Friday, September 12, 2008

CSI (=Continuing Self Improvement) Hobart

So it's been quite a strange morning (not just because you should see the disturbing photo file of someone who added my Alicia Sacramone picture to their Flickr favourites...) - I'm obviously massively tense beyond words about Collingwood, and I'm still pretty ill. Do you think The Bangles could release Walk Like an Egyptian in 2008 (there's a Gadaffi spoof in the clip? Hoffs goes political?) without being branded horrible racists? Anyway, I went to JB Hifi - my favourite employee wasn't working, the woman who works on the door with Hobarts strangest smell, but her place was taken by a New Zealand front rower, who at one point thought I was going to steal a Bill Bailey DVD and moved to block my exit. Silly man - I don't steal anything less than a box set. However, it did once again prove my theory that I can't go anywhere in that store without 12 people suddenly taking a fascination in what I'm looking at and boxing me in. As an experiment, I stood in front of the M.A.S.H DVDs (who's going to be buying M.A.S.H in 2008? Who? Maybe if the spin offs AfterMash or W.A.L.T.E.R came out...) and after 5 seconds, the number of people in the aisle went from 2 to 12. I was completely boxed in, two people in front of me boxing me in starting pashing (tell me now something weird isn't going on?) and I was forced to listen to Metallica through my entire time in the store. Incidentally, Metallicas new album is a heavy metal album, you'll be shocked to know they haven't gone German folk. It was an interesting experiment in social dynamics to be flicking through the back catalogue of Miley Cyrus as Metallica was playing. I'm not happy by the way with the woman on VH1 having a chip at Yazz now I think of it. However, this virus I have is sort of getting better, and I'm starting to regain my natural cheery demeanour. I even managed a little cheerful flirty banter with the woman in the car park booth (isn't that the worst job in the world?) - she said no charge, and I said thanks...see...it's conversational gold like that that keeps me at the top of my chat up game...

However, I do accept one of the things that I really need to do in the next year (apart from not buy the new Metallica album) is undergo some self improvement. Since the only books published these days involve either a miserable childhood ("My missed penalty against Riana hell" isn't going to sell millions), the insprirational battle against a disease ("The inspiring story of one mans fight against verruccas" anyone?), or a zany quest towards self improvement (that Mark Watson book is so bad, Merv Hughes was stunned), it's only through the third that I will ever see my name in literary lights. Either that or I write the Indecent Obsession story. Anyway, my record in self improvement is terrible. Every single time I try to better myself through education it ends in disaster, or with me running away from a goth fairy reading poetry. This begun from an early age. One day we were taken to the wild moors of Kilbirnie to take a first aid course. I was really pumped up for the course, as one of the big UK shows of the time was a show called Rescue 911 with Michael Bourke about inspirational people doing inspirational things to save less inspirational people (ie. the injured) from dying. I thought well I'd rather be the inspirational resourceful MacGyver type than the benny lying on the ground with the broken leg. So I took the course really seriously, and studied all kinds of splints and complicated knots, and impressed everyone on the minibus with my knowledge of where various bones in the leg were. I was certain to be king of the (injured) kids, providing them with Powerade and a comforting manner wherever they lay (injured). This was all fine, until it came to our first exercise, CPR on a faceless store bought dummy hooked up to an effectiveness monitor that registered how well we doing. How confidently I strode to the front of the line, telling everyone that I was practically a doctor...and how I slunk back to the line a few seconds later when the monitor registered that I had pressed too hard on the wrong bone and actually the dummy was now legally dead. Even the girl I was trying to impress with my knowledge of New Kids On The Block gossip just shuffled away in embarrassment. She never did get my Bananarama tape off me, which is good...my interest in first aid really died after that, although I did have to punch a chicken bone out of Dads throat once...didn't make it on Michael Burke though....

