Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Quinn Gene

Anybody who has ever proclaimed that life doesn't come with a manual just hasn't looked hard enough, because you can get one from Amazon for a cool $7.88. But more to the point, life actually comes with something so much better and more tailor-made than that: a stupid, stupid family. When I was a teenager, 98 percent of what left my mouth was so sarcastic and so dry that it could leave your kids crying in a Sea World parking lot. In the presence of the non-initiated, my mother would simply excuse my humour on my behalf as something I acquired at birth from my father, aptly referring to it as "The Quinn Gene". I'm only now fully realising how on point she was. Quinn men are so alike that I think we were all baked in an oven like cookies. You see, by that point, Mum had spent two decades leafing through the pages of my life manual, from chapter Wed Only Within the Motherland to How to Lift Heavy Rugs, and now, so have I. Here's a sneak peak at The Quinn Gene chapter.

Quinn Humour = Sahara Desert
There's no question, us Quinns think we're regular, natural comedians, and sometimes maybe we are. But to everyone else, it can get annoying quick, especially when we we're failing to pull on the strings we endeavoured to or simply trying to stir up shit. Our main problem is that we lost the recipe to dry humour circa World War I. While it should be 10 parts dry, one part water, we seem to forget the water part. You know what I mean: A wink, a subtle smirk, a nudge of the elbow, a punchline to button it. Which means that nobody around us can ever be sure of what's actually a joke and what's not. So, being around us is like living in the Matrix in that you start to question reality a little bit.

The take away: When preparing to execute a joke of non-wet properties, please maintain a straight back, bend your knees and put the dry humour recipe to use.

The reason we have a penchant for this sort of humour is probably because the only place it's really any good for us is with the opposite sex. Why? Because a dry sense of humour is rocket-fuel for banter, and that's really handy because the Quinns are ladies men.

Professional Ladies Men
If there's anything we want to do in life, it's not erect sky scrapers, cure cancer or serve our country. Na! Na! It's much simpler than that: We want to take you out to dinner...please? And it's all of us; we're basically just a bunch of walking ids. We can be loyal husbands, I think, but we can never quite put blinders on, because Quinn isn't something you can just shut out or turn off; it's omnipresent.

The take away: Think about something else. It's almost like girls are the only thing in a Quinn's head, which might be why none of us have ever done anything particularly commendable or great. There is only so much female-centric thought you can fill your mind up with until you start pushing important shit out, like carrying the one and how to write an active sentence, the words appeared on the screen as the keys were struck by the lone gentlemen.

However, these aren't terrible qualities to have by most measures. I mean, I believe this quality makes us drug sniffing dogs for romance and for a laugh, which are the makings of a fun night out. Tragically though, they tend to be the first things to fall by the way side due to the next few qualities, the first of which is that we don't fucking listen.

We Don't What?
We have notoriously bad communication skills, to the point where a search for acknowledgement risks becoming a deep exhibition you didn't pack the correct footwear for. You mostly just get silence following anything you say to a Quinn. Sometimes it's because we have other things on our mind, sometimes we are so hell bent on being right that we just don't want to hear it or we are listening and we just don't know that a simple 'okay' here and there is a conversational-must; not particularly remarkable or ground breaking. What is remarkable in this is that any man or woman would understandably struggle to be be funny or an effective ladies man when they aren't taking in what people are saying.

So, what good is a Quinn if one of his worst qualities cancels out his best two? What good are we if the only conversation to be had and the only jokes to be made will be ours and ours only? You can't banter with someone who doesn't listen because it takes two to banter, and therein lies the struggle of baring the Quinn name in your veins.

The take away: Listen.

But Quinns Think That Nobody Else Listens
If a person calls you, gives you some instructions or advice, accepts that you've heard them out, and doesn't call back five minutes later to reiterate everything that they just said, then that person is not a Quinn. An instruction said once by a Quinn is an instruction said three times, the same way that a single call from a Quinn is actually two consecutive calls. What's terribly ironic with this one is that Quinns too seek acknowledgement; the kicker is just that we hold little faith in it because we don't believe you're actually listening, so we ask for additional re-enforcements.

