This Week I Had A Health Scare And Realised That I Was Immortal.

Something that I get accused of on a regular basis is that I over share parts of my private life in exchange for easy laughs. That instead of keeping things to myself like the mature adult I should be, I’ll instead eagerly blurt something embarrassing out in order to hit the comedy jackpot and bathe in the warmth of my easily earned laughter. With that in mind, please prepare yourself to read this weeks blog on the topic of me finding a brown growth on my penis.

It started a few evenings ago, when upon ending one of my usual visits to the toilet, I discovered a dark patch of skin just looking back up at me. Instantly, a mixture of panic and intense anger stirred deep within.

“Just my fucking luck. Of all the cancers to get, I get dick cancer. Nobody is going to do a cake sale for penis cancer…. ” I found myself muttering as I strode determinedly towards my poor girlfriend with penis in hand.

Greeted with the usual sigh and roll of the eyes that I have been accustomed to over the years, she rather wisely pointed out that it was probably nothing but it was best that I contacted my GP in the morning. This advice was by far the most sensible thing to do. I knew it was the route I should take even before she said it. Unfortunately, however, I am a silly man and as silly men often do I decided to ignore the sensible woman and instead spent the next two days unproductively comparing my growth to some of the most cancer riddled genitalia the internet had to offer.

Now there are some life events that are so important that people just know were they where when they took place. JFK’s assassination, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11. In years down the line when I’m asked, “At what point did your girlfriend lose all respect for you?” I’ll know in a heartbeat that it was on a Monday evening in July after leaning over to my beloved and asking her for the seventy fifth time to look at some random unfortunate penis on Google Images.

With a random mans penis just inches away from her face she snapped and informed me that she would finally end this nonsense. I awoke the next day to an email informing me that I would receive a call from my GP in the coming hours.

Today I was to face my fears.

And my health anxiety fears were raised to an all time high when in work my phone began to ring.

This was it.

I was in the last few moments of living in world where I wasn’t seriously ill.

I picked up my phone and walked past a colleague who I mouthed something about needing to take a call too because vagueness is king when you’re just about to go and stand in a corridor and attempt to privately discuss a potentially serious medical issue about your cock.

The phone call started as I expected it to begin. The bog standard questions about my general health and so on. Quite quickly, however, it became apparent that he would need to take a look at the marking and he politely suggested that I send him some photos. Reluctantly, I agreed and asked him what would happen once he had viewed the photos. His answer startled me.

“If I call you back it is probably something that needs more attention. If not, I’ll just text you.”

For some bizarre reason, he was adding jeopardy into this. Like some sort of twisted game show host he held all the power in his hands and I would soon become transfixed on my phone hoping to be this weeks lucky winner and receive the text that would confirm I could continue to exist.

Now I’ve had terrible starts to many working weeks, but very few have involved me sneaking off from work and taking pictures of my junk in the disabled toilets.

But there I was.

It was happening.

We live in a world ruled by identity politics. Almost on a daily basis I see people of all genders, sexuality, classes arguing between each other. However, I think we can all agree on one thing – dicks are disgusting. Even on the best day with the most flattering lighting, one hundred percent of them still took gross. But on this day, hidden in a disabled toilet with my foot up against the door I might possibly have owned the most disgusting of all dicks on planet Earth. The combination of potential serious illness and being discovered by a work colleague had made my little fella completely shrivel up. I genuinely remember pathetically shouting after my fourth attempt at capturing an image, “Just fucking work will you?!”

It was like the night I lost my virginity all over again.

But alas, I managed to take a couple of images that wouldn’t result in a lawsuit and sent them straight his way. I then lifted up my trousers, walked back into the office and sat down at my desk like the disgusting pervert I am.

Within seconds my phone buzzed.

IT WAS A TEXT!

“Thanks for the photos, Paul.”

What a weird start of a text I thought. Nobody is thanking anyone for those photos, doc. My girlfriend is the one person on this planet who *might* want them and even she would vomit instantly on sight of seeing those.

“Just looks like a pigmentation issue. Nothing to be concerned about. Please keep an eye on it and if there are any changes, please get in touch.”

The relief washed over me. I wasn’t going to die! Phew! I looked around and felt nothing but gratitude. Life was beautiful. Everything once again seemed possible. I was at one with everything and everyone in that office. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath…

“Those horrible photographs are going to live on the internet forever.” My internal monologue whispered into my psyche.

The panic was back. I then remembered that the ninteen year old me once posted a picture of his anus in a random forum online because he had convinced himself that his newly birthed haemorrhoid was anus cancer.

My naked body was all over the internet! At this point, I might as well start an OnlyFans.

With the cringe enducing memories refusing to vacate my mind, I slowly placed my head on to my desk in some sort of exhaustive embarrassment.

