I went to the doctor’s on Friday. Fear not, reader, I’m not ill but I have been iffy recently and thought better to have a check up in case it turned out to be something I could fix.
After a quick exam I was asked to hop on the scales.
This is par for the course, at least for chubsters like me. I get it. Weight can be an exacerbating factor for many things and a doc should prompt you to get fitter in the same way they should tell people to quit smoking, health promotion is part of their job.
I don’t get when people complain about doctors advising them to lose weight, I mean, sure it should be approached tactfully, but what do you expect them to do? Ignore something that might be detrimental to your health?
So, logically I don’t mind. But I still feel embarrassed. Of course, it was about to get worse.
I stepped on and the shot round like Usain Bolt in a jetpack.
In fact it shot right by the last number.
Yes, my weight was beyond the measurements of the scale.
If only blushing burnt calories. I’d have dropped half a stone easy.
The Doc, without a word, fetched a second scale. This had a display screen. This could show my weight.
I know I’m big. I didn’t expect to step off at 10st or something. But seeing it in black and white hammers home.
Before uni, I was the lightest I had been for years. I was jogging, eating better and walking everywhere. I’m now back where I started in 2011, where I got on the scales for the first time in years.
The weight loss resolution is dead in the water. Penny pinching for the wedding meant I had to stop Chub Club. Laziness and apathy has seen my weight tick up slowly. Worse, I knackered my knee last year and that means jogging is out.
The doctor advised power walking. I have become Harold Bishop.
Dropping weight for the wedding seems a folorn hope. 5 months to go. Suit fitting in a month. I can shift a bit by October, hopefully, but it won’t be a lot.
Looking good and being comfortable in Florida looks unlikely.
The blame lies with me, and I need to buck up and sort this out. I can’t run, but there’s a local gym. It has a pool, but I don’t think I’m ready for that.
I have to do better.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
Would you rather be the best in the world at climbing trees or the best in the world at jumping rope?
I think I would go for the trees, because that’s probably something I’d enjoy more. I could be a nature photographer or something, climbing up to get pictures of the critters and whatnot.
Being able to jump rope well wouldn’t help as I’m not a Victorian schoolgirl or a boxer.
Would you rather live in a cave or a tree house?
Tree house. Aside from people terrified of the slightest height, who would pick the cave? Especially as some tree houses are pretty awesome.
Would you rather have everything on your phone (browser history, pictures etc.) accessible to anyone who Googles you or never use a cell phone again?
The inconvenience of not having a phone would be pretty annoying, especially as I like using my phone as a distraction. But at the same time, would I rather lose that and have my personal stuff shared?
I guess I’d have to sacrifice my phone. Because while it’s highly unlikely people would be Googling me, I’d rather not run the risk of some random getting my emails and text messages.
Would you rather be accidentally responsible for the death of a child or accidentally responsible for the deaths of three adults?
If I’m picking one or the other surely the “accidental” part is out the window? Because you’re choosing one of the options to happen?
This is a really tough one, because like most normal people killing a child is utterly beyond the pale, but it’s rather hard to condemn three over one. Logically you should pick the kid, but there’s that emotional aspect that just messes with you.
This is a rough one. I guess I’d pick the kid, because I think the loss of three adults would have a much wider impact on the world, and the guilt over three lives is bound to be more intense, surely?
Would you rather all plants scream when they are cut/picked or animals beg for their lives when killed?
I imagine that animals make a lot of noise anyway, but as I’m not responsible for killing my own food I don’t have to face that. On the other hand, with plants I do cut the grass occasionally and pick blackberries so the screams would impact my life more.
So, I’d rather animals beg for their lives, simply because I don’t have to hear them.
I wonder if we did have to kill our own food more of us would be veggies?
Would you rather lose your best friend or all of your friends except your best friend?
I don’t really have a best friend, more like a circle of friends who are at the same level. So, I’d probably pick to keep that little group at the cost of everyone else than the other way round as I’ve been mates with them for years, and can probably do without the more distant friends and acquaintances better.
Would you rather have the police hunting you for a murder you didn’t commit or a psychopathic clown hunting you?
I hate clowns.
At least the cops would have to abide by certain rules and hopefully could be convinced of my innocence. But a psycho clown? Probably not open to reason.
