Here’s a merry fucking Christmas story for you.
I’m back home now, after a seemingly endless term, and am sporting the remains of quite a tasty looking black eye. After my last post, where I described the gruelling coursework process that I was in the midst of, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the injury was sustained during the course of my full-throttle academic work. But, unfortunately, this early Christmas present had nothing to do with my Roth essay (which was submitted on time, in a beautifully carefree manner).
Our ‘student publication’ Christmas dinner took place on the last night of term, and I went along to enjoy a curry (a slightly non-traditional Xmas meal) and unlimited free alcohol. Strangely, the latter element is more closely connected to the black eye than the former. After a really pleasant meal with a very nice collection of people, I decided to allow the red mist to utterly descend upon me. What exactly the provocation constituted, I cannot remember, but I decided to start a fist fight, on the street, with two passing (and, if my memory serves me, sober) strangers. Suffice it to say that, drunken mess (and pathetic weakling) that I was, I lost my fight. And, when I checked the next morning, I had a swollen black eye.
Did I learn anything from this misadventure? Yes, three things.
A) I am not a strong man, nor will I ever be. If this is my physical prime - as scientific textbooks assure me it is - then it is simply further evidence of the non-existence of any sort of God.
B) Some people are really lovely. The two men I attacked were incredibly sweet - after breaking my face - and gave their drunk assailant a hug and refused my offer to pay for his ripped t-shirt. In a city that gets a lot of negative press for its horrible students, these two guys were just really, really good.
C) I need to not take celebrities deaths so personally. Not for the first time, I felt the death of a famous person (in this case, 95-year-old Nelson Mandela) with a profound intensity that was only exacerbated by my blood alcohol levels. When Gary Speed died, I didn’t do anything for a week, and this is just not a productive way to live my life.
So now, after all that early Christmas cheer, I’m back at home. I’m tired, weary and, very literally, bruised. My oldest dog is on his last legs and I’m trying to nurse him through to Christmas, even though he seems to not have the strength or energy to stand anymore. But he’s been a fixture in my life since I was 6 years old and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let him roll over and die. My penance for attacking those men on the street is to carry this fat old chocolate labrador out into the garden, so he can void his bladder. Ho ho ho.