A couple of friends with children have asked the pressing question about what they can do to prevent their kids from getting diddled. One raised the issue after that chap in Texas beat a guy to death who he caught with his daughter (which, while being the correct response is entirely the wrong response, considering what that girl has now seen, what she will feel responsible for, whether she will now grow up without her father, etc. etc. etc… )

 

But I am not an expert on buggery. I don’t read books on it, I don’t treat those who have been buggered, I don’t go to support groups. I tend to avoid the topic entirely – my wife bans me from watching films like Mysterious Skin because she doesn’t like the dark, brooding creature that walks out of the cinema afterwards. All I can rely on is my own experience, and that knowledge of mankind which comes from a healthy appetite for acquaintance, literature, and history. As Richard Greenberg pithily wrote: “The world is old. There have been a lot of people. I extrapolate.”

 

One way of looking at the issue is to ask the question: Why does it happen in the first place? Well – we infantalise sex all the time. Pick up a Penthouse or Hustler magazine and I’ll bet you a fiver there will be at least one girl in there with pigtails, or a lollipop in her mouth, or pictured in a playground (or at least that was the case back in the days when I was buying dirty mags…). Or just look at the state of pubic hair: Do we remove the threat the vagina poses, deep in our psyches, by rendering it naked? Is it some Vietnam War-style gynaecological deforestation, clearing the undergrowth so we can see the teeth better? Or is it just that the great Western Male really needs to look at a ten-year-old pudenda to get turned on? I’ll elaborate on THAT at another time…

 

Or check out this great plotline idea: There is a boy, with a crazy father (or, more likely, none). He’s isolated and imperiled, picked on, until he runs into an adult, usually a male, who is down on his luck, outcast, misunderstood, sensitive… The kid is fascinated. In a way, he falls in love, and presses this love on the unwilling adult who eventually caves in and reciprocates. The friendship, unlikely as it is, grows and blossoms as the boy learns from the man the ways of adulthood, and the man slowly comes out of his isolation, learns to love again, discovers the beauty of life… until the cruel, unfeeling world crashes in again and kills or exiles the adult.

 

If you said – Hey! That’s Shane! – you are absolutely correct. It’s also Karate Kid. Oliver Twist. A Perfect World. Annie. Jerry McGuire. Keep looking – you’ll find it, or portions of it, everywhere. Identifying films that have this basic pedo-wish-fulfilment plot in them is actually a fun wee parlour game. Here’s a hint of how to find one: 1: Think of a child actor. 2: Name one of their films.

 

We sexualise kids. We kidualise sex.

 

BUT – I’m avoiding the question. How do we prevent the bad stuff happening to OUR kids? No-one wants me to practice amateur psycho-sociology on this blog. You want cold, hard tips.

 

But in order to answer that, I have to answer the question of why it happened to me. I have to dive into deep, murky waters. I have to figure out why I was targeted, as opposed to the next kid. I have to figure out what made me a good target (and for twenty f**king years, obviously, I was great). These things I can do. But I also have to ask: what could my parents have done to prevent it? Which leads to: what didn’t they do to prevent it? Which leads to: Why didn’t they prevent it? And there, my friends, is pain, and anger, and hurt, and scars. Not mine. Theirs. I cannot begin to know how deeply, how painfully, how devastatingly cruel the fact of my buggery is to my parents. And I fear that no matter how gentle the archaeologist, I may end up hurting them by digging around in here.

 

But I will. And I think I must. Lovingly, loyally, caringly, just as my parents have been loving, loyal, and caring to me. This forum gives me a chance to explore things that are a bit too close to converse about.  But give me a day or two…

15 things I blame on buggery

 

 

1:

I’m balding and my hair is getting decidedly grey. Since it can’t possibly be due to my age, abuse is the only reasonable explanation.

 

2:

Not having abs like Brad Pitt. I must be prone to emotional over eating (what the Germans, in all their wisdom, call Kummerspeck – literally translated as ‘grief bacon’)

 

3:

Being Broke (Because I was Buggered). It is too alliterative a statement to be false.