Take away: My suspicion here is that this is the result of years spent dealing with other Quinns and their aforementioned conversational ineptitude, something I'll aptly refer to as "The Quinn Cycle" when I have my own family. So, the take away here is to not fall into this irritating vicious cycle one can fall into as a Quinn by reserving it only for family gatherings and then shaking it off like sticky mud the moment I leave.

To add insult to injury, when a Quinn does acknowledge, the responses often make no sense, leading me to wonder if I've ever gotten a straight answer from one.

A Quinn Answer is a Myth
There's a reason why a Quinn has never run the kids story time at the local library: Because we would read the book like we're trying to fit it into a tweet! Which only leaves the listener with questions, which a Quinn will either again not acknowledge or answer in another tweet which will create a set of new questions secondary to the initial line of questions. A conversation with a Quinn is like doing mind pretzeling circles with a rubix cube; it's a scene.

The thing is, us Quinns, for whatever reason, have little to no appreciation for detail. If we were artistic painters...we just wouldn't be, we'd paint houses; that's the extent to our detail - paint only this room Honeymilk White and rub the paint we get on the carpet out with the tip of our boot. This is in stark contrast to my mother however who will often opt to include way too much detail! I have no clue who she got that from, to be honest.

To give you an idea, let's say my mum had to go back to the store to replace some expired milk she mistakenly purchased, she would make sure that I knew whatever activity she had to finish beforehand, the weather outside, what counter she went to in the store, how many people were in line, what the shop girl looked like before she refused the exchange, and how the subsequent mid-supermarket showdown went; it would take five minutes to tell the story. Now, say this happened to my dad, he would say "I went down to the store with some milk and got into an argument with a teenager", making you wonder whether or not you had a stroke in the middle of the story somewhere or, you know, you sneezed.

The take away: Find a middle ground between my mum's storytelling abilities and my dad's, because they both reside on bad ends of a scale. Sure, details are important, and long stories are fine when appropriate, but one should ensure the listener along the way that the details which seem boring and worthless are actually integral to an interesting conclusion. After all, the last thing you want is for someone to hear the punchline of a story and then not get it because you either didn't provide something important or they spent the whole time wondering when it will be over; all suspense is lost at that point.

 

Now, there are a few reasons why I really wanted to write this and it wasn't because I wanted to make a joke out of my family, nor did I want to act as if none of this applies to me or that I'm somehow above it all. My point is that this life that I have here is for me to make my own mistakes, learn from them and hopefully teach those after me in the bloodline a thing or two. Families are literally a made to order, living education, and this life would be a waste if I just went ahead and didn't learn from this vital life manual I've been given. Anybody who feels lost only needs to look to their family to reset the bearings. It would be like if tomorrow you worked with asbestos without a hazmat suit or poked a beehive with a stick expecting to be okay. I'm not ashamed to be a Quinn. Admittedly, the times I've caught wind on the grape vine of my 60 year old father's philandering with thirty-somethings, a small part of me wants to shout the guy a beer, but that's not who I want to be. The last few generations of Quinn men in my eyes have been facsimiles of each other. Sure, they're different people who have done a lot of things from the heart, but there are so many things they've also done where they've neglected to look to their elders for direction, and I'm not continuing that ancestral chain. As someone in their mid-twenties, I won't ever pretend it's not in my blood, but I refuse to get churned through this genetic-machine and spat out as a carbon copy of what preceded me; that would be a wasted opportunity.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whose Crime is it AnyWaze?

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Five years ago when the law man had me bent over a table Catholic-style, I was summoned to court a couple of times. On one occasion, a well-presented gentlemen was listed before me to appear in front of the judge in the hopes of having a drunk driving charge reduced, probably using the ‘But I'm Rich’ Defence. His articulate lawyer presented to the court that his client had been at a work event where waitresses walked around serving him glasses of wine on trays, impeding his ability to keep track of how wasted he was getting. Cut to later on in the night, he apparently got behind the wheel of his Mercedes Benz, or whatever car poncy fat cats drive, and upon spotting the random breath testing stationed up ahead, he drunkenly attempted an illegal 'U' turn manoeuvre like a modern day John Wayne. This attracted the attention of the police he was trying to avoid, for which he was caught, breath tested anyway and booked accordingly. Of course, had he simply downloaded an app and exercised some of what is commonly known only by me as 'nice guy law evasion', he would've been in the clear and I wouldn't have had anything to chuckle about later that night. What's more bizarre than funny is that not only is it getting easier to evade the cops nowadays, it's also becoming more socially and legally accepted; is that not strange?

