Monday, 8 June 2015

... For my friend Brendon

I turned 30 something this year, which – touch wood – should mean I'm well under halfway through my life. So here’s my question – why does it feel as if the extended warranty on my body ran out a couple of years ago and since then everything has started to fall apart?

If you think it’s hard to find spare parts for a second hand European car, try sourcing them for a broken down body.

I first started noticing it when something as simple as moving came with it’s own soundtrack.  Five years ago, when I got out of bed in the morning, it was done silently.  These days it’s accompanied by a groan akin to a Hungarian weightlifter completing the clean and jerk, crossed with the type of phone call that’s charged at $4.95 per minute.

OK. I was out with my radio jock friend recently and he seemed a little too happy, so I asked him what the problem was. Seems his brother is getting married and he was asked if he’d be best man.  He loves him and all of that, and is privileged to be part of his brother’s special day, but secretly, I think he’s so pleased because he get’s a title – Best Man!!

I really don’t think he’s ever been referred to as ‘best’ of anything  To be honest, as the sort of bloke who calls ‘Hire a Hubby’ when something goes wrong at his house, he’s just pleased to be called a ‘man’.

It has to be said, though, that the title of ‘best man’ at a wedding is a little overstated.  For starters, your presence there is a certainly less important than, say, the groom, which immediately relegates you to ‘second best man’.

Of course, the priest is usually male, and if you believe in that sort of thing, he has a direct line to God, so that knocks you down the order again.  Then more often than not, there’s a father of the bride, which means you’re now not even on the podium, coming in as ‘fourth best man’.

I seriously can’t begin to imagine how it works at a gay wedding where there are two of everything.

This is how the conversation went – He said he was excited but also nervous about his duties.  He only has one brother so even if he’s the fourth best man, he still wants to make sure he does a good job.

He said he can handle the speech bit, but he’s not got any idea of the rest.  Does he book a stripper?  (For the buck’s party, of course as – he says – even he knows that it would be in bad taste at the church)
Needing help, we took out the iPad, looked online and after spending a few minutes on sites that seemed to skip the ceremony and concentrate on the wedding night, we found that he needed a “Dummy’s Guide To Being Best Man”.

I told him he would have to dance with the bridesmaids.  Not a problem there, he said.  As long as they know the steps to the Macarena, the Time Warp and YMCA.  He is also happy to organise the tossing of the garter.  However he’s not sure if he can find enough single men, because, let’s face it, at our age ………… so would it be wrong to invite those whose relationships are a bit rocky?

Oh, don’t worry.  It’ll be OK on the night.  After all, you’re the fourth best man!!

We had been invited to a fancy dress party!!!  My complaining started the minute we received the invitation in the mail. Fancy Dress Party: Come dressed as the thing that scares you most! “But I’m not scared of the usual stuff like spiders, snakes, vampires and ghosts” I complained, “and the costume shop never has something for existential angst!”

“Stop being a wanker,” my friend replied, “just make a list of things you are scared of and then choose one of those.” So I did, and you know what, it turns out I am scared of heaps of stuff.

For example I’m scared that when people around me are speaking in a foreign language that they are talking about me being fat. 

I’m terrified that I will die before the final episode of Game of Thrones  and I will never understand what was going on with that bloody series; I’m even more terrified I will see the final episode of Game of Thrones and I will still not understand what was going on with that bloody series.

Babies… you know, just in general; 

I’m anxious that the fun I had in my twenties will destroy my brain and I will become one of those old sheilas who just repeats her same stupid jokes all the time; 

I’m scared that I am too happy most of the time to think of anything genuinely deep to say; 

I’m virtually terror-stricken that one day soon a comedian will make a joke and the Australian Family Association will complain they really shouldn’t be joking about things crossing roads, I mean won’t somebody please think of the chickens? 

I’m scared of having an ugly baby, but I don’t know it’s ugly and all my friends pretend but then one day I am walking down the street and someone says: “Why do you have that monkey in a pram?”; 

I’m fearful that I will be shunned at dinner parties in Fitzroy and Newtown if I tell my friends that even though I loved The Wire, I think SVU is a far-superior crime series; (Oh and while we are on a roll I didn’t get the end of Twilight either); 

I’m scared that one day I will push a cotton bud too far into my ear. 

I’m worried I should have kept more receipts; 

I’m scared that I’ll never be mature enough not to giggle when they mention former IOC President Dick Pound’s name on the TV; 

I’m scared our government will never have the balls to let gay people marry and I will have to be ashamed of that all my life; 

I’m scared that someone will be staying at my house and open a cupboard and find something embarrassing like a bong or a DVD box-set of Home and Away; 

I’m terrified I will become one of those boring middle-aged people who gets angry at young people for doing the exact same things I did when I was young; 

I’m scared that I’m right and there is no God, and existence is meaningless, and I really should have just gone to the beach; 

I even more scared the crazy guy in the mall with the cardboard sign is right and there is a God and he is going to be really mad at what I did as a teenager; 

I’m afraid that I should have done something productive in my life like settle down and have a baby; 

I’m scared shitless that if I did settle down and have a baby I would immediately regret it and wish I had spent the money on buying DVD box-sets which I would enjoy a lot more and would never tell me they hated me and that I had ruined their life; 

I’m terrified of falling over and knocking out some of my front teeth, I’m even more terrified this will result in people thinking I am British; 

I’m scared that pain in my hip that I have now had for a couple of years, and assumed would go away at some stage, is now just how my hip feels; 

I am scared the person I am in my head isn’t the way that other people see me; 

I’m afraid I don’t tell the people I love that I love them enough, and I am terrified I tell strangers in the mosh-pit at the Big Day Out that I love them way too much; 

I’m scared that I will die young and never get to see Hawthorn win another premiership; 

I’m scared that I will live to 100 and get a telegram from King William that says: “I’m sorry you never got to see Hawthorn win another premiership”; 

I’m afraid the one thing I will regret just before I die is that I didn’t eat enough chocolate; 

I’m scared that I should have spent more time in my life worrying about things like world poverty and less worrying about whether I set the tape for Masterchef Australia; 

But, you know, where do you get a costume that says that?

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