 

4:

I can get engines to run, but I’m dreadful at tuning carburetors. I blame El Pedo. He used to carve gnomes out of wood. What the f**k does a wooden gnome carved by a pervert know about creating the optimal fuel/air mixture at half-throttle in a late-seventies Japanese triple? Thanks a million, a**hole.

 

5:

The reason I am not a massive film star (see: Brad Pitt, above) is because, like the vast majority of victims of childhood sexual abuse, I have not had a lead role in a major summer action blockbuster.

 

6:

Same goes for Pulitzer prizes. The vast majority of buggerees have been unable to win – or even get NOMINATED – for any major literary awards. ‘Nuff said.

 

7:

Dribbling in my sleep

 

8:

A tendency to over-elaborate stories and bore the listener before I get to the good bit.

 

9:

A tendency to have forgotten why I was telling the story in the first place, making it impossible to remember what the good bit was in the first place.

 

10:

A tendency to tell stories. Seriously, Jonno – shut up already.

 

11:

I’m REALLY BAD at returning phone calls. This is a classic reaction to boyhood botty-groping. Look it up.

 

11(a):

Don’t look it up.

 

12:

I have skateboarded pretty much all my life. I cannot ‘Ollie’. This is a travesty. As is pederasty. Q.E.D.

 

13:

I am one of those people who will ALWAYS blow out the crotch on a pair of jeans before I blow out a knee. I look at those people who walk down the street in faded old denim, flaunting their ripped knees, and I curse my lot in life.

 

14:

I CANNOT fold fitted sheets. I have tried. I even googled it once, in a fit of desperation, and followed a video demonstration on YouTube. No improvement.

 

15:

I am currently unemployed, which I blame on the economy, which was assf**ked royally by the Bankers. Or the Freemasons. Democrats. Jews. Republicans. Vatican. Whoever. My point stands.

 

 

 

Oh, there’s more. So much more. Buggery is a burden I bear every day. Without buggery, oh how perfect my life would be…

The Glitter

It’s old news, the whole Gary Glitter the Pedo thing. Arrested how many times for buggery? Twice? Thrice?

 

Still – it’s fun to watch him. I wish all pedos looked like Mr Glitter, so we could find them easier…”Ye shall know them by their eyebrows” sayeth the Lord:

 

Anyway – I was hunting down the name of one of his tracks which is always played at sports events, because every time some sports arena blasts the song over the PA the bastard gets royalties. And it pisses me off. And I just felt like raising awareness so you can be pissed off too. But (of course) the first result was a video clip – which, besides being utterly, jaw-droppingly, godawful-brilliant, reminded me of something my own El Pedo said during his trial.

 

You see – I was the first complainant – which meant that their defense was all aimed at me and my credibility. I’ll talk more about this another time, of course, but the gist of their defense was that yes, we had had a sexual relationship, it occurred after I was of legal age for such things, and he broke it off with me, leading me to bring the charges as a spiteful, vengeful, jilted lover. AND (I’m getting to my point here) one of the fun wee stories about our torrid affair was that I would dance for him like a stripper, and he would tuck money into the waistband of my undies as I seduced him. Now just imagine my family – my Dad! – sitting there in the court having to listen to him saying that. (I was mercifully kept away from the court after my first two days under cross-examination).

 

I’m sure my wife, and any of my former girlfriends, would attest to the fact that while I MAY have occasionally danced around pretending to be a stripper, it was not, could not, will never be, a form of seduction. Perhaps I will video myself dancing as a stripper and post it here one day so we can all share a good laugh. An hysterical, eyes-covered-in-shock, this-is-the-dance-equivalent-of-a-tone-deaf-bassett-hound-singing-Unchained-Melody-in-the-shower kind of laugh…

 

BUT!!!

