Easter Funny

Telling a child that someone they will never meet died because of all the bad things he assumes they’re going to do is quite scary. And a little passive aggressive.
“Oh no I’m sure you won’t do anything bad, but just in case, I’ll go and die.”
You know that pang of annoyance you get when you offer someone a swig from a bottle or can, and just before they imbibe, they mop their sleeve swiftly around the rim, to save themselves from your disgusting essence? That’s what Jesus was doing.
A little insulted, you assure: “I haven’t got a cold sore or anything.”
“No, I’m sure you don’t,” followed by a shit-eating grin, and an indulgent chug, during which you wish you did have a cold sore, that had fallen off into the can, and was now flowing down into their stomach.

Jesus prompted a self-fulfilling prophecy; proclaiming everyone past, present and future as sinners, hoping this proclamation would prove so convincing as to drive people thousands of years later to give up pancakes, cigarettes or drink-driving for lent, filling them with enough sinful pride that they feel vindicated to become gluttons and pig out on chocolate eggs, while constantly being shown images of the most lustful animal on Earth, the bunny. Obviously this has now led to bank holidays, with the definition of ‘bank’ now broad enough to cause Aldi to close early. So we get more days off work to sloth around, greedily drinking of an evening, having a great time, making all the bar staff wrathful and envious that they seem to be working harder than normal on those days, suggesting bars are somehow the opposite of banks.

If I was Jesus, and I’m not saying I’m not, I’d have maybe spent Good Friday forgiving all the other criminals who were getting crucified, setting them free with my telekinetic powers, and generally showing compassion as an example of how not to sin. Then we could have made this weekend about being generally empathetic to people, but in a non-materialistic way, as a spiritual antidote to Christmas. I mean sure, we live in a capitalist society, so inevitably it would end up with Marks & Spencer’s selling ‘compassion hampers’ full of assorted fruity teas, candles, and those weird favour vouchers that couples with no money give to each other on Valentine’s Day. Everyone would watch Pay It Forward and pat themselves on the back, give a little more money to homeless people and then insufferably post about it on social media. But it’s a better idea than ‘watch someone die to learn a lesson’. That’s the same philosophy as the villain from the Saw films.

The huge leap between what happened to Jesus, and the way Easter is celebrated in the modern day is an easy target, but obviously there is a logical progression. Rabbits are of course a representation of life and fertility, although apparently in ancient times, rabbits were thought of as hermaphroditic, and therefore able to self-fertilise, meaning they could give birth without ever having sex. Sound familiar? Rabbits fuck so much they have expressions named after them (at it like bunnies, Playboy bunnies, carrot guzzler etc), and therefore were associated with the Virgin Mary. So the Easter Bunny exists as a concept precisely because people believed it could go fuck itself.
And the whole egg thing, well I was told as a child that eggs were another symbol of fertility, despite the fact that most people are exposed to eggs as food more than as procreation, and in order to eat an egg you’re really relying on infertility, unless you want to eat an embryo you monster. But as it turns out, they are a symbol of Jesus’ empty tomb; the fact that he rose from the dead and wandered off without even leaving a note. Again, hugely attention-seeking. Just a simple, “Woke up, feeling much better, must have been a false alarm. Stay classy – J”, would have sufficed.
And since Creme Eggs aren’t empty, are we to understand they don’t believe in the resurrection? Is the white and yellow fondant inside representative of the mouldering corpse of just some guy with ideas above his station? No wonder they’re sold much earlier than normal Easter eggs, the heathens.
And I can only assume that Easter Egg Hunts correspond to grave-robbing.

Whether chocolate womb or chocolate tomb, if you care about Easter enough that you’re annoyed by the omission of the word on confectionary items, then what you care about is branding, and seem to be more concerned by a company not cashing in on a religious holiday in order to sell more chocolate than you are about Easter itself. And to be honest, I do care more about the branding, it affects me more in my daily life. If I’m eating a chocolate egg, I need to be told what for. I can’t be expected to deduce the religious connotations of a shape with my own mind.

If you encounter someone that has managed to comfortably equate these things, and they happen to be eating an Easter egg, ask them for a bite. But make sure to wipe the edge first, I hear religion can be contagious.

Next time on the Bandwagon, something less topical, like ‘what’s the deal with Hitler?’

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The Bored Ultimatum

When was the last time you were bored? Maybe you’re bored right now, reading this. It would make sense; the word ‘bored’ has already appeared four times and I haven’t really said anything about it yet. But here you are, still reading.

