The Top 8 Pitfalls of Being a Superhero

Being unemployed does crazy things to a person. The longer I’m a jobless hobo, the more I find myself considering professions that would otherwise have gone overlooked. Such as, though not exclusive to:

  • Pole Dancer.
  • Forklift Truck Driver.
  • Brain Surgeon.
  • Life Model.
  • Superhero.

Fear not – I would never be a Life Model. Being a Superhero however does appeal. Just imagine – I could use my superpowers to rid the world of evil, hatred and Justin Bieber.

Being a caped crusader is not without its drawbacks though. Who knew?

THE TOP 8 PITFALLS OF BEING A SUPERHERO

The Moral Code. Goddam’ it. ’Willingness to risk one’s own safety for others, without expectation of reward’. No reward you say? None at all? Not even Jaffa Cakes?

Your Highly Questionable Outfit. Nobody looks good in Spandex. Not even David Beckham.

Chafing. Trust me – no amount of Vaseline can protect you.

Everyone Knows Your Achilles Heel. Most mere mortals can hide their flaws with some camouflage make-up and good lighting. Your faults make the front page.

You’re On-Call 24/7. Even during The Apprentice.

You Can Never Find a Phone Booth When You Need One. Like when you only have a nanosecond to get changed into your leotard. (I blame mobile phones).

Your Archenemy. One mega-villain trying to take over the world. Again. It’s exhausting.

There’s No Room in Your Utility Belt for Hair Straighteners. How can they expect you to be photo-ready at a moment’s notice if you can’t address the state of your tresses?

Upon reflection, I have decided that superheroism is not for me. I think I’ll give brain surgery a go instead.

Any volunteers?

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Oh Dear Diaries…

I have spoken before about the trauma I suffered aged six, when my brother Chris decapitated my beloved Tiny Tears doll. It is fair to say that none of us were ever the same again:

– Chris realised he should never mess with his little sister – due to her nifty right hook.

– I learnt to hide stuff from my brothers that I didn’t want damaged / maimed / beheaded.

– Tiny Tears developed a new-found appreciation for polo neck tops.

I became exceptionally good at concealing my possessions after Tiny Tearsgate, 1989. Anything of value or sentiment was stowed away in a safe place, until I left home at the age of eighteen. This included, though was not exclusive to:

– A second-hand paperback copy of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, purchased for fifteen pence.

– My extensive Pog collection.

– One hundred high quality fibre-tipped colouring pens.

– Three mixed tapes of Boyzone, Peter Andre, the Spice Girls, and Backstreet Boys.

– My top secret, highly confidential, tell-all diaries, that I began writing in 1995, at the             tempestuous age of twelve.

With impressive foresight at just fourteen, I acknowledged that I’d probably look back on my diaries in years to come and laugh. I may have underestimated just how much.

Here are some highlights from the last seventeen years in the life of me.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent:

11/05/1997 SECONDARY SCHOOL: Everything in this diary seemed to have a point to it when I wrote it. That’s why I refuse to look back and cross stuff out. Even the really embarrassing stuff about fancying Dave from my Maths class and cutting my own fringe. Again.

27/12/1997 SECONDARY SCHOOL: New Year’s Resolutions for 1998

  1. I will slap the next person who says I fancy Dave, because I don’t.
  2. I will tidy my room at some point this year.
  3. I will keep my room tidy for at least a week.
  4. I will stop worrying so much about how I look.
  5. I will marry Ronan Keating.

30/12/1998 SECONDARY SCHOOL: New Year’s Resolutions for 1999

  1. I will cut down on chips and chocolate, eat my greens and drink more milk.
  2. I will either slap or kiss Smith for being such a git.
  3. I will snog any (well, just about any) boy who offers.
  4. I will not take my mobile to school for the sole purpose of showing off. Well, maybe.

11/05/2000 COLLEGE: Oh fudge. I tried to pluck my eyebrows to make them look better, but now it’s a case of “Eyebrows? What eyebrows?” Will have to draw them on with pencil until further notice. Note to self: step away from the tweezers.

11/03/2001 COLLEGE: 

21/06/2001 COLLEGE: Have opted to come down with food poisoning on Friday. Not actual food poisoning, but this is my brilliant plan to get out of work. I am brilliant.

30/11/2001 UNIVERSITY: Nothing to report apart from my slow spiralling descent into madness.

“I didn’t lose my mind; it was mine to give away.” Robbie Williams.

11/02/2002 UNIVERSITY: This afternoon was highly productive. I finally mastered the art of reading half a book and blagging the fact I read the whole thing. It’s a talent. One I am proud of and grateful for.