There was a day when if you were in a car that had a police radio scanner installed, it either meant you had shifty friends, you were balls-deep in some shady Nightcrawler shit or you took shrooms and got butt-naked in the middle of a McDonalds again, but nowadays we all kind of have police scanners in ours cars, do we not? They're just in the form of GPS units and apps like Waze. When I bought my first GPS navigator and it kept telling me where all of the speed cameras are, I was like "What the? Why do I need to know that? Shouldn't I just be going the correct speed all the time?" As a general rule, whenever I get behind the wheel of what can essentially become a weapon with a twitch of the hand, I just do this thing where I go the speed limit, that way I can worry less about being photographed by the state and focus more on updating my Twitter feed with my free hand. #about2die. This was five years ago as well, and just when I thought that was bad, Waze entered the scene and took it to a whole new level!

Waze is a navigation app which uses crowd-sourced information to set itself apart from less sinister apps like Google Maps and Navman. It's basically the Wikipedia of the road. For example, if there's a crash where you are, tap the crash button and the app will warn other nearby users that two or more idiots have caused a traffic interference up ahead. More importantly, if you spot a cop, just tap the cute little man with the police hat and users nearby will literally hear "Police reported up ahead". How is this shit legal? It's the technological advancement of flashing your high beams at cars on the opposite side to warn them of the fuzz hidden behind the trees up ahead. Oh! There are cops nearby? Well then, let's slow the fuck down, throw the weed out the window, close Tinder, and pretend that we care about safety for a minute.

However, the larger question is: How is everybody else so okay with this? I mean us, as citizens! Nobody seems to be batting an eye lid at the fact that all of us are essentially racing around the streets like Michael Schumacher, doing metaphorical 'U' turns whenever there is a speed camera or a police unit nearby, just like that well-to-do drunk driver was being charged for that day. So again, why the fuck was he being charged really? Was it because he was committing a crime, or because he didn't have an app? I'm confused.

Let's be real, to us, speeding and driving while fatigued or under the influence are these tiny negligible crimes; they're nice guy crimes. It's like disobeying bicycle regulations or embellishing on your tax write-offs; insignificant, victimless offences. "Ten dollar slacks for work. Pshhht! Let's say they were thirty and plan a trip!" But actually, those things are really only as nice as we are morons, because speeding is a nice crime which can rather quickly become very dark, like what your prsion cell would be, or the inside of a coffin, I suppose. The ABC reported 348 road deaths in NSW last year, attributing "speeding, fatigue and drink and drug driving" as the main causes to fatal road accidents. We do some of these things the same way that we underestimate our earnings in our welfare paperwork because we see our stupid friends doing it, but those two things reside in such different ballparks, they may as well be in separate fucking universes. The only way you can die from one of them is if you're walking to the welfare office and a piano falls on you! Australian television once ran welfare ads primarily shaming those who make "mistakes" on their forms, little did I know that while we were busy thinking about that, companies like Waze and Navman were paving the way for the normalisation of dangerous driving, which is what this is, let's not lie to ourselves.

So, we can all prance around and say things like "When I drive stoned, I'm more alert", "Blogs are stupid" and "Stop making a big deal over 15 kilometres", but the reality is that numbers still have meaning. Numbers of road fatalities due to dangerous driving mean something. The numbers authorities put on speed signs mean something (most of the time, see point four); believe me! Have you seen Sydney traffic? They want us off the road as quickly as possible and yet, they're still asking us to go 50 kmph in residential areas. Why? Because 50 means something different to 60. So, the day that either numbers become irrelevant or become low enough that we can be trusted to govern ourselves is the day we can ignore being only 15 kmph over what's posted. But if we continue on this path of allowing things like Waze to fly under the radar while it breeds an acceptance of police circumvention and speeding, those numbers won't be going down and we'll be just as bad as that fat cat in court with his silver Mercerdes or whatever the fuck he drives; mark my words.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Chocolate Cake & Dishonesty

If heartbreak and break ups were an Olympic sport, I'd be the little league coach in some one-horse town, who would subsequently be fired for being so shit at it. Parents would complain. I'd respond by calling them morons and their kids creeps; it would be a mess. The very worst part of heartbroken Ryan is not my behaviour, not my lack of maturity or my wealth of melodrama, it's actually a part that nobody really sees: I lie a lot, and that's not good, because I've been heartbroken a lot lately.