And I’d be freaked out the whole time. So, I’d take the police option. Unless I thought there was a chance I could take the clown.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
Would you rather find your true love or a suitcase with £5m inside?
Well, as I’ve already met my true love I’m set for that, so the £5m would be a lot more useful.
Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day?
If this was a long term thing I would pick flight because I just think that would be cooler, and I think being invisible would be more annoying than people think.
But for one day it might be quite fun to sneak around and see what goes on behind closed doors, and I don’t mean that in a creepy “go into the girls’ showers” way. I think it would be interesting to go snooping in the corridors of power or just see what celebrities do in their own homes.
Basically I’m a nosy bugger.
Would you rather have to read aloud every word you read or sing everything you say out loud?
It has to be the singing, doesn’t it?
As embarrassing as that would be, imagine having to read out every text message you received, or every private letter or email? Not only would you look a bit of a numpty but you’d also potentially embarrass others and create all kinds of dramas.
So, on this one I’d rather walk around singing everything like a tone deaf Phantom.
Would you rather live a comfortable and peaceful life in a small cabin in the woods or life full of conflict in a mansion in the city?
Small cabin in the woods. Who wants conflict all the time? Easy one, that.
Would you rather your shirts always be two sizes too big or one size too small?
As an insecure fat man, I would obviously go for the two sizes too big. I hate clothes that cling to me, as they seem to accentuate my belly and other wobbly bits.
That being said, I was once told by a girl in a club that I’d look better in less baggy clothes. It was a while back after I’d lost some weight and the shirt was hanging off me, but it was an odd backhanded compliment to receive from a stranger.
Would you rather have edible spaghetti hair that regrows every night or sweat maple syrup?
Sweating syrup sounds utterly revolting. You’d be sticky all the time when it got hot, have to change your sheets every day and get chased by bees all the damn time.
Edible spaghetti hair for me, I think.
Would you rather be lost in a bad part of town or lost in the woods?
Neither seems ideal, but at least a bad part of town has streets and signposts so that I could work my way out. I’d rather that than blindly stumbling through the woods, running into who knows what.
Also, call me soft but even in “bad parts” of town most people are basically alright and if you asked for directions they’d help you out.
In the woods I’d have to try and remember things like what side of the tree moss grows on, or pray to find someone out in the woods.
Disagree? You know what to do. BETEO.
Farmer Giles looked up in the sky, just as a bird pooed in his eye, said Farmer Giles “Thank goodness cows can’t fly”
My grandad died the other week, after a short spell in hospital. He was 86, and when he was admitted it was clear that his time was coming to an end.
The poem at the start is something my Bampa told us when we were kids and in the days after his passing popped into my sister’s head.
Memories are what we are left with when a loved one passes on. Memories which define how we carry on the person inside us.
My grandad and I didn’t always get on. As I grew into a lazy, geeky teen he must have felt that we had little in common. Bampa had worked since he was 14, and was a traditional man in many ways, he could make things, he could fix things, and I suspect he saw me as soft. My long hair annoyed him and he’s often tell me that “two years in the army” would sort me out.
But I know he loved me. And all of his family. He didn’t say it, I don’t think he knew how. He came from a time when men didn’t talk about their feelings, or even admit they had them.
But we knew. It was there in the fact he always asked how we were doing, in the small kind moments and the way he was with us. The pride he had in the achievements of his kids and grandkids. He was never soft, but there was warmth and gentleness there.
He and my Nan were married for over 50 years, and they seem to have spent most of that time bickering. If there is an afterlife they’ve probably started back up again.
I choose to remember Bampa in his house with my Nan. Winking at us as he deliberately wound her up or teased her. Of telling us the same jokes over and over, but his delight in them and the delivery always raising a smile even if you groaned first.
I remember him telling stories, either of his childhood mischief, no doubt exaggerated, or made up yarns which kept us hooked and begging for a few more minutes before bed. Stories of magic and ghosts, which we lapped up.
I’ll remember him whenever I watch football.
Remember the wooden goal he built in the garden so we could play, of his coaching in how to pass and head. Of his criticism of divers and talk of how it had been “in his day”, when the ball was heavy and the rules more relaxed.