 

But… watching Mr Glitter dance to the Rock & Roll, thinking of El Pedo and his wee Jonno the Private Dancer, Dancer For Money fantasy, I asked myself: when pedos imagine dancing, in their minds do people ever look as awesome as this?:

 

kids kids kids

Holiday’s over, Jonno. Back to work…

 

Today is the fifth of July. It is now thirteen years and two days since I moved to the US. Perhaps I didn’t mean to stay. But I’m here and happy and like all good Americans, deeply in debt to the bankers who, if the major religions are all to be believed, will be consigned to hell for the sin of usury. But that’s another blog (and a moral abrogation of my own responsibility… I DID do the borrowing…)

 

In true July Fourth fashion, last night we gathered for a barbie at a mate’s place up in the hills above Los Feliz and watched fireworks pop across the LA basin. And there we met new people. And some of those people had little ‘uns.

 

For the grown Buggeree, kids present a very real and immediate set of problems. Having clouded over large swathes of my childhood memories, for years I felt like I had no understanding nor relationship to kids at all. They were strange, unruly, delicate, completely foreign to me, and I would do all I could to avoid them. I felt that I had no possible common ground, no way of understanding them. And while I blamed this on my specific circumstances, it may just be that this is how most 20-somethings feel about kids – especially those who come into contact with them about as frequently as they come into contact with plague rats.

 

But then the black ship of Nosferatu arrived. One of my dearest old friends, Jeremy, even had a kid of his own in his mid-twenties. It seemed stupendously early (now I envy him! Oh how I envy him…), but one day I stood at the doorway to the wee fulla’s room while he slept, a cocktail of very convoluted emotions leaking out of my tear ducts, and quietly swore a sort of eternal fealty to him, whispering at the sleeping infant (while his father, mercifully, was detained by a need to piddle in his herb garden) that no matter what, I would always be willing to leap to his aid if he ever needed it. It is a ritual promise that has since been given to Jeremy’s second son, to my nieces and nephews and a dribbling toddler demi-Serb. It’s given mentally to every one of my friends’ children. I probably feel more duty to their kids than I ever have to them…

 

These children kept springing up around me. On a rainy day at my brother’s house in North Carolina I changed my first nappy. I even had a few hours in solo charge of a two- or three-year-old. I was almost getting into it.

 

One day I was home in New Zealand, coming in from a surf, and my nephew needed to be bathed. He usually took a shower with his dad, but since dad wasn’t around, my sister asked me (or I volunteered) to take him in with me while I rinsed the salt off. Great idea. I went to the car to get my clothes, turned around to go back into the house and some giant unseen hand clobbered the back of my knees and punched me in the stomach. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t suck in a breath. I don’t have words to describe what I was feeling: horror, fear, dread: they seem too concrete, too laden with cinematic cliche.  Anguish? That may come close. Self loathing? A soupçon. The facts were: Me. Little boy. Shower.

 

Oh – before we go any further: I am not, nor will I ever be, a paedophile.

 

Let’s get that out there. There is a misconception that the abused become abusers. That may be true in a limited way – that those that sexualise children were probably introduced to that idea firsthand, at an early age. Yes. It is probably  a necessary condition. Just as it is probably a necessary condition that men who abuse little girls are heterosexual. But not all heterosexual men are abusers. In fact, if child-buggery was a vampire-like affliction, the sheer mathematics of infection would mean the whole world would have become pedos aeons ago.

 

No – I wasn’t afraid that there was a coiled beast inside me, with a white van and a questionable moustache, who in the moment I stepped into the shower would overwhelm my meagre mortal defences, that I would howl and grimace like Jack Nicholson in Wolf (or Taylor Lautner, Michael J. Fox, Lon Chaney, Michael Sheen…) at the quickening, that with a momentary exposure to hot water and little boy buttocks I would transform into a slimy, slithering Uncle Chester the Molester.

 

What was happening was some kind of PTSD meltdown, I guess. I couldn’t do much other than try to breathe, try to stand, as those three facts shouted deafeningly inside my brain, drowning out all rational thought, all irrational  thought, all but the glaring, blaring Me. Little boy. Shower. 

