be going through. To add further complications, there are a number of different milestones during these years. For example, in the Jewish tradition, one’s thirteenth birthday is important—this is when you become responsible for your actions. That’s pretty heavy stuff for someone who is technically still developmentally an idiot.

For girls of any religious persuasion, the first menstrual period will be a momentous time for now you are technically eligible for the position of motherhood. What the hell’s that all about, nature? Depending on your family’s background, this will be greeted with either with pride or shame. Try not to let it affect you too much—luckily the hassle, pain and need for notes excusing you from PE classes should keep you pretty much distracted.

A driver’s license also signals a major turning point. This will heap more responsibility onto your shoulders. Undoubtedly you will think this unfair, because that’s just the kind of thing teenagers do. But remember, you can now get behind the wheel of a potentially lethal weapon, so there’s got to be some kind of balance between your needs and others’.

YOUR EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY

In many countries, your eighteenth birthday means you can officially do grown-up things like run for election, drink, marry, join the military and be a consenting adult. Keep in mind that you just because you can doesn’t mean you have to.

YOUR TWENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY

This is often the first time that you will start looking back on your life, realizing that some of it has already gone. Others will note this as well; essentially what people are really doing is reminding you that you’re on the path towards death.  This is a drag, especially if they do it as you’re blowing out your candles, but it is, of course, true.

This can also be a difficult time for men especially as it marks the end of what’s commonly referred to as your “sexual peak.” Don’t let this talk worry you; you have plenty years of masturbatory pleasure left.

YOUR THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY

This is often an important one because you are likely to remember your parents in their thirties. This is a recipe for comparison: how come your mother was married with kids on her thirtieth and you’re still single and letting your ex’s new girlfriend raise your twins? How come your father had worked his way up to a managerial position by his thirtieth and you’re still waiting for your band to hit the big time? You may be doing these comparisons in your head, but, trust me, others definitely will be and may start treating you like you’re a failure. (They’ve probably been feeling this for years, but it may be the first time they act on it.)

For women, your thirties will also mark a milestone in terms of your bodies: they will start changing but more importantly, you’ll start hearing (or at least hearing others talking about) your “biological clock.” The truth is, if you are planning to throw your life away on motherhood, now is a good time to it. But don’t let your parents, your friends or your spinster aunt’s regrets pressure you into doing something you’re not ready to do.

YOUR FORTIETH BIRTHDAY

This is seen by many as the Big One. Because unless you’ve already passed it, forty is seen as past it (particularly for the female of the species). You don’t have to embrace this interpretation, but be aware that many others do. This includes the twenty-year-olds you work with (their flirting is actually mockery) and your doctor (who will now expect you to regularly schedule tests so he can tell you which parts of your body are starting to fail).

YOUR FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY

People will note that you are a half a century old; given that only freaks live a hundred years, I think we all know what they’re really pointing out: most of your life is gone. Not even crumblies think of a 50-year-old when they think of a young person, so be prepared that even if you feel young, using the word to describe yourself will cause others will see you as delusional and/or embarrassing. Even the phrase “young at heart” is a bit troublesome at this point as you think about your echocardiogram results and your dodgy arteries. I’m definitely not saying you are old, but you are older than a whole generation of other adults. They are well aware of this.

YOUR SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY

You might get a bus pass or discounts on your early bird dinner special, but the truth is this milestone isn’t as important as it once was. Starting off your sixth decade used to signal your eventual retirement from employment, but nowadays you’ll end up working until the day you drop dead, so thank god for that, eh?

YOUR SEVENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY

You are old now. Everyone thinks that and will expect you to act old. They will assume you don’t remember yesterday, comprehend technology, or experience sexual desire. Even if their assumptions are wrong, you may want to consider working their mistakes to your benefit. Being in your seventies allows you to lie like a rug and people’s reactions will usually just be, “Ahhhh, bless.”

YOUR ONE-HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY

What others expect from you on this milestone is absolutely irrelevant.

Obviously, your body as it ages will present you with opportunities and limitations, but ultimately age is just a number and like most things related to numbers, obsessing about it is boring. Others will respond to you in different ways as you evolve, but it’s important to be true to yourself. It’s your journey, regardless of the route you take. But if you are headed through my neighbourhood on your way, can you stop and pick up a pint of milk for me?

Advice For Those Who Have Temporarily Given Up Menstruation

3 Dec

Many a woman might feel bitter when the young thing who stole away her prince (literally) comes out in the press as up the duff. Luckily, I’m not like that. I have come to accept that the relationship between Wills and me never would have lasted, and I bear no grudge against Catherine for her choices: having what can only be described as a relatively showy ceremony, becoming impregnated before we all are sure that the world in fact is not ending in 2012—it’s not my place to judge her. In fact, given my wonderfully generous nature, I have instead chosen to offer her a lesson that will also benefit any woman who finds herself in a family way.

It is, simply, get a grip.

PE BabyYou’ve chosen to bring another human being into this world and while it’s a morally questionable decision, it’s a done deal now. You may feel that the changes a child will bring are all going to be sweet and lovely, but stop relying on Christmas adverts for your information. Of course, there’s bound to be some nice things, but you need to be prepared for lots and lots of hassle and grief that basically will never ever ever go away. By the way, congratulations!

