Not by Josiah in 2004
You would think that writing that essay about your holidays would get easier as you got older. Instead it seems to get more and more difficult. And to complicate it with joys and disappointments – well, that creates a problem. My friend Kirsten said ‘Tha’s jus’ shan’, but as I said to her, that is not the sort of language you can use in an English assignment, though she’ll find it easy otherwise. She will find it difficult to know what to leave out. Kirsten is in the heights of shrieking euphoria if she just sees someone in the street who looks a bit like some guy from Brookside (joy). Whereas she will descend into a black gloom for the rest of the day if there’s not enough milk in the morning for her additive-laden psycho-pops (disappointment). Which she only eats about twelve of, to save calories, then has a Mars Bar and a bag of crisps at break. She can have a dozen joys and disappointments a day. At the other extreme is my middle brother, who my mother says is about as emotional as a toilet seat. Actually she said ‘goddam toilet seat’. Apparently that makes it a less terrible thing to say, because it is a Literary Quote, rather than worse because she said ‘goddam’, or because he might be permanently emotionally scarred. You can’t beat rules like that.
I’m a lot more emotional than a toilet seat, and a little more emotional than my brother, but I’m pretty level-headed, and I’m struggling to find good examples of joys and disappointments. I probably need at least six to spin out this thing for long enough. Fifteen if I write in my usual style, which I like to call telegraphic and to the point. My dad calls it featureless and dull. He says I should write in this style, that you are reading today, with rubbish spilling out all over the place, and totally irrelevant nonsense inserted apparently at random, as if the writer is suffering from the effects of a hallucinogenic drug. That way I’ll only need three, more in keeping with my personality. ‘Make them work for it’, he says. He’s at his worst when trying to be helpful like that.