I have never been that bothered about breaking rules. This is not Internet bravado – merely, having calculated the chances of getting caught or measuring the consequences, stepping over someone else’s line is almost always worth the risk. Which makes speeding and under age drinking perfectly all right, while ensuring setting fire to Belgium probably isn’t*
But here we must draw a distinction when considering my own rules. For those of you immersed in the deep thinking philosophy of the hedgehog, these should be self-evident. For anyone still clinging to sanity, let me explain the guiding principles:
1: Life is too short to drink with arseholes
2: You can’t take it with you when you go**
And because the gravitational pull of these morality comets is inescapable for those of us who find life a little too confusing, it was a shock to find myself with a handful of beer and a face full of idiot. He had a silly name and a stupidly elevated view of his own importance – an impression I was unfortunately to cement during an indeterminable passage of time.
It was like the worse wedding you have ever been too, only with signifcantly more corporate cock. He grooved through the traditional gambit of birthplaces, work experiences and then – with a noticeable acceleration of enthusiasm – wouldn’t it be a great idea if we played a round of golf.
But I’ve been around this kind of nonsense for far too long, so was ready for it. I responded to his question with an expression – honed over twenty years of received bullshit – which best translates to “Do I look like a total FuckNugget? Actually, don’t answer that, just assume I am not”
He only bloody ignored it. He was too busy talking and not listening, gesticulating and not looking, trying to charm, never failing to annoy. And before I knew it the whole facade has been escalated to “Hey why not bring your boss – you know the important person I really want to talk to – and make sure he’s ready to sign some purchase orders”
I try and convey – through the little understood art of facial poetry – that if he doesn’t cease and desist RIGHT THIS SODDING INSTANT, I shall be forced to slam his forehead onto the table, remove his spleen with my soup spoon, before hunting down and exterminating his immediate family to ensure they cannot breed.
Like the pro he knew he was he ignored that as well, instead asking how long I’d had that difficult squint. I resorted to explaining my only hobbies were Herring Throwing and – when they were out of season – Moon Drilling. He still didn’t get it, but that’s what happens if you’re unaware why the human design calls for one mouth and two ears.
Desperately searching for violence displacement activity, I struck on an idea as simple as it was brilliant. I held up a finger for silence, rested my elbows in a threatening manner and – in a tone so flat it could have been laser cut – said: “Let me stop you there. You need to understand my life rules”
The evening improved immeasurably after that.
* Because the reward of being awarded a Nobel prize for inspiring urban planning is mitigated by the risk of spending a hundred years in prison.
** Although the financially prudent amongst you may archly observe that “You still need some money while you’re still here“