Written in the form of a freestyle…Happy New Year!
In this cruel world, who knows what’s real or fake?
Only God himself, ironic that it’s a supreme being
Being the omnipotent, all knowing but leaving
Us not knowing whether he’s real or fake.
Maybe his being is just a mind state
As he is inspiration for the magnificent inception
Of mankind’s desperate pursuit for perfection
That never seems to materialise before it’s too late.
Dreams of paradise narrow our moral place
Why long for perfection if it can’t be defined?
Forget verse and chapter just read between the line
Only we can better the human race.
Greg J Allman
Life sometimes has us with our back against the ropes. For whatever reason. Things are never as straight forward as they should be. But is this our fault for thinking they would be? I’m often labelled a cynic, as much as someone likes to look on the bright side I see things the other way to. I’m not saying this makes me more understanding or anything, just simply I usually expect things to awry.
Obviously this type of thinking is what often annoys passengers on the “positive train” but when you’re on the outside there’s not much to be positive about. Now of course there’s a way on board. The only ticket/oyster fees your paying are in smiles and confidence that everything will be fine. For the most part things are fine, you may even go as far to say things are good. You’re smiling, you’re laughing you’re even dealing out your cheesy knee slappers and they’re going over well. You think to yourself why was I even doubting this? I’m the man!
But then “it” happens. When you least expect it, “it” happens.
We all know what “it” is, because we’ve all experienced “it”. Some more than others. Then that train we were riding suddenly crashes and leaves buried under a mess of anger, contempt and sadness. Every doubt or negative thought you ever had comes calling home looking smug. You know, that “I told you so” kind of smugness that you get from people.
You start beating yourself up over how stupid you were in thinking things are fine, that things are good, that life is even fair. It astounds you so much that you laugh at yourself. You’ve never been talked in to anything before, but you were led on to this positive train of thought. Now I love reading fiction as much as the next literary buff. But I do prefer to live in reality, and that train doesn’t exist anywhere in real life. Those that think it does need the plug pulled out of the back of their heads, so they can wake up.
Now we’re back at square one. Waiting in anticipation of something to go wrong. We’re the Queen’s guard, unmoved by smiles and laughter. We’re just waiting for the danger. Forewarned is forearmed and that’s what we are.
But soon those weapons we hold get heavy, our nose twitches or to put it simply we blink. We blink at the worst time, because as our eyes close for that fraction of a second. “It” sneaks past us. Now this “it” isn’t the same “it” as mentioned before. This “it” changes everything. This “it” sneaks up behind you on a minus zero day and wraps its warm arms around you, it brings some good news that reminds you of the days on that train. That positive feeling when you were happy and you were smiling and you were dancing. So the hell with it, you hop back on board and ride along, eyes shining bright.
Truth be told throughout life, you’ll be hopping on and off that train similarly to the way we do every morning on our travels. The trick is obviously to stay on board. But we know we can’t. We have to hop off to go to a job we hate, or visit someone we don’t want to see or in the worse cases to go home. Once we’ve hopped off there’s nothing anyone can tell us to make us feel better.
With mad respect to MF Doom….
I passed my degree got my grade in the mail,
Master of the arts bitch, you’ll never see me fail.
Waited two long months now the time is here.
Celebrations all round, bottles in the air.
Get on the phone to my parents when I’m a little tipsy,
Give ’em the good news, take a shot of whiskey
Or brandy, whatever we keep our spirits high
In my element and it won’t pass me by.
Told my bro the good news, respec’ with a spud,
White rum chasers running in our blood
Dark rum chasers drifting in our veins
Love to my gran, a kiss on the chain x
A sharp distinction but I pass on merit,
The happiest day of my life and I won’t forget it.
Gave my lady a big squeeze told her I love her
She responded with I love you too motherfucker!
We polished off bottles by the litre,
Fire in my chest inflamed by tequila.
And when morning comes I’m hangin’ like Mr Cooper,
No need to worry though coz I feel super.
Greg J Allman
So I’m finally employed. That puts a strike in the pros column of life. I’ve only been there two weeks but so far so good. I won’t go in to detail about what I do and where I work. But it’s a rewarding job to say the least. I’m a cog in a machine as they say. One day I’ll be the machine. I’m currently adapting to the wicked ways a 9-5 takes up most of my time. Factor the hour spent getting to work and the hour coming home. That just usually leaves me exhausted and not feeling very creative. The past few days however I’ve been good and put fingers to keyboard trying to churn out my thoughts and ideas.
I thought once I got this job I would spend my time wishing I was unemployed again. Penning blog posts from a library or Starbucks and watching the day go by. Seeing the men in suits scuttling about town trying to get from A to B to C then back to A. Now I’m one of those guys. It’s an interesting feeling to see it from both sides. Although I have no time to lounge in Starbucks and listen to people’s conversations about Princess Diana or their cat.
I had to undergo a wardrobe overhaul. Shirt and trousers are the required dress code of my office therefore I put in a visit to Primark, Next, Marks and Spencer’s and even Burton. New coat shirts, new belt, new coat and new shoes. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and everything just hit me. I’m getting old. Gone are the days of my baggy t-shirts and baggy jeans. Colourful hoodies and New Era caps (Yeah I was one of those guys). Even my sense in footwear has smartened up. Brown boots, black vans and black brogues. No hats unless its a beanie, otherwise my balding head is on full show. The worst part is I don’t even care if people see that I’m losing my hair.
