Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In, Black Dog, Black Cat

bulk :: 19st 13 (I mean, what’s the point? Really. My body seems not to be able to tell the difference between chocolate and salad.)
exercise achieved :: swam 750m in about 50 minutes – it felt good, but that really is atrociously s l o w . . .
calories :: no idea. I’ve decided that calorie-counting is for gimps. No offence.
cigarettes :: none
packets of Nicorette gum chewed :: 4
alcohol units :: 16ish
black dogs saddled :: 1
ladies bewitched :: 1

So. I’ve been a little down of late. In fact, sometime on Sunday night I fell into a big black hole of total and utter despair and self-loathing.

God, I despised myself.

I should probably talk about it. I think it might help.

The word is pathetic. That’s how I felt. That’s generally how I feel when I get down. I just feel pathetic. I feel like a big useless turd of a man. Neither use nor ornament. Neither mickling nor muckling. And there’s nothing I can do about it. I looked at this blog and I thought: what on earth are you doing with your life, Stan Cattermole? And not one of the answers I came up with made me feel any better.

There were a number of factors I think leading to this particular bubble of despair, and again, I think it might help to go through them.

1) My coccyx doesn’t seem to be healing anywhere near as fast as it should and I want desperately to start running or something, I really do. I’m so fed up with this sedentary life of mine.

2) Love and Friends has yielded nothing. Not so much as an ironic wink. I don’t know what I expected really, but I guess I just thought – I don’t know – that someone might say hello or something. God, I’m wretched.

Is that it? That can’t be it, can it? Jesus. Oh, no, wait…

3) I’m fat and I’m fugly, and neither of these things seem to be going away. And with every wave of self-pity, there is an attendant wave of self-loathing. It’s like, how can one man be so incredibly self-indulgent? Self self self and I say to myself, I say Self, there’s nothing wrong with you, you spoilt Western toad! You’re relatively healthy, wealthy and wise, you should just shut the shit up and make the best of it. I know all that. I know it. Yet still, it persists…

However, there are two sides to even the most devalued coin – even chocolate coins, for God’s sake – therefore I should definitely list the things that helped me to shoo the black dog away. So here goes…

1) Keith left a message on my answerphone on Sunday night. It said: ‘Alright, mate. I’ve just got this terrible feeling that you’re sitting at home moping and feeling sorry for yourself and pissed off that you pigged out yesterday. If I’m wrong and you’re right as rain and off out celebrating your joy, then I’m happy to be so wrong. But if I’m right, then… I dunno. Cheer up, mate! You’re allowed to treat yourself once in a while, for God’s sake. It might not be good for your diet but it’s good for your soul. Your soul! Anyway, take care and speak soon… Oh, and everybody here loves you.’ At which point, in the background, Patricia, Ben and Dina all shouted, ‘We love you!’ and laughed. ‘You see?’ said Keith. ‘Seeya later, mate. Give us a bell. Bye.’

At the time, hearing the message made me feel even more pathetic than I already did. The idea that someone knew me well enough to know that I’d be sitting at home in a nauseating heap, too miserable even to sob, let alone pick up the phone, upset me. Was I so predictable? Was my pathetic personality so widely acknowledged?

But then 24 hours later, listening to the message again made me shudder and shake with dirty great tears of something approaching joy.

Then, as if by divine coincidence…

2) Ange called and asked me if I fancied going out for a drink on Thursday evening. I said I did. I do. We ended up chatting on the phone for over half an hour, which is something I generally don’t really do. At all. I have a very brusque phone manner apparently. But it was easy with Ange. I confessed that I’d been down and do you know what she did? She cheered me up.

I honestly didn’t think she’d be in touch again. It’s great to be wrong sometimes.

3) I’ve got a reader! Yes, you. You know who you are. You’re an American lady and basically, you said you’d do me to death - sight unseen - if only you didn’t already have a boyfriend. Alright, you didn’t quite use those words – because you’re classier than that. But you did describe me as ‘crush material’. And you did say, ‘Don't discount the power of brains coupled with a dark sense of humor.’ And that made me feel good. So thank you. You also said that I shouldn’t be so self-deprecating. I know you’re right of course, but believe me, it’s a hard habit to break.

So, what else has pleased me this week? Oh, yeah, further to my last meandering retch, I received a reply from David Baddiel. I wrote to him about Facebook Walliams. He wrote back:

He's not the real one. But I haven't bothered to take him off. The real one took himself off about three months ago.
If you look again at my site you'll see a link to a column I wrote in The Times about fake Facebookery.
At last count there were about four fake mes on Facebook.
And lastly: John Sessions. Please.

Good old Baddiel though eh?

On the back of our exchange, I thought I’d try to befriend all of the other David Baddiels on Facebook. Just for a laugh. But unfortunately, I ended up accidentally trying to befriend the real Baddiel. Now he thinks I’m a total nutbag.

Jesus, maybe I am.

However – nutbag or no – at least I have friends. And they mean the world to me. As does Pablo. My beautiful black cat.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I found your blog via a link via another link. It's bloody brilliant!

If it's any consolation (the consolation of a random stranger? Aye, fer shure), I have had a really crap couple of years, starting with selling my home, giving up my job and moving to another country to join my fiancee, who promptly dumped me for another bloke (I stayed in the new country - what else could I do?); and ending with getting burnout at work and having to ask for demotion. Not an awful lot of fun, as I'm sure you can imagine.

The Black Dog was a frequent visitor to my flat, and I got a little tired of the scratches his paws made on the paintwork, so I decided to do something about it (as you are doing yourself).

Without getting all evangelical and patronising, I just want to say: Keep at it! It WILL pay off. Eventually. I wrote up a manifesto - "How to stop being such a sad bastard" - and stuck it on my kitchen door so I had to look at it every morning. It included things like join a dating site, go out more, occasionally tidy my flat, lose some weight, and learn the local language.

A year later, and I've quit the dating site (still not pulled, but my social life is buzzing, and I'm a bit less 'desperate'), passed my first language exam, and sometimes even clean my flat. The weight loss has been carried over to this year's manifesto, though... oops.

So, good luck, and stick at it!

Best Wishes,