Don’t Look Back In Sandler

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

You’re not an idiot, Eric. You just lost concentration.


My brain has been trying its hardest to be positive recently. But as I feel the blood rushing from my lower lip, it’s hard to accept the conclusion that I’m anything other than a stupid fucking twat.


You were just getting into the song; the bus was gonna move any second; you’ve been eating a lot of bread in the last few days. There were many factors.


A few minutes ago, I was walking along listening to Toxic by Britney Spears and absolutely loving life. I turned the corner, saw my bus and decided to frantically start sprinting. I lost my balance almost immediately – crashing to the ground more pathetically than a Theresa May backdrop. Face first into the concrete, like some sort of metaphor for a hard-brexit. A kind of reminder of the calamities that await when you make ill-thought out decisions while being distracted by a mad bastard with blonde hair.


See, you’re not an idiot, you’re good at your Boris Johnson jokes. Don’t worry, people fall over all the time. Also, remember the bread thing.


I use my phone to look at my face and half of one of my front teeth is missing. Great stuff. I look up and the bus starts to move. I’m gonna miss my appointment at the Jobcentre.


Fuck. There’s no way they’ll give me my money. What am I gonna tell them? That I couldn’t make it because all the bread I’ve been eating made me lose my balance? That’s not a thing. Why does my brain keep telling me that it’s a thing?


It’s a thing, mate.


Maybe. I have been eating a substantial amount of the stuff. I just love getting home, buttering a slice of bread, folding it over, and putting it in my mouth. That’s what I’m into at the moment. I love me some sliced bread, it’s the best thing since the iPhone 10. If you’ve got a problem with that, then sue me. And when you do, you’ll get laughed out of court mate.


Except maybe not, because I’ve been using the phrase “sue me” a lot recently and at some point the judicial system are gonna be like you’ve brought this on yourself mate.

The Judge will be like, “Eric, we’ve got four people coming in later who want to sue you for loudly singing the words to Britney Spears songs in Morrison’s… and quite frankly, I’m on their side. Pay up. We’re all sick of you.”


I’ll shrug my shoulders and say, “So I like wasting court time? Sue me.”


“Eric, please just leave.”


Anyway, it’s an hour later. I’m outside the dentist’s, my tooth is still messed up and I’m on the phone to the Jobcentre. It’s not going well.


“Mr. Rushton, can you tell me what jobs you’ve actually applied for this week?” My work-coach Mary says. “On our system, it appears as though you’ve done nothing.”


Tell them about your words, Eric.


“I recently learned the word ‘rejoinder’” is my rejoinder.


(Silence)


I’m sorry. I honestly thought that would work for some reason.


“Mr. Rushton, can you take this seriously. Missing a face-to-face appointment is unacceptable, and if you’re not showing serious intent to find a job, I’m well within my rights to stop your benefits. Your case will be reviewed and I’ll be in touch.”


I say goodbye and put the phone down. She’s just completely rinsed me. I go inside to dry myself off.


It’ll be alright. She was probably just trying to scare you. You’ve just got to look ahead now, there’s nothing you can do. Get your tooth fixed.


There’s a mirror in the dentist’s waiting room, and I use it to I look at my tooth again. It’s hideous. They’ll never be able to fix it – I’ll never get a girlfriend now.


They’ll go for your personality, Eric.


I sit down and I suddenly start crying.


I’ve been crying a lot recently – not even sad tears exactly, kind of regretful ones. I just wish I didn’t do stupid things all the time. I’m constantly messing things up – job applications, friendships, the words to Careless Whisper*. But you can’t go back and change things. If I could alter the past, then maybe I’d have the life I want right now, instead of being sat in a waiting room with half a tooth and not enough money to even fix it.


Some people say it’s okay to fail, to not get what you want. There’s one thing worse than not getting your heart’s desire… and that’s not getting your heart’s desire while also living at home with your mum with a fucked up front tooth and so little money that there’s an entry on your Google search history that says “How not to kill yourself when your poor”.


That should be “you’re” mate. But anyway, it will be alright.