The best part about getting old is that I have someone to get old with. And truthfully I wouldn’t change that for anything. The only direction I’m moving is forwards. A wise man once said “Don’t look at it as getting older, look at it as getting better.” Indeed sir, indeed.
Greg J Allman
My motherfuckin’ mind, the sum of all fears,
Combine all your nightmares in one
Then add the scent of an onion
Use the skin to dry your tears
Nothing even matters, I really don’t care
It’s hard to see a bright side
The darkness has its own shine
But my faith has lost its glare
My one last trip, let’s make it a dream
For all the evil in the world
To fall through the trapdoor
Close the curtain, magic is not what it seems.
Greg J Allman.
So this morning I crawl out of bed at 7:30 like most normal people do on a Thursday morning. I get ready for work but notice something is up. My desk/girlfriend’s makeup table was missing a certain square shaped black leather wallet. No worries though it’s usually located on my other desk/drawers under my computer screen. Not there either. So obviously panic sets in rather quickly and I hunt around my house for about 20 minutes searching high and low for my wallet. In the end I concede defeat and head out to work walletless.
Upon my arrival I realised that I probably dropped it when I was running to my girlfriends car. It was freezing last night and I only had a shirt on for protection. So then I knew I had to do the inevitable. Contact Santander and cancel my debit card. Literally all my nightmares were just rolled in to one big ball-ache scenario. I’ve never had a conversation with their employees that ended “Thank you so much for your help, have a nice day.” Being someone who has worked in customer service for years, I know that’s not a good sign.
So I dial their number and press a whole load of number until I’m put through to an actual human in the right department. I tell him my scenario and think this should go smoothly enough. I give him my address and think all is sorted.
He asks me if I have any direct debits coming up. The only one that sprung to mind was mobile broadband for my girlfriend’s iPad. No biggie, sorted. He then asks when my last cash withdrawal was. I respond unsure and give him a whole load of times I used my card to pay for things. Turns out I failed a security test and my card won’t be re-issued but has been blocked.
He tells me I can call back if I remember otherwise take my passport and a bill/bank statement to my nearest branch and they can re-issue it that way.
Excuse my blatant apprehension to this but the last time I lost my card I did this and it didn’t end too well….for me. It was a rainy night in Ealing and I was trekking back to my apartment. I had my backpack slung over one shoulder, two shopping bags, an umbrella and my phone in my hand. I was bound to lose something and that something was my debit card. The very next day I set out to Santander and got a new one re-issued. I was told it would take 7-10 days. Two weeks later I walk in to the same branch debit cardless and enquire about my situation. The employee informs me that the card was indeed cancelled but whoever did it forgot to re-issue a new one. Funny that I thought to myself being that the person I spoke to last time I was in there was in fact the very same incompetent employee.
Fast forward February 2012. My bank card expires and I need a new one. I’m told that the bank just issues one as they have it on record that the card is about to expire.
I telephone their customer services team and enquire as to what the procedure is. They cancelled my card and told me an updated one will be sent out in the next 7-10 days.
Where have I heard this before?
Two weeks later and still no bank card I call their wonderful, efficient customer services team again and enquire about the whereabouts of my card. Their employee had no answer other than “no idea what’s going on here”.
So he ended up cancelling that card and re-issuing me another one. Answers on a postcard as to how long he said it should take to reach me.
Finally after a month of enquiring for an up to date debit card I finally received one.
Santander are full of surprises, not the kind of surprise where you walk in to a dark room and your friends and family jump out from behind a couch or fridge and yell Surprise! But more the kind where you sit on a wet couch and let out a shriek, only for your mother to rush in to the room and inform you that your niece wet herself earlier. Surprise!
Greg J Allman.
Thank you for your interest in _________________, UK. At _____________ we believe that as much as the candidate has to be right for us, the role has to be right for you. Ensuring that there is a firm match is important to your career and your wellbeing as well as our continued business success.
We have had the opportunity to review your application and regret to inform you that on this occasion, we have chosen to pursue other candidates whose skills and experience more closely match the role.
Again, we genuinely appreciate your interest in _________________.
All of people are familiar with these types of emails. As writers we probably receive emails like these constantly. I know I do. Everyone usually has the same advice for receiving rejection letters/emails.
“Just keep trucking on.”
“At least people are reading it”
“Keep sending stuff out, you’re on the right path.”
“Don’t be disheartened.”
All good advice I must admit but sometimes it does feel like I am cracking my head against a brick wall, or walking down a never-ending path of rejection. But then again I might not be. I guess the beauty of life is the mystery that awaits us around the corner. Even though we see clearly, we see nothing at all. I guess the whole point is to be optimistic. Most people that know me, know that I’m more of a cynic disguised as a ‘realist’.
Therefore I’m heading out to buy the biggest bottle of champagne I can find. It’ll be on ice for now, but you’ll be the first to know when it’s being cracked open and spilled all over my fancy clothes.
Until then I’ll celebrate that every day I wake up with the will and ability to write. I’ll celebrate by doing what I feel I do best.
Greg J Allman