Category Archives: rules

Nigel is only a figment of a madwoman’s imagination …

When Rocco’s mother signed up to Facebook, it became apparent she would need friends. It is, after all, a social network. One needs to be social. And if, as in Rocco’s mother’s case, one isn’t particularly – it comes to pass that necessity must be the mother of invention.

Rocco’s mother’s friendless state wouldn’t have mattered a hoot if she hadn’t, in a fit of boredom and curiosity one random afternoon, started to play one of the online games. She was perfectly happy being insular and posting pithy status updates which nobody ever read or cared about. She could have continued this way ad infinitum – and indeed, should have done so with gay abandon.  After a while, however – or a few whiles, anyway – it also became apparent one needed friends and neighbours in order to progress in the games. And at that point, Rocco’s hapless mother lost the plot completely – which was the moment of madness resulting in Nigel’s birth.

There are probably rules and laws governing Facebook which state members have to be bona fide human beings, using their real names and identities and swearing blind they haven’t airbrushed their profile photograph in order to look like Alan Rickman or the female equivalent. Rocco’s mother normally would not break laws even as petty as these – in fact, she would sooner poke her eye out with a rolled up Food-o-rama junk mail catalogue – but because she was aware other people had signed up pets, favourite toys, deceased ancestors and aspidistras in order to appear popular and, most importantly, to progress in games, she decided an imaginary friend was equally as bona fide as anything or anyone else (except, perhaps, Alan Rickman). Which was the root of the problem, really.

For Nigel, who burst into the world as an alleged archaeology student with a wicked and flirtatious nature, quickly evolved as a life force unto himself. Before Rocco’s mother knew it, he was chatting up women old enough to be his grandmother,  making somewhat lewd and unecessary comments to Rocco’s sisters, and running virtually amok in cyberspace – untamed and untrammeled. Before very long, Rocco’s mother realised with desperation she had no idea how to trammel him –  even telling him he didn’t exist was met with loud har har hars and protestations from others, (who should have known better), that they much preferred Nige to Rocco’s mother anyway, and if anyone was to be banished and exterminated, it had better be she, rather than he. Rocco’s mother realised with horror she was actually carrying out online arguments with Nigel. If the first sign of madness is speaking to oneself, which sign of madness is speaking to someone else who is actually oneself? The line between insanity and idiocy was becoming alarmingly blurred. While Rocco’s mother dug herself deeper into a mire of unreality, Rocco flourished and grew, gaining momentum, friends and admirers by the minute. It seemed he could not put a foot wrong, while Rocco’s mother appeared more bitter and twisted by the day, harassing and taunting Nigel in order to make him disappear up his own fake curriculum vitae.

Maybe the cruelest cut of all was the fact Nigel was far better at the online Facebook games than Rocco’s mother. His cafe was flooded with happy customers even when his shambolic cooking efforts left his counters empty and his stoves dirty. His YoVille houses were quirky and disgustingly filthy and fun to drop in on. Strangers requested Nigel’s friendship and were happy to send him farm animals, scented candles for his spaceship and chicken pot pies for his cafe. Rocco’s mother has warned Nigel he is absolutely NOT permitted to engage in online dalliance of any type whatsoever with random strangers. He has been told he must be completely honest with anyone who asks – and must confess to being merely a figment of a middle-aged woman’s imagination. Rocco’s mother is frightened she might log in one morning and find Nige has spent the night behaving in a most laddish manner, leaving broken hearts and shattered reputations in his wake. It keeps her awake at night, wondering what he’s doing while she’s sleeping.

The moral of this story is that it’s far, far better to have no friends at all. And that evil having been done, cannot easily be undone. And Rocco’s mother is becoming disturbingly aware she might find Nigel is drawn in indelible ink – and that she herself might not exist at all …

.oOo.

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Looking cool in a penguin costume does not make you a literary giant …

If there isn’t already, there should be a law which states clearly and firmly that fit, healthy 21-year-old lads are not allowed to always be first on the WiiFit leaderboard. This is particularly pertinent when the WiiFit actually belongs to Rocco’s mother. She should be allowed to be best at something

The Hunter Gatherer gave Rocco’s mother the WiiFit for Christmas. The frightening part was that it wanted to weigh her. Naturellement, she thought NOT. Who in their right mind wants technology to tell them they are obese?  You could argue that machines don’t know everything – and Rocco’s mother did. Therefore, she closed her eyes while the machine did its worst, and didn’t ever click on the WEIGHT button. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing – and Rocco’s mother wanted to venture forth into 2009 without much knowledge at all. Especially the kind which might impede her prior knowledge regarding how excellent chocolate and sea-salt potato crisps taste. And icy cold iced coffee by the gallon. And we’re not talking the low-fat kind. Why would we?

Rocco’s mother made herself a nice little avatar person and had a few happy hours trying out the games and exercises. Her nice little person happily zipped into a fetching penguin suit to compete in Penguin Slide – and was doing very well at that, and several other things. Rocco’s mother found she had surprisingly good balance. Because of this, she stupidly bragged to Rocco. A bad mistake, because Rocco has a competitive nature – and being a surfer, scoffed at the fact his aging mater might consider she could out-balance him at anything. He was sure he could do better. In a penguin suit, even.

Rocco set about making himself an avatar. A very cool one indeed – with spiky hair, sunglasses and a lime green outfit. Rocco’s mother *sigh* had to admit it was the height of coolness. Surreptitiously, in edit mode, she removed the spectacles she’d given herself. After all, she only wears them for reading and there are no reading activities to compete in. The fact she could whup Rocco’s arse in a spelling bee is her own personal and heavily guarded secret.