My experience with killing the dummy did upset me though and took away my confidence, and I was reluctant to take up any other classes or self improvement (luckily this meant that I didn't go to the advertised breakdancing class - the last thing I needed was thin white Scottish kids trying to be Hammer) lest I hurt another blameless mannequin family. It took many years before I discovered that I could improve myself and my confidence through a mild talent for acting. I say mild because I was quite good at improvising things but when I was handed a script I turned into a Nicole Kidman (not a compliment). My interest in acting ground to a pretty sad halt one day when I was asked (I say asked, I basically said someone elses script was shit, that person said "I'd like to see you do better!" and I said "Easily!" then went, wait...damn it) to write a comedy script on the theme of "history made comic!" in Grade 8 (come on, you have to admit the concept is awful), and completely forgot about it, spending most of my time hanging out with the bad girls in Penguin outside Mitre 10...OK, would you believe playing Shinobi on the Game Gear? Naturally, I had to come up with some kind of excuse as to why I had promised a masterwork and delivered Fat Actress...so I came up with something that really seemed smart in my head...I said that I had been sick on the script. Yes, they'll certainly believe that, that you sat down and wrote a masterwork so hilarious it made you vomit. Surprisingly, no one believed it, and I had to come with something on the spot, that was so laborious, clunky and god awful, it was the second best thing in the class - which says a lot about Burnie drama. Still, from what I can remember of my script, it certainly had some devastating political points...did you know some politicians don't tell the truth? And the Indians got a bad deal? And maybe, just maybe, the Comedy Company was pretty rubbish? It left the class bleeding from the satirical mindfreak I inflicted on them, but it was a lot better than the fat kids script, which seemed very anti aborigine and had a lot of references to petrol....mind you, don't know if he was being satirical....

Since acting and first aid had proved to have poor potential to improve myself and my circumstance, I figured that I would improve myself by taking up playing soccer again as a way of getting fit - an ill advised decision, since the indoor league I joined was filled with combative Mexicans, Italians and Greeks with sharp elbows and a fair fondness for kicking people in the arse (instead of getting fit, I got a "fit" up the arse, a funny joke in Scotland). It was a hotbed of fouls and brawls, and one day one of these brawls led to a bandido style throwdown hot soccer challenge in a park in North Hobart, our team against their team, you got served style (but with goalkeepers). Strangely, after talking up for ages the big game between our team and their team, they seemed incredibly intimidated, and we beat them about 212-1, and I was feeling quite proud of myself. At which point, this little Spanish speaking kid rocking out on the swings has gone "Hey you!" and pointed to me, and he's drawn me in the dirt under the swings, drawn me with a big ruddy face, puffing as I ran, steam coming out of my ears. It was some incredibly good artwork, I must admit he had a good talent with the stick, but I don't know why he picked on me and not the bloke on our team called "Barrel", especially as I felt quite hit and looking (by my standards) quite the fox. I was a bit annoyed by his cheek, and went over to have a good look, and I was going to say something, but took it in good humour - I said to the kid, wow, that's very funny, tousled his hair, and called him a cheeky scamp. Actually, when his dad wasn't looking, I pushed him off the swing with a subtle hip and shoulder, and he landed with a big splat. "Mister hurt me!" (OK, he didn't really say that, but I had an image of Speedy Gonzalez that made me laugh) he began shouting, but I was already long gone, sprinting down the wing with grace and elan (two girls I'd met at Syrup the night before). Some critics have suggested that self-help books and programs offer "easy answers" to difficult personal problems. Me, I think, if you get the chance to get some revenge on some smart arsed kid, you should take it...I think that's self improvement point #1 in the Alisa Camplin book come to think of it...

And that was before I tried to learn how to bake...but that's quite the other story...

4 comments:

squib said...

What really creeps me out about first aid is the fact that you are sticking your lips over the mouth of a doll whose face is modelled on a cadaver fished up from the Seine. It's all very spooky

Anyway this post of yours reminds me of a Leunig cartoon

http://www.coachingpsychologist.net/Images/image001.jpg

Kath Lockett said...

Absolutely - always, repeat: always - resort to un-witnessed violence during times of stress, humiliation and doubt. Gold, my man, gold!

Mrs Slocombe said...

I have tagged you, um, bro, or whatever.....

Miles McClagan said...

Well, I did my first aid course again as part of Grade 9 PE, and I vaguely, vaguely passed, but I don't think there was a dummy involved, so I was disturbed...all it was was learning to make a splint.

Couldn't agree more - especially against some smart arsed kid, with artistic skills.

Tagged me? Does that mean I'm it?