It’s very easy to condemn people that get bored frequently, and yes I’m going to return to my well of blaming the modern world, but I do realise that complaining about technology on a blog is a perfect exemplum of biting the hand that feeds. But all information available at all times is quite a distraction, and one that for younger generations will easily trump more traditional past-times like reading, playing board games, or tilling acres of farmland. I do wonder if there is something inherently more entertaining about physical games such as Mousetrap and Operation over video games, or if it’s just nostalgia, mixed with generational pride. On paper, which is more entertaining? Entering a painstakingly photo-real world full of fantastic creatures, weapons, quests and locations, within which you can explore for hours without running out of content? Or a plastic mat with multi-coloured circles on? It’s the age-old question of RPG or Twister. Spending time with other people, within a framework such as a game is a great way to feel like you’re ‘doing’ something, and the physical aspect of board games feels like a more concrete way of socialising. But there’s definitely an arrogance to the argument that what can still entertain my generation and older, wouldn’t be enough to sustain a ten-year-old for an afternoon, especially if you decide to place blame on the ten-year-old, as though preferring Skyrim to Pogs requires a cognizant choice. If you’ve ever thought about what it would be like if time travellers sent some future technology back to our time (and if you haven’t, why not), then maybe you came to the conclusion that that it would speed up our advancements – that we’d leap forward fifty years in an instant. But I think we have to advance at the correct pace. If you travelled back a few hundred years with distractions like an Etch-A-Sketch and a laser pen, maybe we’d now be living in a world without necessities like underground sewage, or Tesco.

But feeling bored is also down to your own personality, as much as what’s around you, and in fact there are different kinds of boredom. Broadly separated into two types, these are trait boredom, and state boredom:

Trait boredom is what encourages you to make sure you have all the correct pieces of album artwork in your iTunes library, basically a longer term feeling that you quell in order to stem the thoughts of mortality and futility. Also known as ennui, existential angst, or what Tyler Durden calls being the ‘all singing, all dancing crap of the world’. Netflix is also great for this.

State boredom is more related to your immediate situation. It’s the feeling you get as a child when being dragged round a supermarket, or as an adult when being dragged around Ikea. It’s having to make small talk with friends of friends who regurgitate popular opinion as though it’s their own. Notable examples include:

“Oh my god! Isn’t Stranger Things incredible?!”

“Well of course, pick n’ mix is how they make their money.”

“Isn’t it funny? When Andy Murray wins he’s British, but when he loses he’s Scottish! Hahaha!”

“Freddos have got more expensive haven’t they?”

I don’t think either one of these types of boredom is necessarily more common, although I definitely suffer more from trait boredom than state. A general feeling of anxiety that pervades my life, preventing me from feeling able to enjoy small inanities without feeling guilty I’m not doing something more worthwhile (“better give up on the blog then eh?” hahaha oh you). If I’ve ever bad-mouthed such things on this blog before, such as Gogglebox, it’s borne out of jealousy that I just can’t find the pleasure in something so simple. And the fact that Gogglebox is a densely packed wad of shit.
If, unlike me, you suffer more from state boredom, a feeling that creeps up in a moment, when you find yourself at a loss, perhaps you’ve ended up searching on the internet for a short-term cure.

Well, since you’re on the internet now, I thought I’d give you my own list of things to stave off boredom, to save you the trouble of looking.

So, if you feel bored, why not:

Get to know the smells of different trees.

Learn every language.

Put your DVDs into reverse alphabetical order, then memorise the titles as one continuous word.

Create holsters for two stapleguns and have a death-duel.

See if you can make a cat laugh.

Befriend a movie star.

Eat some soup.

Go into a pub you’ve never visited before and ask for ‘the usual’.

Drink some soup.

Superglue some Blu-tac to some Sellotape.

Master the crane style.

Haunt a children’s hospital.

Become vegan for forty-five minutes.

Convince all your friends you’ve never heard of ‘paint’.

Steal loads of wing mirrors and turn them into some shit art.

Buy a house.

That should keep you busy for a while. And if it doesn’t, maybe just get a hobby. Bear in mind anything goes. I just spent a good fifteen minutes writing that stupid list for example. And I occasionally think of myself as a ‘writer’. Incredible isn’t it?

Being bored is good, it means you have the desire to better yourself, to educate yourself. It means you have an awareness that your current environment is not stimulating enough, and that you know that should change. And remember, if all else fails, there’s always alcohol.

Next time on the Bandwagon, I finally reveal how, through a strict diet and beauty regime, I still look so good at the age of 53.