His patience when I bounced around on the sofa jabbering away, trying to copy the players I loved. I’ll remember sitting next to him and my Dad at the Vetch when they took me to my first Swansea game. It rained, but I didn’t care. We won and I loved the noise and feeling grown up.
I’ll remember him and it won’t matter that he’d believe and jump on every health far the paper told him. Or that he gave me grief about my long hair.
I’ll remember him for the hero he was to me as a kid, and the man I understood better as an adult. I’ll love him for being my Bampa, and a central figure in countless happy memories.
Another batch of would you rather questions
Would you rather live as a regular person in a utopia or live in dystopia but you are the supreme ruler?
In a utopia I imagine that living as a regular person is probably alright, maybe a bit dull, but no major worries. I would have to pick that.
While I can imagine that being supreme ruler would be pretty cool, if it’s a dystopia that means that there are unhappy people out there and you’d have to deal with them trying to kill you. That would suck, and also could you really enjoy knowing that you’d made the majority of people suffer for your power and comfort?
I don’t think I’d do it, so yeah, I’d be a regular guy in a perfect world.
Would you rather be forced to kill a kitten or a puppy?
Damn, this is a dark one. Do I have to answer?
Are we talking forced as in one of those “unless you kill this animal the world ends” kinda deals? Because in that case I guess it would have to be, and don’t hate me for this, a puppy. What can I say, I’m a cat person,
Would you rather live in a haunted house where the ghosts ignored you and did their own thing or be a ghost in a house living out a pleasant and uneventful week of your life again and again?
Have the ghosts ignore me. I find it hard to imagine anyone picking the other option. Can you imagine having to go over the same week again and again. Having a house with some ghosts would definitely be the better option.
You would have proved that ghosts exist and could charge people to come see them. It has that going for it, while being a ghost yourself means that (a) you’d be stuck in a loop and (b) you would have to die!
Would you rather be famous for inventing a deadly new weapon or invent something that helps the world but which someone else gets credit for?
You’d have to be a serious egomaniac to go for the weapon option, wouldn’t you? I’d hope that the satisfaction of helping millions of people would be enough without the glory and I’d be happy to.watch the good without getting the credit.
I’d rather do that than have a name cursed for inventing something that kills people.
Would you rather move to a new city/town every week or never leave the city/town you were born in?
Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, so sod that. Especially as I’d be moving where I didn’t know anyone. Nope, as flawed as Swansea is, I would much rather live there than have to pack my stuff up every week. And it has perks- a lot of my friends are local, I could go see the Swans and Ospreys and I know the city quite well.
Would you rather get £5 for every song you sing in public or £50 for every stranger you kiss?
As terrible as my voice is and as much as I hate performing, I would have to become a busker or karaoke regular to make that cash. I’m a happily engaged man so have no desire to kiss strangers anymore, so I’d take the singing as I’d earn more money that way.
Would you rather live under a sky with no stars at night or under a sky with no clouds during the day?
This is probably the easiest one this time around. I would pick to have no stars. While they’re pretty to look at I just think that clouds are more useful, because of rain and also the British public aren’t ready to live in constant sunshine. We’d live in a constant state of barbecues and lobster coloured workmen.
Would you rather wake up as a new random person every year and be in control of them for a year, or one day a week go into a stranger’s body but have no control?
As appealing as living as someone else might seem, I think constantly shifting every year would be a drag. So, I guess I’d rather just go into someone else for one day a week as an observer. It might be frustrating if they were making bad choices or doing things you disagree with, but it might be interesting to see the world from a fresh angle.
Disagree with my choices? You know what to do. BETEO.
I read an article recently about why people shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving work on time. My reaction was surprise that someone would feel bad about that.
For me I always want to finish on time, if not early, and if possible I like to walk out on the dot without a backward glance.
Leaving late provokes nothing but rage. I give 37.5 hours a week to my employers as agreed, every single second over that is mine and therefore precious.
The only time I would happily leave late is if I worked flexitime, and so knew that half an hour every day Monday-Thursday would mean I could start my weekend two hours earlier on Friday. Or if I worked where you had a decent clocking in system which would add all the extra minutes over a month and pay you for them.
