If, like me, you remember the eighties then you may be able to reach into your age-clouded, wizened old walnut of a brain and pull out the dim memory of the Playtex Cross Your Heart bra adverts.
In it, a smiling woman in a bra which covers roughly 89% of her upper body traces a cross symbol over her chest area with her fingers, in order to demonstrate the Cross Your Heart bras cross-your-heartedness. That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is to imagine that she is showing you exactly where on your body she is going to stab you with a fucking meathook. That’s another, more sinister way.
I suppose it depends on the angle at which you’re looking at it from. Or the mood you’re in. Or how many drugs you’ve taken. Here’s a clue. If the Playtex Cross Your Heart Bra lady is turning to the camera and mouthing ‘You’re Next’ while performing her sinister physical catchphrase then YOU’VE TAKEN TOO MANY DRUGS. Put down the pipe, man. Honest to God.
I’m known for my lack of perspective. Famous for it in fact. I released an album. ‘100 Ways to Freak Out and Lose Control’ from which the hit single ‘I Can’t Handle This Funky Shit’ came. It was huge in the States. Massive. Disco killed it, but then again y’know, Disco killed everything.
Yes. That’s right. I’m still mad at Disco.
Talking of being brutally hoisted by perspective my stepfather died recently. It was heart-breakingly sad, the way only losing someone close to you can be, and with it came a grief that is indelible. Like wearing a black hood of thick felt, it muffles the real world and makes you feel dislocated and insubstantial. The grief coats everything and everyone who loves him like tar.
But also – but also – with it came a sense of perspective I hadn’t experienced before. Like someone clapping their hands around your chops and lifting your face to theirs, bellowing into it with all the might of their lungs,
“PAY ATTENTION!!! LIFE IS VERY, VERY FUCKING SHORT!”
I simplify this, obviously. Not for you, but for me. Life is short, and like Neil Young said, “once you’re gone you can’t come back.”
Don’t squander this life. Don’t let it escape you. It is very real and very here and very now. Please use it. Please don’t waste it, it is very, very precious.
I’m sorry. I bet you were hoping for something with more jokes and less maudlin hectoring. Let me end with something amazing.
On the day of the funeral the coffin was carried from the cathedral by members of Iron Maiden while ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by the Who played. I know. This totally raises the bar for funerals, right? When I die I just better hope to be cremated by Slayer while Spinal Tap’s ‘Heavy Duty Rock N’ Roll’ plays me out or I fear I will be letting all of you down.