Honesty, believe it or not, is something I pride myself on among most other things. I don't care if I'm funny, likeable or fuckable, I want honesty to be the trait others revere in me. I want the people around me to feel like they never have to question what I say, even when they want to punch me. I'm not just talking about veracity, but forthrightness too. However, the passed 12 months has seen my romantic life dragged through the mud, and I've managed to take these two qualities along for the ride. What's scarier is that the lies I've been telling aren't at all calculated, they're just knee-jerk reactions, where my mouth is saying words and my brain is screaming at it like "what the fuck are you doing?" Consequences, be damned! There are two reasons why I do this.

Rebalancing Power
I've always found that where you find successful romance, you find equal power. There’s none of this who wears the pants bullshit. There isn't a person who's only in it to fend off desperation or only for good chocolate cake and nothing else, nor is there someone who thinks they can get better chocolate cake elsewhere.

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Since my foray into lying started a year ago, the problem's been that my love affairs keep being with girls who find my cake eh, okay at best, even after I've slaved over it all day. So, when one of them finally tells me she's found better, more delicious cake elsewhere, power shifts out of my favour. In order for me to immediately restore the balance, I too will say that I've been getting chocolate cake from somewhere else too, perhaps one with exquisite white chocolate sprinkles! The saddest part is that this is despite the actual truth that I've just been eating my own shitty cake alone in my room in front of saved episodes of The Food Channel! Rewinding through my favourite parts with my free knife hand.

So, from then on I have to exhaustively act disgusted whenever she sees me cooking my own cake. I also have to plant crumbs from the other fake girl's cake around my kitchen when she comes over to pick up her things I've practically been holding hostage. It's a layer cake of lies that I can bake myself into in a matter of seconds, but then it takes months to begrudgingly eat my way out of it! Also, I'll rarely ever actually have the balls to come right out and just admit "yeah, I'm not just lonely anymore, I'm also a liar, you got me!"; two very attractive L words to the opposite sex. But there's also something else here too. 

I'll Never Starve Though
A fear of mine in any non-exclusive casual fling is looking like someone who can't get cake elsewhere. Now, I'm not saying that I'm not desperate, nor am I admitting that I am, but I certainly don't want to be seen as such, so I lie to make sure! I lie through my teeth about how much of other people's cake I've been having, acting like I've had heaps. But it's not so much about feeding my Brad Pitt complex as it is about ensuring that people know the place they hold in my heart. Need more?

Well, I've had arrangements with people where I'm just killing time 'til the next sweet serving, and then on the flip side, I've had other things which have made me never want anybody else's cake again, but ultimately didn't work out. I don't want the latter to think they're just the former. Despite this, even in the loosest of unions, I have a tendency to shut out other cakes, which actually makes it seem to the other person that I am in fact desperate; they don't see the rejection, just the outcome. So, when I dishonestly say that I've had other's, I'm basically just ensuring that I'm with them because I chose to be with them, not because I felt like I didn't have a choice. You see, to me, the beauty about wanting be with someone is that it stops being about how good the cake is and how good other cakes might be, and it starts to be about cake you know you'll be happy with for the rest of your life. It's not about settling for the first girl who comes along or wanting the most popular chick you know to touch your dick, it's about finding something in someone else which makes something in you crazy, no matter the time, no matter where you are in the world.

While I can't exactly blame them, I don't really like desperate, hungry people; they don't date people, they date concepts. That's bad news for you if they ever come across the sample counter down at the local supermarket, because they'll keep the concept they care so much for, but they'll swap out your cake for that one, fucking guaranteed! You see, everybody wants to be the star of their very own little romantic comedy, myself included. We're brainwashed into ideas of perfection, which is a fucking mirage, but people will still leave you for it. So, I don't want to simply fill in the blank in someone else's bullshit concept, nor do I want someone to think that they're filling my blank, more importantly. So I lie. I know, I didn't make myself this way, it just sort of happened.