You Probably Think This Blog is About You

The Greek myth of Narcissus tells of a young man who saw his own reflection in a pool of water, and was so entranced that he fell in love with it. Eventually, realising it was himself he loved, and that he could never have the object of his desire, he committed suicide. I don’t know how long he stared before he realised, but the pool must have been pretty still to not give the game away, unless he thought his lover had a naturally wavy face. I guess the moral is either A – never look at your own reflection or B – if you do, for god’s sake have the wherewithal to recognise it.

You may think you know where I’m going with this. “Oh I get it. You’re saying we’re all Narcissus aren’t you, because we look at ourselves a lot?” Well no that’s not what I was going to say, and please don’t predict the narrative progress of my blog, because mostly there isn’t one. Plus I’m pretty sure no-one’s killed themselves because they’ve fallen in love with their own reflection. And in fact, if Narcissus was born now, he’d either kill himself at a much younger age i.e. the first time his mother took a selfie with him, perhaps mere hours after birth, or he’d get on Instagram, pout for the fans, and the likes and comments rolling in would periodically quell the pain of not having his photos love him back.

Alright yes, I am saying we’re all Narcissus, what a shock.

I think vanity comes in various forms, depending on what we value in ourselves that we wish others would recognise. We tend to think of physical appearance; wanting to be attractive and so putting on makeup, going to the gym, not picking our nose in front of sexy people. Most of us are preoccupied with how we look a lot of the time. I’ve certainly been guilty of it. I’ll fluctuate between periods of trying not to give a shit, allowing myself to leave the house wearing whatever’s comfortable, and not shaving for three weeks (which in my case leaves me with almost-noticeable stubble) and periods of going to the gym four times a week, puffing myself up like a cartoon pigeon, and not shaving for three weeks, but trying to make it look like it’s only been three days. When I think I look good, yes it does make me happier, more secure, but I know it shouldn’t.
We should at least try to recognise when we’re behaving like this though. You’ll often hear people condemning gym-goers to the tune of “people at the gym are always doing X, and they always look like Y” with the detail that only comes from being a gym-frequenter themselves. It’s the adult equivalent of playing heads down thumbs up and telling the teacher when you see someone with their eyes open.

“Thank you for telling me Tim, but the only way you could have known is if you’re a psychic, a hypocrite, or you have transparent eyelids.”

At least have the honesty to admit your own vanity though. Just do what I do and smugly decide that you’re better than everyone else at the gym because the only mirror you pose in front of is the one in your bathroom. You would pose in the mirror in your bedroom, but you don’t have a mirror in your bedroom, because you don’t want people to think you’re vain.

Physical vanity aside, we basically have a desire to feel special in any other way we can. A good example of this is to ask any one of your friends which famous person they share a birthday with. Nine times out of ten they’ll be able to name one or two people, allowing themselves a quick smirk of pride if the person is particularly well-known. Again, I’m not condemning, I do it too, but I really don’t know what conclusions anyone is supposed to draw from the fact I share a birthday with Leonardo DiCaprio. Are you impressed? If you like him, do you now like me? If I concentrate hard enough could I become him? My dad shares his birthday with Freddie Mercury and they both have a moustache. Is that magic?

Social media is great for this sort of thing, attributing information and trivialities to yourself in the hope of being more interesting. Someone posted a link recently to a site that would tell you what movie was number one on the day you were born. Like a zombie who feeds on dopamine instead of brains, I followed the link, and found that the number one movie on my birthday was Child’s Play 2. For some reason I was actually disappointed. As though whatever film was out that day is a reflection on me. Being a younger sibling, am I in some ways a disappointing sequel? Does my life have the veneer of something innocent and playful, while actually hiding something sinister beneath?
No of course not, but if the number one movie had been Goodfellas, released only a couple of months before, I’d probably have a misplaced sense of pride, and some idiotic notion that I played some part in it.

But this is how we try to define ourselves. People like to put themselves in boxes, especially if those boxes are labelled in such a way as to suggest they are outside of other boxes. But I think the only worthwhile pride is the sort you’ve earned from things you’ve done, made or accomplished. It makes little sense to be proud of things that happened by accident, like the country you were born in. I’m not proud to be English. I’m glad I’m English, because it affords me a lot of privileges that people from other countries don’t get, but pride suggests a level of smugness about it. The proudest nation is surely America, where patriotism is not as associated with jingoism and racism as it is here, although from our perspective it still looks mental. But in fairness, I worked tirelessly to convince my parents to birth me in England. I endeavoured to be white, so I could have a much easier life. And I made sure I was born into a middle class family.

I’m so proud.

Next time on the Bandwagon, to mark my twentieth blog entry, I’ll be live blogging along to the aggressive screams outside my bedroom window on Saturday nights. Don’t miss it!