It won’t be. How have things got so bad? I’m white and male and have a university degree: I’m at the bottom of a system that’s rigged in my favour. How pathetic is that? Giving me white-male privilege is like when David Moyes got given the Man United job: everything’s there for me to be successful, but I’m gonna do my very best to fuck it up anyway.


It will get better, you’ll get a job, find someone, move out. It just takes time. Things are bad now, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way.


Oh piss off, brain. Where’s all this positivity getting us exactly? It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t stop me being in this waiting room.


Look mate, I’m just trying to help you through all this.


Yeah, to literally no avail. How much avail you getting me with that? None avails, that’s what.


Fine. Things won’t be okay, you’re an ugly fuck and anyone who says they like you just hasn’t realised what a knobhead you are yet.


Bit harsh.


This is the way you want it, motherfucker.


Fine, I get it.


Speaking of motherfuckers, remember that time you dreamt about—


Okay okay, enough. I said I get it.


The receptionist calls out my name, and says the dentist will see me in room 3. While walking over, it’s impossible to remain positive.


Just as I’m outside the door, I hear the dentist speaking to his previous patient.


“… and so I say, ‘alright, Mr.McDonald’s’” he says, before laughing hysterically at his own joke.


I instantly lose faith in this guy as a dentist and also as a person. I dunno what he was saying, but any joke with the punchline “alright, Mr.McDonald’s” is a strong candidate for the worst joke of all time.


This is gonna be awful.


A few minutes later, I’m in his chair, questioning every life decision I’ve ever made. As he begins his work, I start thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made. All the times I’ve been a shitty friend, been too self-absorbed and let people down. I’ve been worried that I’ve pushed a few people away recently and it’s really getting to me.


Things are ruined for good now.


The past is so stubbornly irreversible, and it haunts you forever. If the past was a person it would be Adam Sandler – just as you’ve forgotten about it, it comes back again, presenting you with absolute shite, leaving you depressed and hopeless about the future.


“Alright, we’re just about done.” The dentist says.


I sigh. I don’t even want to see how my tooth looks, it’s not going to be good. Before the dentist show me, he starts smirking:


This guy might be the most hateable person of all time.


“Hey Eric, I had a guy in here a few weeks a go that needed a filling. Lovely bloke. Anyway, at one point I ask him how life is, and he says ‘I’m loving it’, and so I say, ‘alright, Mr.McDonald’s’.”


What the fuck was that? The joke was almost worse with the context. At least before there was hope.


As he laughs to himself, I look over to the dental nurse (who must’ve heard this joke a thousand times by now) with a sympathetic glance. To my surprise, she’s laughing too.


What’s wrong with her?


Her chuckling is so sincere.


She’s either deranged or faking it. He’s an idiot.


Maybe his flaws are what make him endearing?


His flaws are what make him a prick.


But it’s like she’s okay with that. She let’s herself see the good, somehow.


Delusional, eh?


Nah, it’s just a better choice.


Keep telling yourself that.


Yeah, maybe I will.


He brings the mirror to my face. I gulp.


Wow.


Wow.


The tooth looks great. As good as new. Oh my God.


Oh my effing G.


I suddenly feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, like I’ve been absolved of my previously reckless behaviour. I look at the dentist and I can’t stop laughing.


It dawns on me that the past doesn’t have to control us – it can get better; things can be repaired. You’ve just got to move forward, and keep trying. Whether it’s Brexit, breaking your tooth, being a shit friend, using the phrase “sue me” too much, regret won’t get you anywhere. All we have is the present and the future, and you’ve just got to do your best to not be a stupid fucking twat again. The past isn’t there to haunt us, we just look at it in the wrong way; like Adam Sandler, it’s there to teach us about ourselves, to make us laugh, and to remind us that it can, occasionally, be decent/Certified Fresh.


You’ve gotta look ahead and listen to that part of you that wants to see the good in the world.


I get back home, eager but also anxious to hear what my mum makes of my bizarre day. I open the living room door and look at the table. There’s a cup of tea and a slice of buttered bread waiting for me.


Life’s alright, init.


Yeah, it is. I’m Lovin’ It.


Anyway, that’s about it.


Cya x

*R.I.P.


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