Rocco’s avatar zipped itself into the penguin suit – and even looked cool thus attired. He flashed backwards and forwards on the iceberg with gay abandon – not falling off once. Rocco’s mother, on the other hand, spent a fair bit of time flailing in the water. And was too obese tired to leap elegantly to catch the prized red fish (10 points each).  At the end of his turn, Rocco’s penguin leaped and cheered and punched the air. He then took his place at the top of the leaderboard. By this time, Rocco’s mother had broken out a packet of biscuits and settled down to watch whilst he took away, one by one, her records for Table Tilt, Ski Slalom and Tightrope Walking. In fact, he had so many turns at Ski Slalom that Rocco’s mother dropped off the leaderboard completely and will possibly forever remain unranked.

‘Look at it this way,’ Rocco smugly assured her, ‘It will give you something to aim for!’ There actually was something his mother would have liked to have aimed for. But one doesn’t do that to one’s only son. No matter how great the provocation. It also rankles slightly that Rocco’s body fitness test placed him right in the middle of IDEAL. In fact, it then proceeded to tell him he should aim to gain three kilos. There was no facility for file sharing – or Rocco’s mother would have happily downloaded some of hers into his fatbox.

On a happier note, Rocco’s mother is top of the leaderboard in Jogging. This is because Rocco can’t be bothered doing that. It would be beyond his dignity to run on the spot for 10 minutes in the middle of the living room when he could reap greater rewards in far shorter time at other activities. Nor will he try the yoga poses. To be perfectly honest, Rocco’s mother hasn’t attempted these either. She will wait until the holidays are over and she has the house completely to herself in order to pose in private.

There is some light on the horizon, however, Flygirl and Roo will both be visiting towards the end of the month. Flygirl has her own WiiFit and a very active, sporty partner to compete with at home. Roo is a gym junkie and jogs for miles and miles. Rocco’s mother hopes these two will prove formidable foe. Watch out, Rocco – your time may almost be up.

And bear in mind, your mother will always be able to whup your arse in a spelling bee. No amount of looking dashing in a penguin suit will ever change that …

.oOo.

Bring me my bow of burning steel …

I’m sick of being regulated. Not allowed to eat this, not allowed to park there, not allowed to do that. Pah! You’re not the boss of me! I just took a really good look at the pompous-arse sign at the edge of the park up the street, with its list of little black silhouette pictures – each of them overscored with that red circle, slashed through the middle, which means the little silhouette picture is verboten in the park.

So – no dogs, no horses, no golf, no kites, no motorcycles, no bicycles, no camping, campfires, knot-tying, dib-dib-dobbing or anything bloody else. No nudie yoga at sunrise, either, which will disappoint one of my nephews immensely.  He lives in a lovely, bohemian town which welcomes nudie yoga at sunrise, and gleefully – with quite a few Jaegerbombs under where his belt might have been had he been clothed – fronted up (at every possible level) one morning in order to dingle-dangle at daybreak. From what I gather, things were going marvellously well until the local constabulary were called and informed my nephew, amongst other official-sounding policey things; ‘… you are not in command of your faculties and it might be better if you went home, Bud.’ According to his mother, my nephew was actually semi-qualified to take part – after all, even though he’d never done yoga before, he had, on occasion, been nude. But I digress.

The point is, I’m getting more ornery as I get older and having turned 51 this week and being over halfway to a century, all these rules are making me feel as if I want to be very disobedient indeed.  I want, in fact, to get a great big motorcycle, panniers filled with dogs, kites and other random sporting equipment, and perform the shitkicker’s waltz all over that park. In the nude, too – but with a sheet wrapped around in order not to scare the horses (who aren’t allowed there anyway and shouldn’t be looking).

What was wrong with a childhood where we left the house after breakfast and only showed up in time for tea? Why was our world not populated with paedophiles and perverts? According to the Warrior Queen, you were in danger of slave traders dragging you into sinister vehicles which had blackened windows and leering men intoning, ‘Have a sweetie, little girl …’ – but I never saw any in my neighbourhood, and seeing as boredom hadn’t been invented then, none of us felt the need to cover the local shopping centres with graffiti or wrangle pensioners to the ground in order to steal their fluff-encrusted sherbert lemons and soggy tissues.

Local parks are no longer dangerous and fun. Gone are the high, steel slipperydips from which you hurtled into a hollow of hard-packed earth – which might have a few inches of mud in the bottom if your mother was unlucky – and gone also is that long plank swing, which eight kids could straddle while two more stood at the ends and made it go parallel with the top bars. Many arms were broken by the plank swing – and many more on the maypole, or from bicycles, go-carts and frenzied whirls on the Hills Hoist when no mothers were watching. Indeed, my multi-talented brother – he the inventor of so many goodly things to do – was able to sustain a marvellous head injury by hurling himself onto the bed from his top cupboard – while the ceiling fan was in full and splendid motion.

Alas, these things are merely a memory. Our park has a mean swing with a rubber sling which will only seat babies. People like me are unable to fit our legs through the legholes in order to revisit childhood even for one whimsical minute – and there would be absolutely no chance of squeezing one’s bargearse between the chains anyway . Under the swing is a pit of sawdust laid on rubberised mats. You couldn’t decently break a limb if you tried.

It’s all very well to purse our mouths, stop the fun and deprive today’s children of a proper childhood. They may not run on beaches with wild abandon and joyous dogs at their heels – nor may they eat too much icecream or climb a tree or ride a bicycle down a killer hill with no hands on handlebars nor helmet on head – and they shall not use imagination; that free and wonderful commodity which has died and been buried by technology and plastic crap.

It’s time to stick up for ourselves and be allowed to live again. Gather together in local parks this weekend with illegal animals and appliances. Build a bonfire, burn an effigy, smoke something herbal.

Bring me my chariot of fire …

.oOo.