I had lived to tell this tale, but in that moment it dawned upon me – nobody ever really dies on the internet.

I Had My COVID Jab This Week. I Also Spent My Week Having A Nervous Breakdown.

I’m not a fan of clichés, but I’m going to start this weeks blog with one. My last seven days have been quite the emotional roller-coaster. I have gone from uncontrollable fear to unadulterated highs and it’s all down to finally booking my COVID vaccination.

I’ve been entitled to have my jab for about four months now but I have resolutely avoided organising it. Whenever my colleagues, friends or family have asked if I’ve had it, I’ve increasingly sounded like an absolute passionate conspiracy theorist. I’m not. But that’s exactly what it has sounded like.

“I’m just holding off for a bit longer, see what the research says.”

“I have a healthy immune system. I’ll let others get it first.”

“BILL GATES IS A SATANIC PAEDOPHILE WHO WANTS TO INSERT TRACKING CHIPS INTO OUR ARMS!”

You see, I don’t believe any of this, but I was willing to say anything to hide the fact that I have a really bad fear of needles. It actually has an official term called ‘trypanophobia.’ However, my friends sympathetically refer to it as, ‘being a massive pussy.’

I’ve always had a fear of needles for as far back as I can remember. I was the shortest kid in my year – the runt of the litter. So the school nurse would routinely refer me to have blood tests to figure out the bizarre mystery of my lack of height. She would genuinely look at my 5’3 father and 5’2 mother in the eyes while having these conversations. I mean, I’m no medical expert, but even I know that these two diminutive humans were never going to create a Shaquile O’Neal.

I remember one particular visit to the hospital when they put needles in both my arms and legs at the SAME time. It was horrific. The nurse in charge tried to calm me by saying, “Once they’re in, we have a PlayStation you can play on.” Even at eight I wasn’t stupid enough to think that this was a good deal. Four hours of trauma that would linger with me for the rest of my life for a go on ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater?’ No thanks, lady.

But alas, my time was running out. I knew my list of excuses were seriously depleted and that I was going to get it eventually. So on Sunday evening, I bit the bullet and booked it.

The appointment was booked for Tuesday morning. Now, from the moment I booked it and every moment leading up to actually getting the vaccination, all I was filled with was stomach churning thoughts about getting it. I couldn’t eat properly, I couldn’t sleep properly. It was horrible. My every living second occupied by the thought of my skin being aggressively pierced by some middle aged woman just wanting to finish her shift so she could get home.

With my nerves shattered and my body exhausted Tuesday arrived.

My usual morning routine usually consists of having a cup of tea or two, reading a couple of chapters of the book I’m reading or scrolling mindlessly on my phone. This morning was different. There was no tea. There was no reading. There was no scrolling. There was however excessive diarrhoea. Just hours of fear induced defecation. At one point, with the clock ticking down and the time of my appointment getting ever nearer, I found myself genuinely tearing up during one of my visits to the bathroom. The only sound filling the silence between plops was my pathetic cries of, “I can’t do this.”

I did however muster the courage to wipe and leave and just a mere fifteen minutes later from having a shit based breakdown I was stood at the door to the clinic.

I was welcomed by a young man at the door who I dutifully informed that I was there for my vaccination. I must have looked terrified because he quickly smirked and said, “Scared?” I was worried that everyone at the clinic would be cold and would just think I was a massive coward, but his warm smile put me at ease instantly. I smiled back and with our blossoming friendship cemented, he continued to reassure me.

“Are you scared of the needle itself or what’s in it?”

“Oh no. I trust the science. It’s just the needle. I have this silly longstanding fear.”

“Mate, you won’t even feel it going in.”

“I’M USED TO THAT SENTENCE.”

My top lip sweating and my sense of friendship completely overestimated he went from being welcoming to awkward in just a matter of seconds. Without saying a further word to me, he handed me a document and requested I take a seat.

So like a man who had just inappropriately joked about penetration, I slowly made my way to the waiting area.

I looked down at the piece of paper I had been given and saw the number ’49’ scribbled at the top. Then, a nurse appeared at the door just in front of me and bellowed it out. For a second, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, I just stared back at her.

“If I don’t move she won’t know it’s me.” My internal monologue muttered.

“This can be my new life now, I’ll just sit here forever.” I continued like the moron I am.

However, without warning, my legs took control and before I knew it, I found myself walking towards her.

This was it.

I sat down. Inhaling gigantic breaths and looking like I was about to faint, I cry-whispered, “Get it over with, please… ” She then preceded to read out a number of generic mandated questions which my voice decided to answer in the same tone as a teenage boy in the midst of his voice breaking.

With the administration over, I closed my eyes.

“All done.”

I had literally felt nothing and with the adrenaline and relief coarsing through my veins I misjudged my reply.

