Is this what you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?
To those people that accuse me of being a long-haired dirty-footed hippy who’s never more than an arms-length away from a glass of wine, all I can say is good luck with proving such hearsay. And no, before you ask, I am most certainly not in denial about my ongoing issue with avoidance.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking — “Lee, why the hell are you writing an ‘about me’ story when we already know all we need to know about you?”
Well, all I can say is that for some strange reason this morning — just after I’d changed a lightbulb, crossed the road and then walked into a bar — I had an overwhelming feeling that my life was an absolute joke.
I know what you’re thinking — “Lee, seriously, how many more unwitty one-liners, overly self-deprecating discourse and damn right terrible dad jokes are you going to force down our throats before you’ve even got to the point of the story?
Sorry about that. Suffice to say I have a tendency to get carried away with my moronic magniloquence for self-mockery, like the other day when I heard about the new self-deprecation club starting in town and I just couldn’t help but immediately put myself down for it. By the way, to those people that accuse me of overusing big words all I can say is that minisculism is in the eye of the beholder. Look, if you don’t know what ‘miniscule’ means don’t worry about it, it doesn’t mean much.
I know what you’re thinking —
“Lee, first of all, you’ll never get anywhere on Medium writing nonsense like this, secondly who the hell do you think you are?”
Well, first of all, let’s not forget that I’ve been in the Curation Slammer since I got here, so there’s no need to worry about that my friend.
Secondly, being the old-school Generation Xer that I am —only the other day while queuing up for my second Covid jab the nurse asks me if I’ve had a sudden loss of taste, “no,” says I, “I always dress like I’m stuck in the 90s” — you’ll never find me introducing myself with self-proclaimed prognoses, diagnostic disclaimers to excuse potential problematic behaviours and other such interpersonal strategies that take all the fun out of getting to know people the old-fashioned way. Actually, a girlfriend once broke up with me for being old-fashioned, which came as a complete shock to me as I was so sure there was alchemy between us.
“Lee, where the hell do you come from?”
I come from the same sceptred isle that gave the world William Shakespeare, the same city that gave the world the Rolling Stones and the same street that gave the world John Keats.
“Lee, what the hell do you do all day?”
Well, to be honest, it all depends where I’m at. You see, if I’m at my local psychiatric admissions ward trying to manage a bunch of raving lunatics and sometimes even spending time with our patients well then I’m being a psychiatric nurse.
If I’m at home, sitting in my underpants listening to other peoples problems all day while hoping Microsoft Teams doesn’t crash for the umpteenth time well then I’m being a psychotherapist. To be honest, working from home one day a week minimises the team laughing at my man bag. I mean, anyone would think they’d never seen a shaved scrotum before.
If I’m at home playing my guitar then I’m most probably pretending to be a rock star. By the way, contrary to popular belief rockstars don’t like sleeping with groupies just because the sex is fanfuckingtastic.
And if I’m at home wondering to myself “Lee, what the fuck are you doing with your life?” well then I’m just being a writer.
However, there is another role I have and it matters not where I’m at and that’s being a father to my 3 beautiful kids. They are never far from my mind and always in my heart.
“Lee, how the hell did a man like you end up losing contact with your kids?”
In an age of culture wars, where anyone caught using Roman Numerals is liable to prosecution for cultural misappropriation — well, not on my watch, I’ll tell you that for nothing — and where the Easter Bunny is about to be banned for a so-called culturally insensitive attraction to hip-hop it can be incredibly hard to be heard when you’re a male survivor of domestic abuse, let alone be believed.
I often reflect on the fact that despite court orders for direct contact, sleepovers, weekends and much much more, despite the fact I’m a safe and loving father, despite the fact I live a Zen lifestyle of veganism and an ethos of going through life causing as little harm as possible to all, despite all this, for some strange reason this is still not enough of a reason for the ironically named family justice system to do the right thing and start protecting my children from being coached to hate me. I mean what kind of a system sits by as one parent coaches their kids to hate the other parent?
I know what you’re thinking —
“Lee, how the hell do you find purpose and meaning in amongst such pain and loss?”
Simple, it’s all about learning how to maintain a positive mental attitude.
Look, none of us gets to choose the hand we’re dealt, life at times can be painful, tough and damn right exhausting but never forget that your life is ultimately what your attitude makes it.
““Keep your face always toward the sunshine — and shadows will fall behind you.”Walt Whitman
Originally published in Medium publication About Me Stories, 22nd June 2021.