During a frank and lurid discussion, Derek & Clive (Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s hilariously foul-mouthed drunken creations) pondered the nature of their masturbation habits. “I was having me Wednesday, 9-in-the-evening wank” Derek begins, describing in exhaustive detail how he went berserk, pulling down all the furniture and fittings and being sick in the ashtray. When his wife walks in, he tells her there are fourteen Russian spies disguised as wallpaper threatening to shoot unless he fingered his private parts.
I bring this up for two reasons. One, any excuse to talk about masturbation is not one I will pass up lightly, especially as I heed the advice of my dear mother, who told me “write about what you know”. This as opposed to writing about Crimean War battleplans, old Canon photocopiers or being popular at school. Two, Derek & Clive went from male bravado regarding solo sexual encounters (scrap that… I don’t think self-pleasure can ever be an ‘encounter’, unless perhaps you are bi-polar) to bragging about the severity of their respective cancers in a manner which forcefully reminds me of the assorted miseries of Facebook.
“I’ve got cancer of the mortgage, I’ve got cancer of the garden”.
“I’ve got cancer of everything”.
“I’ve got cancer of the universe”.
“I’ve got cancer of the cosmos”.
“I’ve got cancer of never having existed in my fucking life”.
“I’ve got cancer so enormous people can’t even see it”.
On and on they rattle. This exchange struck a chord with me, as it mimics the post-weekend comedown statuses that people post on Facebook to celebrate their hangover, as if feeling like a downright sack of turd on a Sunday morning is somehow vindicating the smell of Red Bull on their breath and their pitiable little lives. Equally annoying are the endless pictures taken during a night out and uploaded a day or two later, with the insecure and vulnerable taking snaps of each other pulling goofy faces just to prove they were BANG ON IT. Most nightclubs nowadays are turning in to a tourist hotspot because you have to keep ducking and diving in order not to spoil other people’s snapshots of merriment.
As a young adult I cringe over most of this. Whenever I see a batch of freshly delivered morning-after-the-night-before updates in which the letter ‘g’ is assaulted with a menace usually associated with Green Street, I contemplate whether Doctor Who is doing us a disservice by saving the planet time after time. “Hangingggggg” they declare, overjoyed with their onomatopoeic wordplay, thinking in their deluded minds that they are Oscar Wilde minus the gay. Here’s my three point plan if you do this yourself. Step away from your mobile phone, go for a jog and stop Instagramming pictures of your gelatinous full English brekkie to demonstrate to the online world that you had one too many Bacardi Breezers last night, and now you’re paying the price for it in saturated fat and an increased chance of bowel cancer.
All that said, I am a terrible drunk. I don’t suddenly become a Millwall fan, kyboshing anything in sight. I am usually quite a cheerful drunk – excepting the time I sobbed outside a nightclub, blubbing “I wish I was good looking”. But I rarely remember anything that happens once I move past my fourth pint and as soon as spirits get thrown into the equation, I go all Ringo Starr and it’s goodnight Vienna. Only last month, on our regular bender to Sheffield, I woke up on the corridor floor of a hotel, miles away from the Travelodge I was staying in, splayed in a heap on the floor opposite a lift. I awoke at 6.30am and exited via a keypad-guarded door, offering a passing taxi driver my remaining £6 to cruise me home. It was in the taxi, endeavouring to piece together the slideshow of my drunken oblivion, that I realised I had a sock missing. My shoes were on, but I only had one sock. Don’t. Ask.
So, more than most, I probably warrant a good Facebook hangover status, perhaps something about checking whether the condom in my wallet had been used, because you just never know. However, I am not the biggest fucktard in the universe, so I keep these anecdotes to share with friends when conversation runs a bit thin and everyone needs cheering up with tales of my humiliation. (I will ignore the fact that I’m writing about this on a publicly available blog because it’s an entirely different medium of communication and because no-one reads this bloody thing anyway.)
A couple of weeks ago, events came to a peak. I actually quit Facebook. No longer shall I get irritated by the needy scrawlings of identity-less bozos, looking to fill an interesting person-shaped hole in their life by letting six-hundred hangers-on know every thought that runs through their head, often amounting to three posts a day, one about reality television, another offering a link to a shit pop video and some coded message to an ex, punctuated with dozens of exclamation marks, when the comment is neither funny nor shocking!!!!!!
So I took my Facebook profile and ran away to a cave, existing day-to-day by licking walls for moisture and stewing moss. Almost. What scares me is that I don’t miss it in the slightest. Facebook warned me that I would never be able to retrieve my photos or activity ever again if I quit and didn’t return within two weeks. I wondered whether I could cope without my regular dose of unhinged egomania filling the gaps between deciding how I won’t find a girlfriend this month. That fortnight has passed and I have not pined for it once.
Some people leave the site for noble reasons, usually to do with the privacy settings, complaining that companies can manipulate unknowing users. Unfortunately, my lone exodus of the social networking site can be attributed to a fateful night in a Brighton nightclub, in which photographic evidence emerged of me tonguing a fat girl so roughly you’d think I was trying to suck the plaque off her wisdom tooth. Singularly, this might not be an issue, merely an ill-advised bit of harpooning that would enrage Greenpeace were I to engage in the same activity in Japan. However, twenty-four hours later another set of photos were uploaded, this time even less coy.
There I am, flipping two fingers to a camera. There she is, bending over, holding a conversation with my dangly bits. Of course, the camera angle makes it look raunchier but that cannot be helped. Comrades told me I was a hero and that
receiving head having a girl talk at your privates in a club was a Herculean affair. Yet it left me little choice but to seek an exit from the mileage that photograph offered to friends and potential employers.
I’m not trying to be cool and mysterious by logging out of the one great cross-generational site of my generation. Problem is, Facebook’s a way of life now. People will ask me to add them and I’ll have to look like a luddite or a socially inept arsehole. The fact I’m both should be of no meaning. In keeping with the traditions of one-upmanship and hyperbole employed by the website’s millions of users, I’ll just have to tell them I’ve got cancer of the Facebook.