Anyway, it needs to end, the lying. I've ended it before and I can do it again. Up until my mid-teens, exaggerating the truth and making up stories had become a nasty little habit of mine. They weren't particularly bad or malicious, they were just little embellishments of the truth, but it was nonsensical and exhausting. I hated myself for it. Eventually I decided that no matter how boring the details and no matter what colour they painted me, I had to ignore that little liar who lives in my ear, and it was a monumental realisation. I just think this last year and a half I've been at my weakest, perhaps - immature, bad temper, health in decline, insecure, lonely - and in that I've let some old habits resurface in order to protect myself. I know I can be better.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Things I Learned About Denmark

A semester in Denmark I spent 10 months planning, stressing about and trying to attract girls with is coming to a close. I also spent 10 months reading the same thing over and over about the country. Ahhh, it's so cold; it's flat; they bike heaps; they drive on the other side of the road; the Danish language is not the prettiest, nor easiest thing in the world to learn; the sun sets at 4PM in the winter, 9PM in the summer. Honestly, there is nothing to really call home about when it comes to differences between Denmark and Australia, but here are some I wish more travel sites and blogs would start writing about instead of putting me to sleep.
         
hair-1It's really easy to date a girl who looks like your ex
Tall, blue eyes and blonde; that's most of the girls here. If she's brunette, she's either a mix or a Scandinavian-anomaly you need to put on sunglasses for and observe like a solar eclipse. Black jacket with black skinny jeans to match seems to also be a bit of a trend here as well, or just black attire in general really. So basically, be prepared to always bump into your Danish female friends on the street, only to realise it isn't her after you take a closer look. I've learned by now just to keep moving; it's probably not her.
         
Danes aren't sure what "hygge" translates to in English
Hygge, pronounced hooga, is one of those many Danishisms you'll catch onto if you speak to enough people here. You may have even read about this one elsewhere, but I still included it because it might be one of my favourite things about Denmark. It might not be even be something you understand immediately. Some will tell you it means "pleasant". An attractive girl whose number I forgot to ask for described it to me once as 'just happiness'. But I think the general consensus is that it means "coziness". But it's not exactly cozy in the English sense of the word. What I've gathered is that it's more of a concept of the niceties in Danish life than something which can be summed into words, especially English ones. It's a feeling. It's blankets and candles in the dark, cold winters, and then friends relaxing around a grill in the warm summer. Or at least that's my tawdry understanding of it.
         
DSC_1169
         
thumb__0003_marshall_major_ii_black_rgb_highres_10Everybody uses these Marshall headphones
It's almost like the hype of Beats by Dre that is so abundantly present in Sydney didn't quite make it to these shores. Instead, it was these babies which made it, and thank God for that. They're way better than Beats, but it's random. I would've expected Sony, Bose, Senheiser or even a more local brand like Bang & Olufsen, but Marshalls? That's weird. Was there a sale or are Danes just a good judge of quality?
         
 
Bicycle laws make sense
By law here, you must have front and rear bike lights, use bike paths and roads, obey traffic signals, and indicate with your hands otherwise the law man will wrap shackles around them, which all makes sense. Thus, ending this point.
         
2631332565_ec90c1a348_bHang on just a sec. Notice how I didn't mention anything about helmets? Unlike NSW, you don't have to wear one here. Why? Because if you take a tumble and knock your head, it's your problem. Danes believe that it's up to you if you want to kill yourself, not them. Helmet laws to me are like any rule you had in preschool. Wear a hat outside; don't pick your nose; only use plastic cups; don't fill them with Melted-Crayola Cosmopolitans. The rules make sense and then the moment you apply them to an adult, it's stoopid. Now I'm sure it could be argued that a head injury becomes the responsibility of the health care system and thus costs money, but how much of a strain can bicycle injuries be putting on it really?
         
Zebra crossings may as well not exist
They are literally a waste of paint. In Sydney, a zebra or pedestrian crossing allows a person to cross a road which doesn't have a traffic signal close enough, and a person has right of way the moment they stand near or on one; we follow this. In Aarhus, however, they paint them at all the traffic signal crossings and when a pedestrian gets the little green man, it's car-dodging time! Instead of those little beeps for the blind, they should just sound a God damn starters pistol, especially for traffic turning into your street. Cars are basically legally allowed to pass through whenever they are turning left or right and there isn't a person in front of them, that's the rule, which is fucking common sense! I don't need paint and a green light to tell me not to mow someone down with my car in Sydney! You have right of way here as well, sure, but let's just say that I get less frightened jaywalking in this country than I do using the designated crossings.
         
