One Giant Poo For Mankind
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
“Not bad,” I thought to myself, while at the same time repressing competing background thoughts about my existential loneliness, my deteriorating friendships, and an image in my brain of the time I pooed myself when I was in year 5 that just won’t go away.
“Good evening,” someone walking past said to me.
“10-year-olds make mistakes, alright.” I replied, confusing my background thought for my main thought, and also confusing the passer-by for a telepathic supernatural being.
I carried on walking. Every now and then I would look at the pedometer on my phone. I’ve decided that I want to start taking 10,000 steps every day – as I don’t have a job at the moment, and our culture teaches us that in order to be fulfilled we need to be constantly achieving arbitrary and meaningless targets.
I was a hundred steps from my target, and feeling pretty good about it. As I edged closer to victory, I entered Morrison’s so that I could buy myself a cinnamon swirl and celebrate the 10k in style.
While walking around that day, I spent a lot of time listening to sad songs on Spotify. I downloaded it so that I didn’t ever have to be alone with my dark thoughts, but I’m listening to the likes of Sean Kingston and his thoughts are worse than mine – I don’t know why she left you mate; I don’t have the answer. Just for god’s sake take care of yourself.
Sometimes I worry that I want to be sad. I have an attachment to feeling sad. I spend all my time listening to sad songs and watching sad television programmes. I don’t know why I do it. I think maybe it’s because often sad works of art are pregnant with hope. You labour through an excruciating emotional journey and at the end of it you have something to hold on to. My favourite thing at the moment is the TV programme Love Your Garden, presented by Alan Titchmarsh. At the start of the episode you’ll hear a harrowing account of how a single Dad struggles to give the best life he can to his severely disabled child. Money is tight, and since the mother of the family lost her long, drawn-out battle with leukaemia, the idea of anything joyful ever happening again seems like a hopeless fantasy, whose elusiveness only induces more pain. But then Alan builds them a new decking and everyone’s happy again. It’s beautiful.
Even in a political sense I’m addicted to misery. Ever since I’ve been interested in politics, I’ve fantasised about Labour getting into power. It’s like they’re a girl I’m obsessed with. Every moment is spent thinking about what it could be like, imagining they can make everything better. But now it actually looks plausible, it scares me. What I actually like is the fantasy, and the pain of it being seemingly impossible. I enjoy the delusion of thinking that even though all my mates have told me that they’re crazy, and in the past they’ve destabilised the Middle-East, that this time it would be different.
If they form a government and I’m still miserable, I’d have to confront the fact that maybe all my problems aren’t caused by low government spending. Realising that nationalised railways can’t make me happy is not something I want to face up to.
It’s all moving too fast for me at the moment. I can’t even look at my phone anymore – I’m terrified I’ll get a message from Jeremy Corbyn asking me if I want to “hang out or something”.
Walking around Morrison’s, fast approaching 10,000 steps, I started thinking (alongside the three usual background thoughts) about why it isn’t as easy to make forward progress mentally. I’m going backwards. For every step forward, it’s two steps back. The deficit of progress in my life is growing. I’m in the red, and I need help. I need someone to lend me a hand and take me forward. Someone to make me forget about the loneliness, the ruinous friendships, and the pooing myself in year 5.
But I don’t know who, if anyone, can do that. I’ve probably been in love with two people in my life, maybe three – but whether you can be in love with someone simply because of the way they can transform a garden from a desolate wasteland into a place of beauty on national TV is a debate that, much like the conflict in Isreal and Palestine, will rage on until way after all of us are long gone. Either way, the feeling in all three cases hasn’t been mutual.
Interrupting my thinking, a man said to me, “Guess how old these shoes are.”
“Ermm, I dunno, like 2 years maybe,” I replied.
“15 years,” he said, looking smug.
“Fair play,” I said*
Brushing that encounter off, I finally picked up a two pack of cinnamon swirls and stepped in line at the checkout. I looked at my phone. Three steps to go.
Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight.
One step closer. Suddenly I realised the ever-present image in my head of me pooing myself has disappeared.
Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine.
My mind felt clearer yet again. No longer was I plagued by the idea of friendships gone awry.
With each step forward, I was taking a mental step forward as well for some reason.
The loneliness remained, but one more step and I would be free.
I froze. My legs felt incredibly heavy – it was like they were made out of Sean Kingston lyrics. I couldn’t move. I’d grown too attached to the loneliness to say goodbye to it.
People were staring, I could feel their impatience engulfing me; customers started shouting at me. Everyone in sight stopped what they were doing and begged me to go forward.**
But then something gave me the strength to take the last step. The people most important to my life appeared in front of me. One step away I could see my mum, Alan Titchmarsh, and Joe, making his customary blog appearance. They were all urging me to join them, telling me I could do it. I stepped forward.
I’d done it. I’d fucking done it. The lingering loneliness was gone. Morrison’s erupted into a place of celebration; Shine by Take That started playing on a continuous loop.
I handed my cinnamon swirls over to the cashier and she looked at me in absolute shock. She’d witnessed a rebirth. A newfound sense of warmth had rushed through my body, down my legs and–
I’d pooed myself again.
Anyway, that’s about it.
*This bit is really irrelevant to the the story but its just something that genuinely happened to me and since it happened I’ve thought about it every day. It was weird. I dunno what he wanted. Fair play to him though, they did look pretty new.
**Except for the guy with the old shoes, he was just walking around looking smug as fuck. Once again, fair play to him.
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