But most jobs don’t work that way. I’ve always for an hourly wage, and in some cases unless you go way over you don’t get paid extra. Five, ten minutes over and you’re working for free.
So, why should I feel guilty? I’ve done what I’m paid to do, and I don’t owe my employer anything beyond that.
And if I did work a salaried job 9-5 I’d expect and hope to be out by 5:01. I have a friend who was in at 7pm one evening, still at the office. Bugger that. If I stayed that late I’d have a lie in the next day, rock up at 11. Or expect a bonus.
I know some may be tutting over this, criticising my work ethic. Well to them I have one thing to say;
“Strong work ethic” sounds like a good thing.
But who is it good for? Your boss is who.
Seriously, most times someone is praised for their work ethic you may as well be praising them for making it easier for their boss to walk over them.
Staying late? Taking on extra responsibilities and duties?
Who wins? Your boss. They get more of your time for the same price, or more work out of you. If you work somewhere that wants you to routinely finish late or have to do more than what you’ve signed up for your boss probably needs to hire more staff.
Your strong work ethic helps them to save money by not hiring and paying somebody else. And you’re stopping someone else from having a job. Bravo.
The employee-boss relationship is a deal. You exchange your time and toil for their cash. As long as you meet your half of the bargain (agreed hours and duties) then you deserve the payment. If they want you to exceed that they should match that increase, if they’re not going to, then screw ’em.
You kept your part of the deal, now get your arse home.
Because nobody is going to be on their deathbed lamenting the fact they didn’t spend more time at work. Go home. Have fun. See your loved ones.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
The M5 slowed to a crawl as the cars filtered into the inside lane to pass a lorry standing still in the middle lane. In the outside lane was a car facing the wrong way, the driver side of the bonnet mangled, showing the cause of the delay.
Truck vs car.
Luckily all seemed unhurt and two other cars had stopped to help set up those high viz emergency triangle things.
We drove by and moved back into the middle lane, overtaking a black car on the inside.
The driver, a young bloke in his early twenties was on his phone. Not talking but actually typing on his phone as his passenger dozed next to him.
“That guy’s on his phone.” I commented.
“What?” Asked MWF.
“That guy is using his phone. And we’ve literally just passed an acc-”
The rest of the sentence was drowned out by a loud blaring horn. The texting driver looked up in shock, his passenger jolted awake, startled and confused.
“GET OFF YOUR PHONE! YOU IDIOT!” Roared MWF.
That should have been it. Admonished for his wrongdoing, the driver should have put down his phone and thanked his lucky stars that we weren’t cops who would have handed him 6 points and a £1000 fine.
But it wasn’t. Using the phone might have been a one off but he was about to prove that he was a bad driver.
He gunned after us, tailgating before overtaking and cutting us up.
It was a pathetic display of the male ego hurt, with the moron unable to accept he had been called out for doing something criminal and possibly dangerous. He doubled down on the danger by putting others at risk in what was clearly intended as intimidation.
And he wasn’t done.
Coming up to a junction he moved into the inside lane and we were passing alongside to carry on. As we were passing he swerved towards us and then took his turning heading for Penshore.
It’s a shame none of us got his number plate, but one hopes karma finds him and next time he uses his phone a copper spots him.
It seems like him losing his licence would be the best outcome, as he clearly lacks the patience and maturity to handle the responsibility of driving. His pride hurt his response was to become more reckless and stupid.
Don’t be a dick at the wheel, someone could get hurt.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
So, I recently found this list of “Would You Rather?” questions and thought they might be quite good to do as blog posts. It’ll give me something to write when I’m blocked and I figure I can run them as a regular feature on the blog. If you agree or disagree with my decisions or arguments then feel free to comment down at the bottom. Let’s dive in (decided to shuffle through randomly apart from first three):
Would you rather always be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early?
Initially I was going to say I’d rather be late because getting there early is a drag and sitting around waiting for someone always makes me feel awkward. But then I thought being ten minutes late would actually be more frustrating, you’d miss the start of things and more importantly always piss your mates off. So I’d go for always being early, and just make sure I took a book or had my phone charged.
Would you rather lose all your money and valuables or all of the photos you’ve ever taken?