The buses operate on a strict honour ticketing system
I think I know why Danes are the happiest in the world, because they don't have to speak to grumpy bus drivers, or in yellow Aarhus buses at least. Why? Because ticketing is left solely up to automated machines and, of course, the passenger's own sense of right and wrong.
         
bus-top
 
Also, while Sydney only last year started letting passengers enter through the back door using their Opal Cards (which are actually made of plastic, by the way), that's nothing new in Aarhus. So, you don't even need to so much as look at a Midttrafik employee, you just have to watch out for ticket-inspectors. Tip: they wreak of justice, bare little sympathy but large standard issue jackets, they loiter in packs of two or three, and you can spot them from a kilometre down the road.
         
Danish Supermarkets aren't hell-bent on polluting the earth
Woolworths, Coles, IGA, Franklins and the one plastic bag per tomato policy; that was Australia in the 90s. We were giving out plastic shopping bags like they were free, because that's what they are!
         
Then German-based Aldi came to our shores and Australians were flabbergasted. Discount supermarkets a fraction of the size of ours predicated on the notion that if you really need a plastic bag, pay for it and bag up on your own time, we have customers to serve. We were all like "Whaaaat? No plastic bags? How could this be?" I remember all of the adults in my life having an existential crisis in 2001 thanks to Aldi. They all roamed the streets hugging their groceries like new-borns, utterly unsure of what to do with themselves; it was hilarious. Over a decade later, I've come here and realised that most supermarkets are like Australian Aldi, including the Aldi here. Why? Because Danes, and I suppose Europeans in general, like the earth and they know that there is one thing that can combat laziness, and that's making people pay for it.
 
DSC_0000 (19)Danes don't understand why any Australian would go to Denmark
Because they are dying to go to Australia, apparently. Why? Because Danes hate the cold, and they aren't shy about making sure everybody knows it. It is the one thing they all love to complain about; it's what unites them.
 
 
 
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Letters For When I Get Hit by a Bus

One day I'm going to die, and it's either going to be my best day or my worst. I think it's probably going to be the latter, but an optimist might argue that it will be the greatest day of my life, so fingers crossed. My most anxious thought about my death is the people around me not knowing or not being totally sure of how I felt about them. When I was 14, I had a Catholic Studies teacher whose name escapes me; it was something long and Maltese, Mr. Gali-something. He was an olive-skinned, clean yet unshaven middle-aged man with a long salt and pepper pony tail. He had an avuncular heftiness that you'd imagine seeing at a family barbecue or a local ten pin bowling championship. But looks aside, he was a funny yet dead-pan bloke and a very deep thinker. I'd always disliked religion in school, but he taught it like he wasn't following a syllabus and I liked that. To better get in touch with ourselves, in class one day he made us write a letter to someone about all the things we'd want them to know if we were to die suddenly. They were goodbye letters, and this one single day in a small Sydney classroom had such an impact on me that I'm still writing these fucking things 11 years later.

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When I was still in school, I never really thought anything of it; writing these letters, that is. I would go home, type them, date them, hide them, and I never thought that it was strange or particularly worth mentioning to anyone. In fact, at the time, my death still wasn't a real thing to me. I thought I'd live forever. I lived everyday and slept every night like there'd be more of them, even though there was no guarantee on the side of the box. Standard for a teenager, I suppose. At the time, I guess I saw the letters as more of a safe place I could be at my most honest and my most blunt than I had the guts to be in person or on the internet. I was a shy kid who was less than forthright with most of the people I came across. I had a lot of strong feelings for people, both good and bad, and yet I was so afraid to share any of them as much as I was itching to. But at the same time, I couldn't bare the thought of dying and those thoughts dying with me, with no means for someone to salvage them. But I figured as a teen that there was something so honest in death, especially when one feels as if they have nothing left to lose and nothing left to hide, and I wanted to see if I could channel a bit of that myself. That's why you never want to speak to someone who thinks they're dying, because if they've always thought you were a dick, they might finally tell you.

