The Three Rules of Coffee Club
Do not admit you have a problem. The worst kind of failure is to first admit you have one. You might, but that’s not important. Also, we don’t allow emotions (that’s the third rule, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
Only with perspective can you judge how your life is travelling. Compared to a single microorganism that endures the hazardous environment of your intestinal track, including a litre of bile your body secretes everyday, you’re a god. From the perspective of the microbe, not only do you act in mysterious ways, you are omnipotent and omnipresent. So for all practical purposes you are one. A god to the great heaving mass of non-believing microbes, so act like one.
There’s one of you and billions of them, so chill the hell out and stop being so hard on yourself.
Repel reality at all cost. The second worst failure you will suffer in life is waking from the delusion things will always be the same. I can’t stress enough how important it is to address the second failure before tackling the worst failure. My first experience with this horrible psychological affliction was in a place called The Lounge. It was this grungy artsy-fartsy place you had to walk up a hundred steps to get to. The door to this promised Shangri-La was painted in colourful psychedelic swirls (I replicated this on my own door at home to much self-acclaimed success). Beers were one dollar and what crappy furniture was scattered about I only remember sitting on an upturned plastic milk crate. But we were kids and this was supposed to be cool, and by social osmosis we were.
It was a time when grunge was cool before grunge knew it was cool and so quickly became uncool. People smoked menthol cigarettes and feigned bored indifference like super-models strutting a catwalk. Looking back, it was a miserable experience. Everyone else probably hated it as much as we did. But no one said anything. In fact I can’t remember talking with anyone apart from my mates (we were about 15 and they were uni students, so we must have looked like the sorriest losers they’d ever seen walking through the door).
The Third Rule of Coffee Club
This brings me to the third rule: no emotions and no feelings. This is a strange one because by saying there are no emotions or feelings means there’s plenty. I’ll label this one the all exquisite cognitive dissonance enabler.
Mushroom Hat Man and the Novocain Cowboy
The current state of play: I often travel to a place where time and space is so distorted the rules exist in pure form. There’s plenty of colour, in fact let me introduce you to some of them by way of story. I’ll pluck the first image from my head; face and name, and assign a colour to protect their identity.
Mr. Red has a handshake of a nutcracker with a crocodile twitch. You have to prepare yourself both mentally and physically for his giant glove of a hand otherwise it’s going to sting. One day an artist who was exhibiting a collection of mushroom photos (going back to my roots here. [name redacted]–the location of this astronomical phenomena is a coffee shop and art gallery) came out and presented us a hat that was a giant papier-mâché mushroom. Two purple ribbons made do for a strap you tied in a bow under your chin to secure it to your head. When asked who wanted to wear it and pose for a photo, Mr. Red’s giant hand shot up. “Me,” he said grinning. “I will wear your mushroom hat.”
Mr. Red also fights terrorists. On a plane coming home from an overseas trip an agitated passenger started ripping at the monitor in the seat in front and pushed a hostess to the ground. Apart from hands that can tear a telephone directory in half, Mr. Red has a black belt in martial arts. He subdued the man and was deemed a hero by all. So today, two paradoxical images exist of Mr. Red. The artist has an image of a man wearing a mushroom hat, and the terrorist has an image of a man strangling him to the state of unconsciousness.
Mr. Brown is a cross between Po-Kung fu Panda, Chuck Norris if he ever goes through an Elvis rhinestone stage and Denis Leary in his “Asshole” angry white male alter ego. I like to think Mr. Brown sees this as nothing but the compliment that it is (I’m locking my door just in case he doesn’t). By day he saves lives, renovates his house, performs his own version of Tai Chi and drinks a herbal concoction that apparently has a PH level deemed a chemical weapon of mass destruction by the UN. It glows, is warmed by an unknown chemical reaction and has a half-life of ten thousand years.
Mr. Pink has more life experience than most known vertebrates. We often joke about the successful project management of the pyramids, but think he was too busy slaying dinosaurs to worry about stonework. He was once married to the wealthiest woman on the planet, has had more heart operations than I’ve had bacon sandwiches, and was shot by a sniper whilst running naked chasing women soldiers on a beach. He can operate a tank, and for reasons unknown travels with multiple passports under different names.
Mr. Purple first arrived at [redacted] a science experiment expelled from fifth grade because it upset the rest of the class. Drugs were administered via tubes that protruded under his shirt and connected directly to his heart. Drugs smuggled via the Space Station and made in a laboratory sixteen miles under the frozen tundra of far north by north-west Siberia by a forgotten race from middle-earth. Two years later, and suffering through side effects ranging from his face melting and smelling like he’d run through a Scandinavian rainforest, is all but cured. He proved wrong the collective wisdom of modern medicine built on billions of dollars and decades of research, mowing down pre-nominal accredited individuals as if they were…well, like they were ticks shaking hands with Mr. Red.
Stay tuned for more colours. Next: Smoking the Peace Pipe, Two-Fingers Tony and the 50-Foot Woman.
Also published on Medium.