Call me mercenary, but I’d rather lose all the photos I’ve ever taken. I’d be able to take more photos. Thankfully I’m at a stage where I can still remember all the good times I’d want photos of, and I think it would be easier to live without them than all the cash I have.
Would you rather be able to see 10 minutes into your future or 10 minutes into the future of anyone but yourself?
I’m not entirely sure on this one, because seeing ten minutes ahead for you would be interesting but would rob you of any surprises. Ten minutes into someone else’s future might actually be cooler and more interesting. I think if you could swap who you saw that would be awesome, because you could be ahead of the curve on everything.
I’d also be able to be a great reporter as I’d always update quickly.
Would you rather be an average person today or a king 2500 years ago?
I can definitely see the appeal of being a king.
But I imagine that life 2500 years ago would be kinda dull even as a royal. No novels? No pop music? Lower life expectancy? Superstition running wild? Nah, I think I’ll stay an average Joe today.
Would you rather have no fingers or no elbows?
My first instinct was to get rid of my elbows, but then I realised how awkward it would be to walk around with constantly straight arms. It would make life so much harder and would mean I couldn’t do things like hug MWF or hold my kids in the future. So, I guess I’d have to get rid of my fingers. I just think there’s more in place to help with that than to assist an elbowless man.
Would you rather get tipsy from one sip of alcohol and ridiculously drunk from just one alcoholic drink or never get drunk regardless of how much you drink?
Tipsy off one sip would be pretty cool. I mean, it’d be easier to avoid getting absolutely hammered, as you would just not drink past a sip or two, and you’d save money to reach the fun drunk stage.
Never getting drunk would be annoying, you’d go on a night out and just be sober until the end. As someone who needs a bit of a buzz to really cut loose on the dance floor it would mean I’d never dance again, which while no loss to the world of dance would be a bummer as I quite like a boogie.
Would you rather always be able to see 5 minutes into the future or always be able to see 100 years into the future?
If it was a one time thing I would pick the 100 years option because it’d be quite cool to see where we are in a century’s time, but if it’s something I do a lot then I think the five minutes is more useful. I mean, it’d be great for gambling purposes but also be rather handy for other stuff, like fighting crime. I’m assuming I see five minutes ahead but can impact or react to it. Seeing what is going to happen with no control would just be a pain.
But how creepy would it be to look five minutes into the future and just see nothing?
Would you rather randomly time travel =/- 20 years everytime you fart or teleport to a different place on Earth (on land, not middle of ocean) whenever you sneeze?
I’m assuming you come back, right? Like fart one is forward twenty and then the second fart brings you back? And the same principle for the sneezes, right? For the purpose of this question I’m using that as the rule.
I would go for the farting one. For starters, I sneeze more often than I fart so it’s less of an inconvenience, and I also seem to sneeze when I get out of the shower, so I’d wind up just turning up at different places naked and confused. Also, I could jump into a very dangerous situation, like a less fun version of Quantum Leap.
And while that idea might seem funny to you, and might produce hilarious consequences I feel it would more likely create embarrassing and potentially legally hazardous ones.
Top 5 Worst Places to Just Appear Naked:
- A school, I don’t want to be on a register or scare/traumatise some kids.
- One of those strict countries where I’d probably get lashes/prison unless I could sneeze again.
- Middle of the pitch during a major sporting event, in front of thousands in attendance and millions, and millions, watching at home.
- Inside Buckingham Palace or the White House, as might get shot by security forces.
- Porn set. I can live without having to compare myself physically to a porn star in person.
Would you rather spend two years with your soulmate only to have them die and you never love again or spend your life with someone nice you settled for?
First of all, I don’t believe in soulmates. The whole idea seems daft to me, I think you’re a full person on your own and don’t need someone to complete you.
Also, I would rather have a long life with someone nice than two years and then loneliness until death. So, yeah, I’d pick the “settle” option, although the phrasing is a little harsh. I think knowing they were going to kick the bucket after two years would actually be even worse.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I worked in a pawn shop for a couple of months. It was grim. My boss was an utter wanker, the days were long and tedious, and there was a constant stream of depressed looking “customers”.
The boss would buy stuff off people who were in desperate need of some cash, and if they didn’t buy it back within a month he would sell it on, making a profit.