“Jesus FUCKING Christ. Is that it?!”

My voice now back to normal but my eyes now widened like I had done a fist full of cocaine, I stared intensely at the nurse like I was on some sort of vaccination high.

“CAN I HAVE MY SECOND ONE NOW!?”

The nurse was clearly becoming a little bit weirded out by both my volume and requests for more vaccinations. She requested that I go sit in what can only be described as a holding pen. This, obviously, was standard procedure, but I couldn’t help feel that I would have been sent somewhere to calm down regardless.

After twenty minutes of sitting, it was now time for me to leave. With the last remnants of confidence still in my system I left the building with a strut and jumped astride my bike. My feet touched the pedals, and then, almost as if it had been waiting in the shadows, it was back. That familiar worrying voice.

“Oi Paul?! What if you get those severe side effects?”

Brilliant.

Halloween Is For Children. Grow up.

With Halloween fast approaching, many people, including myself, are forced to pretend we care about a holiday that anyone over the age of 12 should be embarrassed to participate in. I strongly remember being a face painted child dressed in a bin bag promising myself I would never turn into one of these adults that completely disregards Halloween, but here I am, the man I promised the boy I would never be. There are fewer sadder sights as a man in his thirties than being around other adults celebrating Halloween and on the few occasions I’ve found myself in that situation, I’ve never felt that anyone in that room was scared or spooked, which is the whole point of the holiday in the first place. Usually, I’ve found myself drinking alcohol with the same friends that I usually drink alcohol with, but for some reason we’ve all decided we need to dress up as characters from ‘Stranger Things’. Pathetic. If I wanted to scare a room full of people in their thirties, I would just walk around handing out house prices in the local area and reminding everyone that they’ll probably never be able to afford to retire.

To put it bluntly, if you’re not grasping it by now, I’m not a fan of Halloween. However, I am in a relationship and when you’re in a relationship, at least 50% of your time is doing things that makes the other person happy.

That is why today, I’ve been pumpkin picking.

If I’m being honest, it was a hard sell for my girlfriend to get me to go and when she floated the idea, instead of just saying I would go, I of course reacted like the prick that I am.

“You mean, you want me to get up early and essentially spend my Sunday farming? SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA!”

I almost sarcastically suggested that we should ask our local ‘Wetherspoons’ if they’d let us spend the rest of our day off washing their dishes.

But Sunday morning did come and surprisingly I was looking forward to it. I think this was mainly due to that fact that I had spent the week prior seeing people I know on social media having so much fun picking their pumpkins. I had somehow managed to banish my cynicism about the whole thing and convinced myself that this would be great. I’d get some fresh air, I’d get to spend some time with my girlfriend and I could post cheesy photos of myself smugly holding a wheelbarrow so other people on social media would think that their life was shit in comparison to mine.

As it turns out with most things though, the expectation of the day turned out to be better than the reality. Our first stumbling block came thirty minutes after we had left the house, when we arrived at our destination to find an empty field and a sign that simply read, “NO PUMPKINS LEFT FOR 2020. SORRY.” I’d love to say that we took that sign in our stride, but we reacted like the stereotypical millennials that we are by blankly staring at each other and asking out loud why bad things have to happen to good people. After a good ten minutes of ingesting this injustice we decided to move on and try another place.

The second farm was another thirty minute drive. But at this point, it was pumpkins or death. There was no going back. On we drove. The drive to the second location was tense and the only noises that dared to fill the air was the automated voice of the sat nav and the music of ‘The Bee Gees’. After quite a significant amount of time internally singing, “How Deep is Your Love?’ and repeatedly praying that this farm would be open, we were greeted by a man. A man who could only be described as a power hungry pumpkin fascist. A power hungry pumpkin fascist that was repeatedly bellowing the sentence, “COMPLETELY FULL. NO ENTRY” and taking pride in every car he turned away in his ridiculous illuminous hi-vis jacket. Now you probably think it was at this stage that we gave up. No self respecting adults would continue wasting their Sunday going to yet another place. Surely?

Five minutes later we arrived at our THIRD farm. At this point, I’d like to reveal that I’ve never been to a war zone, but I challenge anyone to argue with me that this was any different. We were surrounded in all directions by people knee deep in mud and abandoned vehicles as far as the eye could see. As we silently debated whether all this was worth it, a woman who was struggling to get passed us in her car aimed a perfectly delivered middle finger in our direction while her kids cried in the back seats. It was at this point we knew we had been defeated.

So there you have it. What should have been a romantic Halloween themed Sunday morning with my girlfriend turned out to be a two hour tension riddled car journey in silence to three closed farms and a trip to our local supermarket to take advantage of their 2 for £1 pumpkin offer.

Happy Halloween.

Unless you’re over 12.