19/04/2002 UNIVERSITY: My plans to go into Uni today were scuppered by an overwhelming desire to sit at home on my bed and highlight stuff. Very important stuff; naturally.

22/04/2003 UNIVERSITY: 

13/08/2003 UNIVERSITY: Mental note: Everything happens for a reason and anything pants that seems to crush you at the time, just makes you stronger in the end. H’mm, that’s very phylosophical of me for a Thursday afternoon. Must learn to spell phylosophycal philospohycal philosophical.

19/10/2003 UNIVERSITY: Am so proud of me! Have spent the entire day doing boring Postmodernism coursework. All something to do with hyperreality. Very confusing. Despite having written 2,503 words, I still don’t understand it. This does not bode well for the ‘A’ grade I was hoping for.

29/11/2004 UNIVERSITY: Momentous occasion: Handed in my dissertation. *Takes a bow*.

03/10/2005 POST-UNIVERSITY: An ode to Tony: “When I fall in love, it will be forever”. Thank you Nat King Cole. 

Note to self: Must put prophetic talents to good use. A winning lottery ticket would be a great start.

I am a Genius (Einstein Said So)

After several failed attempts, involving one giant paper aeroplane, thirty-six helium balloons, a home-made tea towel cape and a regrettable leap of faith from my best friend’s swing set, it became apparent to me at a young age that I was not meant to fly.

Over the last twenty-nine years, I have also realised:

1. My tree climbing talents are pretty much on par with that of a goldfish, and as such I am unlikely to ever become an Olympic Gymnast.

2. Despite my love of snow, snowballs, snow angels and snowmen, I once got so cold and wet playing in the white stuff that I cried for three hours and wished my fingers would fall off. The Polar Expedition I had planned with my brothers, Rainbow Brite and Kermit the Frog was swiftly called off.

3. Someone put salt in the sea and it doesn’t taste very nice. As such, there is simply no way I will be able to swim the Atlantic, solo, coated in goose fat – as hoped. Devastated.

4. I was conned. My invisibility dust turned out to be run-of-the-mill glitter. I not only failed to steal the cookie jar unnoticed, but left a sparkly path in my wake. Cat burglar I am not.

5. Despite fine-tuning a professional pout; my total inability to give up chicken wings is probably to blame for the downfall of my modelling career. (When I say “the downfall of”, I mean “my totally nonexistent”). Nando’s have a lot to answer for.

After so many setbacks, failures, fractures and disappointments in my life – I’d probably be justified in thinking that I belong on the scrapheap, along with cassette tapes, floppy disks, Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber. But, no. Occasionally (and I mean very occasionally) I have a moment of brilliance, which compensates for the fact I cannot fly:

After four fabulous and thoroughly loved-up years together, in the summer of 2009, Tony finally did the decent thing and got down on one knee at a local beauty spot and asked me to marry him. I squealed a little, cried a lot, leapt on him with delight, eventually remembered to say “yes” and then proceeded to fall down a rabbit hole. Needless to say – I was overjoyed. Within a week of our engagement I began to think of ideas for a suitably outstanding wedding gift for him. I mean EPIC. (Cufflinks were not an option).

Aside from me and rib-eye steak, one of the greatest loves of Tony’s life is Premiership football team Manchester United. So over the next two years I secretly sent 165 letters to 142 Manchester United players (past and present) in over half a dozen countries and many of them wrote back. I managed to collate over sixty-five autographs and best wishes on personalised Wedding Day greetings cards from some epic legends – including Ryan Giggs, Peter Schmeichel, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Bill Foulkes, Nobby Stiles, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. I compiled them in an album for him to open on the morning of our wedding day. He says he didn’t cry when he saw it, but I like to think he did. 

Post Honeymoon, Tony took said album into the office with him. I received this email from a senior work colleague that afternoon. It made me smile: 

I’m with Einstein on this; everybody is a genius. You just have to unlock the potential from within – and realise that thirty-six helium balloons will be insufficient to power your flight to the moon. Several hundred on the other hand…

“Wax on, Wax off” and Other Words of Wisdom from the Silver Screen

Along with my house keys, odd socks and random bits of fluff – I often find wisdom in the most unlikely of places:

“WAX ON, WAX OFF”. Karate Kid  

Mister Miyagi coupled housework with martial arts training. He also caught flies with chopsticks.  Someone give him a medal. 

“IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DON’T SAY NOTHIN’ AT ALL”. Bambi

As an English graduate, it pains me to see such poor grammar, but I’ll let Thumper off, on account of him being a rabbit.   