We took a lot of stuff and most was generic stuff that nobody could form sentimental attachments with- TVs, kitchen appliances and so on.
Others were a bit more personal and therefore more depressing. It’s hard not to be moved by the fact someone had to pawn their kid’s bike or their engagement ring just for some quick cash.
I found musical instruments fitted into this category. An untouched, unplayed guitar or keyboard has a forlorn air about them. They hint at potential unrealised or a dreams abandoned. Someone bought that guitar with aspirations and ambition, but those were abandoned because they were short on rent or needed to buy food.
The guitars didn’t get plucked. Nobody shredded a mind blowing solo on them. They didn’t even gently weep. They just stood there, silent and untouched until the boss nagged at us to clean them.
Of course, they would get sold on. There was always some new dreamer who’d stroll in and rescue them, giving them another chance at musical glory.
But I saw one recently that I doubt will shift. I’d strolled into a shop in Barry for a new old game to replace FIFA as my obsession. About to leave I looked at a wall of guitars.
One stood out. It was unique to say the least.
It was so different and individual, and delightfully tacky.
MWF disagrees, seeing it as awful whereas I think that it’s one of those occasions where some thing’s badness is the charm.
I quickly formed an image of the previous owner. I imagined that they were into ’80s and ’70s rock in a big way. This had probably played a Scorpions song or two, or some Van Halen riffs.
I was surprised that the store had bought it, unless they thought the guy (99% sure it would be a guy) would come back for it. They can’t have expected to sell it on.
I mean, it’s so different that the chance of finding someone else who will pick this one is slim. Tastes differ and I imagine this wouldn’t be to everyone’s.
A kid wanting to be the new Ed Sheeran won’t want something like that. A guy who plays in a wedding band will pass it over. No, this is an instrument which will only appeal to a select few.
I went back in a short while later, and it’s still there. Part of me wants to keep going in to check on it. I imagine it will be there for a while until another hair metal fan wanders in and spots it.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
Those two words can drag you right down the rabbit hole. You think about how things might have played out differently, chances missed and roads not taken.
Of course, it’s all pointless. Any science fiction fan knows that one slight change can create a whole parallel world.
Given a time machine and the chance to do things over would I, knowing it risked what I have now?
My life isn’t perfect, and there are things I’d change but for the most part I’m happy. I’m marrying a fantastic woman later this year and am relatively healthy. Who knows what altering something I did might do?
Let’s say I went back and worked harder in uni the first time, actively pursued a writing career and became a writer for real. Read by thousands, not just whatever schmucks stumble across my blog. In some alternate world I might be their version of Hunter S. Thompson or Norman Mailer.
But without the winding, unplanned path I’ve taken the past decade I wouldn’t have wound up trying to be a nurse. I wouldn’t have met MWF and wouldn’t be sat in our house, our cat dozing on my lap, writing this. I might be sat lonely in some flash flat, or dating someone I don’t love. I could be divorced. I could be dead.
That’s the scary thing about the whole alternate reality thing. Sure, there are infinite possibilities of where your life has taken you but there are millions of universes where your story already finished. Or never even began.
Worlds where your mum and dad never met because some minor event went a different way earlier on. And the whole thing just expands to mind bending proportions. The fact that it’s you reading this is a result of thousands of years of things going a certain way, and that one tiny bump might have meant it didn’t happen.
Hell, a chromosome either way and you’d be a different gender.
It’s the kind of thing that starts to mess you up when you think about it. When you realise just how close you’ve come to having a different life. The whole thing is an exercise in wishful thinking, you wonder about how you could have done stuff right and been better off, but the fact is at a certain point you’d have stopped being you.
Our experiences are what shapes us, I am who I am because of the mistakes and failures along the way as much as my wins. I’ve learnt and grown because of things which have hurt me or been difficult, and if I had a smoother road I might have developed in a different way. And the fact is, while I know there are parts I could improve, for the most part, I like who I am today.
I may not have the job I want, but in the world where I played for Wales or became a superhero I might have lost out on the stuff I do have.
So why torture myself with what if questions? I should just appreciate the good that I have in my life, and work to change the parts I don’t like.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.