Let’s look at an analogy: when you were younger, you may have had a pet gerbil. If so, you know that gerbils need to be fed, watered and tidied on a pretty regular basis. If you wanted to sleep over at a friend’s house or go on holiday, you had to make arrangements to ensure the gerbil was taken care of. That’s pretty much what a baby is: a very large, hairless gerbil that lives inside your body until it is expelled down your lady chute and becomes completely dependent on you for (at least) the next sixteen to eighteen years.

Of course, if you neglected your gerbil, the worst thing that could have happened was that your parents grounded you for a weekend and you had to chuck the carcass out in the bin. If you mess about with your baby’s care, though, I’m afraid the consequences are a bit grander.

If you don’t take care of your offspring, you can seriously eff up its body and/or mind. We already have enough unhealthy and unhappy people in the world; no more are currently required, thank you. Additionally, the effects of any kind of neglect or abuse stay with a little person after they become a big person, and this is rarely good news for anyone. He or she may be unable to find love, may turn to criminal activities or, most worryingly of all, could gain a position of power in government and then we’ll all be buggered.

So buck up and grow up. Take care of yourself while you’re preggers—even if this means giving up certain foods, drinks or official tours of Commonwealth realms. The sprog’s well-being needs to be your priority now. Once the kid’s born, you’ll have even more responsibilities—ranging from preparing healthy foods and cleaning poo to showing love and teaching life skills. Basically, get yourself sorted.

Those of you who are non-breeders may assume that this advice is so incredibly obvious that I needn’t have sullied the pages of Everyone Needs An Algonquin discussing it. Alas, common sense is not as common as it should be. If you spend the next day counting all the people you meet whom you would describe as twattish, the number, I fear, will be quite large. Those people weren’t born twats, you know—they became twats and many did so because of poor behaviour on their parents’ parts.

39weeksBut also consider this: the American charity the March of Dimes is running a campaign whose sole purpose is to convince pregnant women to let their feotuses brew for the whole nine months. Now it seems pretty obvious to me that, unless there were an emergency, we’d just pretty much all agree to let the baby be born when he or she is ready to be born. But charities don’t spend money on campaigns that don’t have target audiences. Apparently there are women who need to be told not to muck about with their baby’s due date just because they’re sick of being pregnant. My beef’s not with the charity itself (dimes are actually one of my favourite coins and I strongly support anyone prepared to march for them). I just think its campaign indicates a pretty sad state of affairs.

So to the Duchess and anyone else whose rabbit has recently died, I say good luck on the adventure that is pregnancy and parenthood. Just be sure to make responsible choices from here on in. It might be helpful to remember  while you’re looking forward to the arrival of your little bundle of joy, that Klara Hitler was probably pretty excited about hers as well.

PS: Kate, do you mind if I call you Kate, I hope you are feeling better soon and the rest of your pregnancy is without pain or illness. Follow your doctors’ advice, get some rest and, despite what one semen-obsessed psychologist at SUNY-Albany says, don’t fall for that old ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ remedy for morning sickness.

The Big Reveal: Why Super-Injunctions Are Pointless

9 May

Here’s the thing about super-injunctions. They’re neither super, in nor at a junction. They make a mockery of freedom of the press and they are proven (scientifically) to be the worst way to keep a secret.

I certainly do not agree with many of the current tactics used by the press, and I find much of the gossip mongering that exists in the world quite distasteful (though, like with caviar, I will admit to engaging in it at times). However, it is much more appropriate to clarify the laws on phone hacking and punish those who have broken the law. I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to change the public’s thirst for gossip, but rich people paying a lot of money to keep their secrets is certainly not going to slow down the desire to know about others’ private lives. In fact, it’s only going to do the opposite.

People love juicy information. If you pay lots of money to keep a secret, ipso facto (look it up), that secret must be pretty damn juicy. That logic isn’t hard to follow.  So in many ways, super-injunctions just make people want to know your secret even more. Plus, once they find it out, they can judge you, not only for the secret itself (and why shouldn’t they, for clearly you are condemning your own behaviour by hiding it), but for the act of gagging the press.

And the thing is: they will find out. A super-injunction may delay it, but, let me assure you, all will be revealed. Adolf Hitler had a hell of a lot of power in his time, but did that stop us from finding out that he was 1. uni-testicular and 2. an occasional partaker in a vegetarian diet? No, that power did not keep his secrets for him.  It might be your own guilt that makes you confess. Maybe an Arabic translator will stumble across the sensational detail next to your name, while going through Osama’s papers. It might even be a careless remark made by your three-year-old child about that time he caught “Daddy doing something unseemly.” The point is: the world’s going to find out eventually.

Therefore, in the interest of encouraging other celebrities to take responsibility for their own behaviour and stop relying on their money to hide it away, I shall confess all my “dirty deeds.” I’m not proud of them (well, not all of them), but I am proud that I have neither abused the legal system to hide them nor consulted Max Clifford to deal with them.

1. Yes, I did sleep with Fidel Castro, but it meant nothing to me nor to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

2. I once paid a prostitute to the leave the area as I was expecting a foreign dignitary for tea and wanted to give the impression that my locale was whore-free.

3. Only 5% of the dancing was mine.

4. I spent some of D.B. Cooper’s money.

5. It was I who let the dogs out.

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