Sunday 30 September 2018


The man sitting here at his computer is not the same one that wrote this colyoom last week. That bloke could breathe through both nostrils and cough without having to clench a distant sphincter, for fear of what might happen at the other end.

For those of misandrist inclination, switch off now, as you’ll be blinded to everything but a man mansplaining man-flu, but this is not about my illness, but the altered state I feel I’m in.

Think it started back when I was 17 and smashed my femur,. My biggest bone was broken in two, the tibia below had a compound fracture and I came out of surgery with a chest infection.

On the ward they slapped my leg up in a sling, stuck a metal stick sideways through my knee and attached it to weights at the end of the bed. Every thirty seconds my rasping chesty cough shook my broken leg.

When I asked how long it was going to hurt they said 6 weeks, so I took myself off painkillers. They’d been giving me 4 hourly pethidine jabs that had me floating on the ceiling, and DF 118s and all sorts, but no.

Instead I learned to see pain as simply another way of being. An altered state. Not pleasant, not to be sought out but if unavoidable, I step sideways from it in my mind and go:

“Oh look. My back’s in spasm.”

I’d say it helps put things in perspective, but what does that mean? Perspective implies that there’s a common ground somewhere, from which differing views emerge.

I’m not so sure.

Which is the real world? The one last week inhabited by a scribbler healthy and full of vim, or this drab place I live in today? Same room, same carbon based life form (cap’n) but now debilitated to the point where breathing is hard and conscious work, while a pile of crumpled soggy kitchen towels climbs higher by my side.

Beyond those we seek out through alcohol, caffeine and other drugs, we live in an infinite amount of constantly altered states, thanks to chemicals, climate and other people.

This little virus is dominating my life today, but by the time you read this it will have left me and could be inside you.

The other day my excellent friend Whispering Blue solved a mystery that’s been driving me crazy me for years.

A few years after my failure in America, I was walking my favourite beach under blue skies and suddenly experienced a joyous rush of euphoria. My mental cinema screen ran a high-speed movie montage of all the rage, depression and pain I’d suffered and caused, being morphed over time into happiness and this bliss, and I raised my arms to the sky and shouted:


“Thank You!” to the universe.

“Thank you, Charlie!” boomed the voice back from behind and above the clouds, and yes, as you might imagine, this troubled me deeply.

As a Pantheist-Atheist Jewish mutant, you could say I’m keeping my options open, but I doubted my sanity when faced with having to ask myself if I’d heard the voice of God.

You wouldn’t be hearing about it now if my friend hadn't explained that in my euphoric state there might be neural pathways blown open that allowed for sound to appear as if it came from far away.

Of course!
Thank goodness!

You don't have to burn me at the stake or build a shrine to me: I was experiencing an altered state.

We all are, all the time.
Normal is so last century.

Aiding and abetting our altered perception of what we think is going on, there come words that change meaning. This colyoom is always eager to give you the heads up about new wordy trends. 

Way back in March 2009 DV was on the case of the dilution of ‘iconic’ and in September 2014 colyoomistic red flags were raised about ‘so’. So now ‘so’ is pandemic. So now every sentence starts with so.

This time however DV is hands up out of date and behind the times. Sometimes trends take a while to reach us here in the West of Ireland, but I noticed in London last Spring and on the UK media the frequent use of ‘disruption’ as a positive notion.

There are disruptive technologies sold on Dragon’s Den and disruptive thinking is so cool it poohs ice cubes.

Just like our states of being, language changes all the time.

We will always be fed words designed to influence and alter our opinion, so it’s vital that we don’t swallow them without question.

Take a look at the word Islamophobic. It’s the commonly accepted term for discrimination against Muslims, but what’s with the ‘phobic’? Every religion has at some stage perpetrated something worthy of fear, yet only Islam is so tainted.

Christophobic? Sikhophobic? Judaiophobic?

On September 7th, Donald Trump went from Montana to Washington via North and South Dakota. During that single day, while talking to journalists and the public for no more than 120 minutes, he made 125 false or misleading statements.

Praise be to the wonderful people who still check facts. Thanks to their diligence we know that by the 601st day of his presidency, Trump had told over 5,000 lies.

At a time when Doublespeak rules and words threaten to become utterly meaningless, you can’t just have a crisis: you now have to have an existential crisis.

The Labour Party, Manchester Untied and Bumblebees are all in crisis, and if it ain’t existential it ain’t worth a dime.

My crisis is far from existential.
It’s very simple.
I just need to lie down and kick this virus.

©Charlie Adley

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