Quark, Strangeness and Charm

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The ramblings of the last sane me.

Where to begin this random tale of an average bloke? ... Got it!

Hello, I'm Steve, an average sort of of bloke working to pay the bills. I'm sure you know what that's like — though if you're either rich or lucky you won't. It doesn't make any difference at all to me.

If you are wondering what this is leading up to you may be:

  1. Disappointed.
  2. Shocked.
  3. Amused.
  4. Scared.
  5. Bored.

Although if I said that I cared about what you thought, consider the fact that unless you are paying me a hideous amount of money I couldn't actually give a damn what you make of these thoughts.

I was born. Definitely. Back in the year 1968. Some people claim that I merely landed on this planet then and started to grow. This, I feel, is slightly unfair, because I must have been conceived somewhere, even if that is in someone else's warped imagination.

The month this all began in was November, which means that nine months earlier in February someone was cold or bored or horny or all three. And this, I am told, means that my star sign is Scorpio. Is that relevant? So far I still have only two legs and there is no sign of a venomous stinger arching over my head. But then, who knows what may happen as I grow older? I'm told that because I am a Scorpio I have a quick temper. Balls. I'm told that because I am a redhead I have a quick temper. Double balls. I have a quick temper because I am a bad-tempered sod who tries hard to control his emotions so that fights don't break out all the time. The movement of billions of tons of burning gas light years away from here has absolutely nothing to do with me, my life, my sense of humour or my (currently non-existent) love life. So I would like to take this time to say that if you do believe in astrology and find these opinions on the subject offensive, grow up.

What a load of mind-numbing rubbish. But, I hear you cry, if it is so brain-death-inducingly pathetic, why rave on so much about it? The answer is simple: grown adults believe in it. Intelligent men and women set great store by it — mind you, so do some complete morons who would make prehistoric man look advanced. But more on them later.

Douglas Adams made a wonderful mockery of astrology and the so-called proponents of its art in his most excellent novel The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul. In this wonderful mockery of humanity, his brilliant anti-hero Dirk Gently only buys a particular newspaper to read his horoscope because it is written by his friend who takes every opportunity to insult him. Does nobody else believe that horoscope writers are in a permanent state of taking the piss out of all the believers out there? I mean, why does Aries rising in Uranus mean you are suddenly going to end world famine and become fabulously wealthy while reading a load of bad news in a paper that revels in the misery of others during a five-minute smoke break at work? Has it ever come true? Is there any proof?

Why do people get so wound up about getting a 'bargain' in the sales? Don't they realise that the company selling this stuff is still making a massive profit and an accountant somewhere is laughing himself into an oxygen-depleted coma? As technology advances, the process trickles down the manufacturing chain until today's state-of-the-art is tomorrow's house base model that every semi-evolved three-year-old can use without taking its eyes off the television.

My partner of almost fifteen years recently announced that she wanted a divorce. It would be fair to say that in that one sentence the entire reason for my existence was destroyed and I was left feeling totally f*****g pointless.

At work the other day — I'm working for Tesco in Solihull — I helped a partially-sighted man called Jim do his shopping because his wife felt ill after arriving in the store. When we had finished and I was helping him into his friend's car, he turned to me and said, 'That was very kind of you. There aren't many people who would have helped so readily and done their best like that. You're a good lad — thank you.' Then got in the car and went home. What did Jim mean when he said I'm a good lad? The store boss asked me to help him so I did it without hesitation. The poor old fella could only just walk. In the time we went around the store to do his shopping I could have done my own, paid for it, driven home and unpacked it. He thanked me and sang my praises for taking the time to do my job. It made me feel like a million dollars. Thank you, Jim, for that simple expression of gratitude that made feel like I was actually worth something.

Alcopops. Why?

Curry flavoured pizza. Why?

Chocolate stout. Makes sense to me.

Anyway, if I had arrived here in a spacecraft of some kind, don't you think that I would have declared 'Thanks for the beer, chocolate and adrenaline — see you!' and climbed back in and gone home safe in the knowledge that anywhere else in the universe is better than this?

People seem to think that I am some sort of maniac. I don't do half the damn silly things my friends do and nobody calls them crazy. Do I save up and get a big cruiser or a mid-range tourer? Will Robbie Williams ever give up and leave my ears in peace? More importantly, will Disturbed tour the UK this year?

Questions, questions, questions. But wouldn't conversation be difficult without them? Was that a question originally or was it turned into one with the aid of a wiggly line and a dot? That was a question. Followed by a statement. Consider a world without questions — dull, isn't it?