“I RECOMMEND ROLLING AROUND IN POND SCUM”. An interview with Kermit the Frog (star of the Silver Screen) 

“IT AIN’T ABOUT HOW HARD YOU HIT, IT’S ABOUT HOW HARD YOU CAN GET HIT AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD”. Rocky Balboa

Alternatively, you could just find a nice quiet office job.

“DO, OR DO NOT. THERE IS NO TRY”. The Empire Strikes Back 

For a creature that looks like a frog who ingested toxic waste as a tadpole, Yoda is surprisingly insightful. 

“DON’T EVER LET SOMEBODY TELL YOU, YOU CAN’T DO SOMETHING*…YOU GOT A DREAM, YOU GOTTA PROTECT IT…YOU WANT SOMETHING, YOU GO GET IT”. The Pursuit of Happyness

*Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Having Pikachu tattooed on your inner thigh.
  • Wearing orange.
  • Dying your hair green and then getting it cut into a mullet.
  • Anything whatsoever to do with Justin Bieber.

“BE WHOEVER YOU WANT TO BE”. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This statement also excludes Justin Bieber. 

“DREAMS DO COME TRUE, IF ONLY WE WISH HARD ENOUGH”. Peter Pan

I always dreamt of finding love – and look what I found!

It has become apparent however that I have so far neglected to dream hard enough for Adele’s voice or Pippa Middleton’s bottom.  Note to self: Must try harder.

A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear 12 year old me,

I have some good news and some not-so good news about the next 17 years. Where shall I begin?

I HATE TO BE THE ONE TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT…

  • You do not marry Ronan Keating.
  • As yet, there’s still no sign of hoverboards. (That Michael J Fox has a lot to answer for).
  • Take That split up. Robbie Williams gets fat. Gary Barlow also gets fat.
  • You haven’t yet holidayed in Space. Though you do get as far as Cyprus – and it’s fabulous.
  • In your quest to find a boyfriend who looks like Grant Mitchell – you end up dating a lot of men who look unfortunately like Phil Mitchell.

GREAT NEWS

  • You are no longer a short-arse.
  • You know that gawky looking fresh prince of Bel-Air? Think of him as an ugly duckling.
  • Gary Barlow gets fit. Take That reunite.
  • We have progress: Hillary Clinton is now officially more powerful than her husband Bill. Rugby Union legend Gareth Thomas came out. A black man runs the White House.
  • The Lion King returned to cinemas in 2011, this time – in high definition and 3D. You still remember (some of) the words.
  • You fall in love and get married. Your husband makes you smile every single day. I’m pleased to report –he doesn’t look a thing like Phil Mitchell.

SPOILER ALERT

  • That thing you’ve heard about called the internet? It’s going to be huge. It may even compensate for the lack of hoverboards.
  • You change your mind about the whole teaching career thing. Have a Plan E.
  • Princes William and Harry actually become borderline hotties. (Briefly).
  • Beware: Facebook.

No need to thank me – I know I am brilliant.

Yours,

Me (aged 29¼)

Kisses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

“Think Different”

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon

There was a sweet little girl on the bus today, with big brown eyes, short curly auburn hair and a cheeky grin. She turned to her mother and said “When I grow up, I want to be a tomato”. What a brilliant suggestion, I thought. Why didn’t I think of that?

I had to admire her ambition. After all, many grown-ups have pursued far more ludicrous career paths, with moderate success. Take Kirstie Allsopp for example – she can neither sew, nor glue, nor stitch nor paint in any coherent fashion whatsoever. I’ve seen grasshoppers with more artistic flair. Yet she has 2 television series to share her creative arts and crafts ‘talent’ with the nation. By contrast – David Beckham once reported in an interview that “at school whenever the teachers asked ‘What do you want to do when you’re older?’ I’d say, ‘I want to be a footballer’ and they’d say ‘No, what do you really want to do, for a job?’”

Unlike Beckham though – the vast majority of us never achieve our childhood dream of becoming a superhero / astronaut / secret agent / world-class footballer / piece of fruit. Occasionally, this isn’t such a bad thing:

Sir Elton John (back in the day when he still had hair and went by the name of Reg Dwight) wanted to be a footballer. Just imagine a world without the ‘Circle of Life’…No thank you.

Fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt thought he was destined to play cricket. I beg to differ.

Luciano Pavarotti – wanted to be a goalkeeper. Enough said.

Thanks to Elton’s mother, Usain’s cricket coach and Pavarotti’s brain for drawing their attention to the far more sensible career paths of rock star, lightning bolt and operatic tenor.

I would like to dedicate the following clever piece of marketing to the adorable little girl who wants to be a tomato:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”. Steve Jobs

Where’s Jimmy Savile when you need him?