Thursday 26 November 2009

I'm too sexy for my hurt

Four years, one month, twenty-seven days, eighteen hours, twenty-three minutes and twelve, thirteen, fourteen…..seconds. The counting never stops and I miss alcohol so very much that it sometimes leaves me winded and aching and five steps north of desolate. But can you imagine going to Alcoholics Anonymous (esp. the American version)? Oh dear, never. Well, maybe just to wind them up a little, I suppose. Come on, they're a bit earnest, no?

Me: Hello, my name's Jamie and I'm an....a...oh, this is difficult...I'm name's Jamie and I'm....I'm an alchemist.
Drunks: Hi Jam....what? You cheat! Burn him! Burn him!
Me: Ha ha ha, losers, you people should get a blog and save yourselves the bus fare.
Drunks: Kill him!

I’m not surprised that some people go all religious and turn to God when they stop drinking, really, because the pain of the dark and empty space it leaves behind is often simply agony and demands to be filled with something, anything. You can feel it. The space, I mean. It’s physical. It’s a hole. How on earth did I not know this space was here beforehand? I can feel the tingle as brighter lights try to get in, an elevation, a hope, a terrible bliss, I suppose, but I’m minded to keep the door shut, it seems, as I’ve come to enjoy the pain and, in more self-pitying times – okay, always – I kind of feel I deserve it.

Talking of tingles, I had some Mormons round (in Glasgow, probably 1995 or 1996) and once we were all seated and they’d looked at my books and told me that no good would come of it, I was told to look into the eyes of one of them. So I did. Why not? He seemed hygienic.

Anyway, he assured me I would feel a tingle when he said a certain word or words and that this would be the holy ghost or the holy spirit or Jesus or Joseph Smith himself or…..I don’t know, I was hungover..….entering me. The hallelujah moment, in other words. (They always look so surprised when you invite them in, don’t they? But I love talking to these guys and, like I say, they look so terrifically clean. You actually don't mind them sitting on your furniture. Also, if you happen to have read The Book of Mormon, which I have, you’ll notice a passing panic (or is it suspicion?) flicker in their eyes. But that’s fine.)

So he said the word or words and, sure enough, I felt the tingle (and very nice it was, too).

Did you feel it?

Well, come on, it’s a cheap trick and I could do it to you or you or you. They shouldn’t need these huckstery deceptions in order to sell old Joseph. But they prey on people and it makes me seethe that they might dupe someone less attractive than me into believing this awful bullshit. (I mean the trick itself, if you please, this is not a comment on their beliefs, although I confess to finding it particularly hard to stomach the provenance of the Mormon faith - for which I am bound to be sorry.)

Where was I? Yes, the tingle. Delicious. But they stuttered a bit and lost their composure (whilst remaining perfectly fragrant) and rather shortly made to leave, asking only if it was okay if we all said a prayer – which it was. Again, why not? Where’s the harm? Then they blessed the house and told me to marry my girlfriend (should I just take the one wife, you cheeky wee bastard?) and we parted on friendly terms. So that was nice.

And then on September the 29th, 2005, I was heading to the off-licence (in Cork city) to buy wine or gin or rum or lighter fluid and suddenly simply stopped. No warning. I just stopped. I felt a bit, well, tingly, so I turned around and went straight back home (without buying the wine or the gin or the blah blah blah, obviously). Only I didn’t go straight back home, it seems, because I’ve recently been told that I was gone for two and a half hours. I remember everything: going out, stopping, feeling tingly, turning round, going home. This should have taken ten minutes.

Now, I’m very prone to trances, it’s true, but nobody thinks to call the fire brigade unless I go electric. Please, though, two and a half hours in the middle of the street? How shatteringly embarrassing, how very far short of stylish. And not wishing to be too spooky about it all, of course, but did the brighter lights perhaps already get in as I stood, stock still, like a stupid little cry-baby tosser? Am I maybe a Mormon without even knowing it?

Anyway, the point is: well done me. No, straight up, I’m pleased with myself. I’ll take my hallelujah moments just wherever I can and so, I feel, should you. Actually, I insist.

This was nice, wasn’t it?

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