Here's a good one: why is a hamburger called a hamburger when the damned things are made of beef? And what about the bacon double cheeseburger? It has two bits of bacon, one piece of cheese and two beef burgers. Hello, welcome to illogic town, please leave your brain at the hatstand. But curry-flavoured pizza, I ask you. If you want a pizza then have a pizza; you can have it delivered. If you want a curry, same deal with more choice, plus the added delights of nan bread and popadums. But if your idea of a good meal is curry-flavoured pizza, then you are obviously so drunk already that the only the thing you should be eating is a kebab. I mean, a kebab always looks, smells and tastes great when half your senses are sleeping in a ditch somewhere and the others are trying to get you fed and home. Ask yourself this: 'I'm sober and hungry, so shall I eat a kebab?' If you answer yes at this point, the more urgent question should be who are you to call me mad?

Kawasaki or Yamaha? Suzuki or Honda? Yamaha or Suzuki? Kawasaki or Honda? Honda or Yamaha? Kawasaki or Suzuki? Or, if the need arises, BMW?

Sod it, pass the skateboard.

One day, I'm going to wake up and not be in pain. Mind you, when that happens I'll probably be so surprised that I'll either walk into a wall or trip over my own feet in shock. People are remembered for creating drugs and medicines, but who knows who invented the means of using them? For example, being diabetic, I use up to four needles a day to administer my insulin. The question is, who had the idea of sticking a glorified pipe through the skin? And once it became common practice to stick these things into people, who thought up the idea of attaching a rubber tube and a bag of fluid to that needle to introduce fluids into the body? These people are lifesavers a billion times over and yet nobody knows who they are. I find this very sad and yet I hope that whoever did these incredible things led happy and fulfilled lives either first or second time around.

Reincarnation: what goes around comes around. Does that mean that logically we are going to be here today and back again tomorrow and the day after? Then again, if you follow the path of reincarnation along the lines many religions believe it works, this means that you then have to believe in karma and living well and all that train of horse malarky. But can a nation of people who follow this way of life start wars, kill others for no readily apparent reason, hunt unnecessarily, act like morons and actually seem to have prospered over hundreds of generations be wrong? They certainly don't seem unhappy when you see their photos on the television.

Interesting thought, isn't it?

Would a devout Zen buddhist monk make a better downhill motorcycle rider than someone who rides every day, practising their skills and technique? Or would the small bald-headed monk who believes that everything is related to everything else and works in harmony with it have the edge because he understands the relationship between the tyres and the earth, the gears and the frame and so on and so forth? The tech-head or the bald-head? If you want to complicate the question, shave the regular rider's head and give the monk a pile of tech manuals to study. Then once again leave your sanity on the hatstand. Or if you fancy a change, in the teapot.

Chocolate: now that is a brilliant creation. Even the word is good. When you think it or say it, it just feels good. Beer is also good, but has to come second because chocolate can be eaten in so many different ways, while beer can only be drunk. But what's wrong with being drunk? I hear you cry. Well, I reply, why don't you ask a glass of water? Then again, water is used in the making of beer which means that water can get drunk before it gets drunk. How cool is that? But water is also used to make tea. I know that many people enjoy tea, but I am definitely not one of them. The question is, what is the attraction? It doesn’t taste that good black and is, to be frank (or maybe george), insipid at best. At worst, it is bloody horrible. So why the hell do so many people drink it?

It's bad luck to wish someone good luck when going onstage. Instead, you have to say 'break a leg'. Whose leg? Why would I want to break it for them? Unless they're paying a ridiculous sum of money, in which case that's business.

Talk is cheap. That expression has been around for years, or so we are led to believe. But if that is true, why do sports commentators get paid vast sums of money to sit and talk about their favourite subject?

Motorway service stations — who would ever have thought when motorways were developed that they would need special service areas built to maintain them? And do they need to be serviced at an authorised dealer, or is all right as long as the owner's manual is stamped when the work has been carried out? Can you imagine the size of some of the spanners required to adjust, say, junction three of the M1? 'Big' isn't a big enough word and the next slightly more worrying thought is, imagine the size of the bloke that has to pick it up!

Billy Connolly has a wonderful phrase painted on the back of his bike leather. It reads, 'Too old to die young'. What a wonderful concept.

There is also the phrase 'never pass up on a good thing'. All well and good, but how do you know when that good thing arrives? I sincerely doubt it has a convenient label saying 'good thing' on it, so how do we know? Is it down to our feelings, our emotions, our instinctive reactions? Can it be that we rely on a series of almost random chemical reactions in a couple of pounds of meat to dictate how we choose our destinies and our lives? Should we obey these seemingly random responses and allow them to dictate our happiness?

Do humans keep cats as pets or is it the other way around? I mean, think about it. We buy the kitten, then we feed it and take it to the vet for whatever injections it has to have, then we feed it some more and give it affection and after x
period of time we allow it outside on its own. This is the time when it starts to develop its personality. Why? Well it is going to meet other cats and either fight them — more vet's bills — or it will run away or form an uneasy truce with them. Is it at this point that other cats communicate to it how to make humans feed it on demand and how to control a human until someone creates a can opener that can be operated with paws? Cats only need us when they feel like it. The rest of the time we are merely an inconvenience to scratch, bite or completely ignore. Could it be that cats are more like us than we realise?


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