But I think that was what appealed to me as a 14 year old. The first batch of letters I penned weren't pretty, so much so that they could've become what caused my death had they gotten out. They were dark, horrible and extremely vindictive. They were filled with such resentment that at the time I relished the thought of my death just so that people would read them and realise that they no longer had the chance to make amends for the ways they'd wronged me, they would just have to live with the guilt of receiving a scathing letter from a dead guy for the rest of their lives. I was an angry, angry kid who carried around a lot of pain, and the thought of offloading some of that, especially from the grave, made me fucking giddy with joy.

To say that I don't still have that thought would be a bit of a lie, but following school I would eventually better channel the habit more positively toward the people I love. As much as I wanted my foes to know how awful they were as human beings, I wanted my friends and family to be sure of the opposite too. I wanted them to know what it was I loved about them, how they enriched the time I was alive, the changes they made to the people around them, and how I hoped they would live their lives after I was gone, essentially reminding them to hang on to the values and traits that I so revered in them. I most importantly would put my deepest desires in there. The letters I've written to the friends I'd fallen out with are about how much I wanted to ask them to coffee and start a fresh, but was ultimately too stubborn to do so while I was alive. Some are to girls I liked but never had the courage to tell them that I visited the places we first met or kissed and secretly hoped they would serendipitously be doing the same too, even though that would never happen. For over a decade, I have essentially been reverse-eulogising my friends. Instead of them going up to the podium and talking me up as I go into the ground, it was the opposite, I was talking about them to them, albeit in a less sugar-coated and more authentic fashion.

More importantly, the greatest thing to me about these letters, the most vital and character-moulding lesson that Mr. Pony Tail inadvertently laid the groundwork for that day at school was that these goodbye letters are ridiculous. At first, I didn't have the audacity to say half the shit I wrote, that's why they were necessary at the time, but not anymore really. The more I matured, the more I realised how silly it was that I wasn't just coming right out and saying these things. I've written them less in my 20s because now I know that I could die, and I'm driven by that a little. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and would never have actually asked you out for a beer, and who the fuck am I to deny myself of that while I still can? That would be stupid. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still writing these things regardless, it's just that more often than not, I've started to actually give them to people, just edited as normal letters. I'm not afraid anymore. Of course, I never told them that they started out as death letters and I would omit anything that implied it, like all the now that I'm gones and all the past tenses. But…some people have them.

What that means is that at the core of all of these words my friends, family and ex-whatevers may never read, they made me a more forthright and honest person; not just with others, but with myself. Some might say that the letters made me into an arsehole, but I say that they made me more transparent to most on the outside and they helped draw a clearer path to my heart for a select few on the inside, transforming me from a hardened-boy into a better man. Fuck, imagine if I'd called in sick or jigged that day; God knows who I'd be right now!

To my surprise, I've written this blog for nine years now, and some of these letters still predate its very first post by a long time. This also isn't the first time I've tried to write this post, nor is it the second, or the third. The letters were one of my deepest secrets, and that's not hyperbole. Sure, they live in a folder more hidden, more secured and more deeply nested than...well, you can guess, but the secrecy wasn't exactly intentional. There's not a lot that I keep close to my chest, and anybody who's known me for longer than an hour would be able to attest to that. It just didn't come up, and how could it? Like five people know. Perhaps it was because somehow I felt like they were almost symbiotically attached to my death, like they were the only thing I had saved for my funeral, and if I let that go, what else would I have just for me? I also didn't want people to feel hurt, weirded out or, most importantly, curious.

So, why write about it, and why write about it now? Well, last year I had a four and a half year relationship fall apart. I thought I'd be with her for as long as I lived and I trusted her in ways that I never knew existed, so I told her about them and deputised her into distributing these things in the event of my death. It was an unfair and fucked up request, but it meant a lot to me and brought a guy with no religion quite a bit of comfort. I don't have someone like that anymore and 11 years is a huge chunk of time for a 25 year old. It's time people knew, I think, not because I've been itching for them to know, on the contrary actually, I'd rather it stay a secret. Nor is it because I want people to come looking for them, or that I want everybody to expect that they have one waiting for them, because not everybody does. It's because - and this is the only reason - it's because I want people to know that these fucking things exist and that they will continue to be written, because when I'm no longer around, no body is going to let these people know for me and the letters will probably be lost. This post is my only hope, really.