A Great Philosopher Once Wrote
Naughty, Naughty, Very Naughty
~ Ebeneezer Goode, The Shamen
About two weeks ago after posting this conversation I had with my Mother – who had just spent a night in hospital after a handheld blender cleaning incidence that resulted in a gangrenous finger – I had a semi-argument on the phone with my sister Cally that went something like this –
Cally: I just read your post about Mum vagueing out and cutting her finger.
RD: What’d you think?
Cally: So funny. Sooo Mum.
RD: Do you think people will think it’s funny if they don’t know Mum?
Cally: Probably not.
Cally: We’re all like that though, aren’t we?
RD: What do you mean?’
Cally: We’re a bit absent-minded… we go a bit… inside ourselves and make silly mistakes.
RD: That’s why your nickname was ‘Clueless’ in high school.
Cally: Yeah… but you’re like that too.
RD: That’s not true. I could cut diamonds with my focus.
Cally: That’s total bullshit.
RD: I’m not going to argue with you because I know you’ll just forget about this conversation as soon as you have to concentrate on something else like, I don’t know… hey, what’s that behind you?
I was on my way to Readings Bookstore at the time to pick up a book I’d been hanging out for, How To Think About Exercise by philosopher Damon Young.
I’d already read Damon’s first book Distraction but was pushing his second book Philosophy In The Garden further down my ‘must read’ list to get to his newest book because, well, I have a quote in it and, to be honest, I like reading my own quotes because I agree with almost everything I say.
Plus I really liked the look of the cover – bright lycra green background with a yellow tennis ball in the middle reminiscent of an Atari game. With that kind of framing I was pretty sure my quote would look just as good as it sounded.
Before we go on to what is basically a confessional post I’d like to throw some excuses out there…
1) I was tired.
2) I had a lot on my mind.
3) I was worried that my Mum might try to use a blender again.
4) I had to make an appointment for my four year old and was whispering Don’t forget to make an appointment for Tyson when you get home over and over again.
5) I’d been listening to Rihanna’s smash hit Jump in the car and the lyrics ‘If you want it let’s do it, riding my pony’ kept repeating on me and would occasionally cause me to mistakenly whisper Don’t forget to make an appointment for my pony which short-circuited my mind in such a way that it would take me seconds and seconds to remember what I was even doing outside of my house.
6) After arriving at the bookstore I took a detour towards the biography section and was about to pull down an account of the life of William Burroughs when I smelt something so terrible that it forced me to hightail it towards the philosophy section and the whole time I was searching for Damon’s book I was kind of ‘dumbed down’ in astonishment that someone could just fart like that, in an exalted bookstore, without hanging around to apologise or to warn people away and then every person I saw in the store became a suspect and I was shaking my head at everyone I passed by.
I think I better hold on to a few of the other excuses and space them out a little bit…
I couldn’t see Damon’s book after scanning the shelves spine-by-spine twice over and was getting a tad anxious about getting back home in time to make the appointment for my pony and so went to the counter for some assistance and this is where it all started to unravel because the woman, who seemed nice enough, just happened to be typing in the details of several different biographies piled by her computer, and it was a few moments after she greeted me before I realised I was shaking my head at her, in a contemptuous way, as if she’d just smacked a cookie out of my pony’s hand or something.
When I finally managed to say, ‘I’m looking for Damon Young’s new book’ I sounded all nasally and realised I hadn’t breathed through my nose since I’d walked into the biography section she’d made inhabitable with her bald-faced flatulence. It was as she was going tappy-tappy into the keyboard and I allowed the first stuttering inhalation through my nostrils phone barked in my pocket as distraction number 7.
‘What’s it called?’ she asked, as I swiped up a message from Reservoir Mum which read Date night tomorrow. Got anything for me?
‘Philosophy in the Garden,’ I said, as I texted back I’m not wearing any panties.
‘Hmm,’ she said, possibly slipping one out as we spoke. ‘We might have a copy upstairs in storage. I could have a look if you want.’
‘That would be great,’ I said, as the phone barked again.
RM’s text read yes you are and I managed to respond with you insightful little minx at the same time that I had a light bulb moment, promising myself that the next time I came to Readings I would bring one of those facemasks surgeons and Asian people wear.
The woman returned holding up the book and because I was shaking my head and squinting at her she said, ‘That’s not it?’ as she held the cover out towards me.
‘Oh, that’s definitely it,’ I said, acting out a smile and nodding politely.
Hmm, I really feel like I should stick up for myself here but maybe I’ve already done it. I mean, you can see that I had a lot going on which could easily distract me from the fact that I had gone into the store for the sole purpose of buying a book about exercise that had a bright green cover with a yellow tennis ball on it and an actual quote from me and had instead asked for a book about gardens with a much less conspicuous cover and nothing about me in it at all.
All of that is completely understandable though, isn’t it, when you combine the tiredness, my keenness to remember the appointment, the interfering Rihanna and her obsession with Tyson, the sextual messages from my insatiable wife and the fact that I was staring into the lying eyes of the phantom farter herself.
Anyone could have made that mistake under those circumstances.
What’s a little harder for me to reconcile is that I drove all the way home with the book on the seat next to me, glancing at it frequently, touching the cover like I do with all new books, before walking into my house and tweeting a photo of it into the eyes of the Universe with this comment…
— Reservoir Dad (@ReservoirDad) March 28, 2014
It was only when Damon himself tweeted this back the I felt the whisper of a major error and the first stirrings of a mindless panic…
@ReservoirDad Well, my old new book… Have you checked out your cameos in How to Think About Exercise yet?
— Damon Young (@damonayoung) March 28, 2014
Realising my calamitous stupidity I tweeted back with rocket fuel fever and was so angsty about covering up my mistake, as quickly as possible, that there was spittle flying out of my phone…
@damonayoung I haven’t yet but it’s first read with the new pile of books I just bought. Will put up a post on my site after I’ve read it!
— Reservoir Dad (@ReservoirDad) March 28, 2014
Lies. I hadn’t bought it. I didn’t have a pile of books. The only truth in the tweet is that I would put up a post about the book, but only in retrospect and only becase my deceitfulness was rising into the air like a flare shot out of a flare gun. Why did I lie!It would have made much more sense for me to just tweet Oh shit! I bought the wrong book! That may have even been funny.
As the minutes ticked by without a reply from Damon I got so anxious that I felt like I was overheating and had to remove my jumper and as I was sucking on a hydralyte icy pole this possibility sat me on my heels with horror…
Damon didn’t reply to my text because Readings Bookstore hadn’t stocked his new book yet! And he not only knew that but now also knew that I was a lying deviant suck-hole!
I didn’t get back to Readings until a week later, yesterday, and when I found How To Think About Exercise standing out like a florescent Kermit the Frog waving his arms above his head I almost vomited into my facemask. The date on the price tag read 1/4/14. It hit the shelves five days after I told Damon I had it sitting by my bed.
This is the end of my confession. Please help me apologise by buying his book here.
PS My sister is still wrong about me inheriting the absent-minded gene.
UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this post this Damon tweeted me…
@ReservoirDad Actually, that’s just new stock. They’ve had it on the shelf since January. So…superfluous confession!
— Damon Young (@damonayoung) April 3, 2014