Captain Cock-Up and the Mysteries of the Booziverse.

For someone who goes on as much as I do, I don’t half fuck up a lot. Recently, I described something I wrote as ‘gumph’. It’s a word that I’ve used for years to describe everything from the contents of the bin, the stuff that the sodding bank send me to inform me of changes to their bastard terms and conditions (that no-one ever reads ever ever ever) and the unused foodstuffs that gravitate towards the bottom of the chest freezer, inevitably becoming inedible.

It doesn’t mean any of those things. In fact, as my lovely friend pointed out, the only place this word exists is on Urban Dictionary.

Don’t look it up.

My blunders are not restricted to the written word. I am one of those people who, no matter how many times I check myself and despite every precautionary measure, never quite gets it right. There is a pedestal upon which naturally intelligent, graceful, elegant and effortless people sit. It resides about ten thousand metres above my head. Down here in Cock-Up City, where fringes get greasy, vertiginous heels are swiftly removed after the fourth cava and thigh gaps exist only as the stuff of urban legend and Instagram, I have racked-up a libraries worth of faux pas, bollock-drops and arse-in-gutter shame-fests.

If there’s a cock-that needs upping, I’m your girl.

(Oh, for fucksake)

On the upside, no-one expects me to gracefully sashay through a room and make educated and witty repartee. I can fall up stairs, smack my head on things and rabble rouse my friends to do chin-ups in ladies toilets when pissed. However, being the Duchess of Hazard also means that I spend a lot of time apologising, self-chastising and sending a world of mortified Whats Apps and Facebook statuses (OH GOD, I AM A TOTAL PRICK. WHERE ARE MY TROUSERS? etc), but on the whole I am chivvied happily from my humiliation by my lovely friends who assure me that they were far worse (“at least you didn’t punch a pole”) and besides, everyone was plastered and no-one noticed a thing (lies, but welcome ones).

It occurred to me that 99% of my unbelievable blunders could be prevented, as usually a state of some spanglyness will lead me down a path of decision-making that results in my jumping on the first train to Tits-Up Town. At my age, you would’ve thought that I’d have known this for years and yes, I probably have. But up until now, I’ve chosen to wholesale ignore this screamingly obvious fact in favour of booze.

My relationship with alcohol is this: I think it’s GREAT. Archaeologists and historians really need to get their shit together and work out once and for all the identity of the person who invented this amazing substance all those thousands of years ago. Their fizzog needs to be on the fourth plinth. Permanently. It could stand as a monument to all the emotions ever: It has the breathtaking ability to amplify the good into the INCREDIBLE, sadness into despair, attraction into passion and warmth into full-blown love. And subsequently, pain into full-blown FUCK ME WHERE’S THE BASTARD IBUPROFEN??

For all the stupendously stupid things I’ve done when shitfaced (falling off coffee tables, weeing on motorway hard shoulders, sleeping in car parks…), I’ve also had some of the most wonderful moments of my life (getting married, dancing with my sister in the middle of London in the daytime, singing my drunken little heart out in the back of a truck going down the motorway as the sun rises…). I wouldn’t change it for the world. But, right on cue, the inevitable has happened. Now in my late 30s, my physical response to a hearty piss-up has changed. My ability to bounce back with a bag of Monster Munch and a Dr Pepper has disappeared. Hangovers have taken on a drawn-out quality that, whilst not incapacitating, directly affects my function. And, as I was warned, they bring with them The Doom.

I don’t cope well with The Doom. I openly weep at SMA adverts. The Doom makes me paranoid, panicky and prone to breaking down when I can’t find the right fork in the cutlery drawer. This is not a good place to be.

So, I made a decision. As an experiment and prolonged detox exercise, I’m off the booze until Easter. I’ve survived a whole weekend without sprinting to the offie. I’ve not assaulted anyone (yet) and my skin is looking rather perkier than usual. I even went for a run (fitter, happier, more productive, as the Radiohead song goes. I saw them in a field once, I was pissed on cocktails and dancing in the rain. It was awesome). But I must stress that it’s not a life change. My love affair with ‘Mummy Juice’ (as it’s known in our house) is far too enjoyable to sever on the basis of a few zits and emo moments. At the end of my sober period I’m probably going to attack a bottle of prosecco like a lion on an antelope. But I’ll try to balance out my approach afterwards. Ish.

The other 1%, however, I’m fucking stuck with. Unless of course a gob transplant becomes available on the NHS in the immediate future. Or someone develops an app that that I can have permanently loaded onto my iDevices. Every time I go to publish something or send an email it can scream “REALLY? DID YOU REALLY MEAN THAT? THINK ABOUT IT, LOVE.”

I could’ve done with it for ‘gumph’. You did Google it, didn’t you? I bloody KNEW you would. You can’t unsee that shit. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now go and get yourself a stiff drink and we’ll say no more about it.

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