 

Me. Little Boy. Shower. I clawed my way back to the house. My sister was in the kitchen. She took one look at my face, and in that weirdly supernatural way that only mothers and stage managers have of instantaneously assessing and resolving a calamitous situation with sang-froid and hot beverages, pulled one child off her boob, another child’s hand out of the sink-disposal thing, a cappuccino out of the Pavoni, and said it’s OK, he can shower by himself. It’s OK. Have a seat. No – a seat – don’t lie on the floor quivering. Have this cappuccino. Wipe your chin. Seat. OK… it’s OK…

 

It was as if having your younger brother walk through the kitchen door with a mind going into meltdown as his personal space-time continuum collapsed and his adult and childhood existences swirled and tangled around inside his brain was an occurrence on a par with someone buying the wrong fat-content milk.

 

Now that I think of it, my sister has been there through three of the four biggest emotional breaks I have had with this whole thing, and the fourth one happened in therapy, anyway. A lesser man could start suspecting foul play…

 

But I got through it (the coffee may not have stilled my racing heart, but the thought was there). I got through the years where any time I saw a grown man alone with a child anywhere I would go into a similar (albeit much smaller) meltdown. The more I played with kids, the more I defeated the fear of them. My landlord had a kid who I played with in our driveway. I discovered how to make them laugh. How much fun it is to hang them upside down from their ankles. The mileage that can be gotten from making fart noises and bum jokes. Kids became cool. And fun. I’ve gotten so used to them that I’m trying to make one of my own.

 

Last night, the Fourth of July, when I met that nice new couple and played with their young ‘uns, threw them over my shoulder, lay on the ground with them climbing over me, bounced them on my knee, had the time of my life, I count it as a small victory that only ten percent of my mind was taken up with what is left of that anguish. Yes – I still had the irrational terror that someone would discover that I am a carrier of the Pedo infection, the Typhoid Mary of pederasty. But I could walk. I could breathe. Happy Independence Day.

Case in point

Sitting on a plane. I explain (to my greek wife, who takes such things blissfully for granted) how utterly wild it will be to walk for the first time on soil my ancestors trod a millennium ago, in Monaghan, Ireland. Her response:

“are you gonna cry? Are you gonna do that hollywood thing you wrote about and be all ‘mwoo hoo hoo look at me I’m all emotional’? Oh no – is that too soon? Ooooooh…”

Yeah. Support begins at home. That woman is EVIL.

You can see why we’re together though, huh?

I’m off

Hey, all. I’ve had a staggering response to this project, and I have so many emails and messages to respond to…

So I’m buggering off overseas. We have been fortunate enough to be invited by an amazing and generous blonde Kenyan lass to spend a week at Drenagh Castle in County Londonderry, and are then going to celebrate out tenth anniversary of running off to the Boston town hall and getting… Married….

I have so many things to write about right now… People are asking some great questions and prompting much fun thought. I REALLY HOPE I don’t feel the need to keep writing while I’m away. But secretly I also hope I do…

PLEASE ask questions. Think of me as your oracle of buggery, your portable prophet of pederasty… And again, I’d live to have others put fingers to keyboard and send me things to post. You’ll be as utterly anonymous as you desire.

By the way – 10 years of marriage, for a buggeree, is pretty damn good. People say I’m brave writing this blog. Have you tried being married to a Greek? THAT is bravery.

Necessary Levity. Again.

Necessary Levity. Again.

I shall leaven this site with (ir)relevant links and video. This is because I believe that sometimes one just needs to revel in a monkey riding a pig in order to survive the years and years of little-boy-diddlyfiddling that are compressed, condensed, and delivered in their purest form on these pages. Think of the interludes as you would the Porter scene from MacBeth. Necessary levity. And please – think of me as Shakespeare. I’m totally just as good. I mean – did Shakespeare ever give you a hyperlink to photos like THIS?!? THIS, my friends, is Me With No Shirt On. *disclaimer – it is not actually ‘Me’, ie Jonno. I do not know the Me of this site. Thankfully.

And sure, the tight jeans and the frisbee delight tip the scales firmly on the side of hipster irony, but that pedo moustache is a JOY to behold. Because what is the Hipster Pedo ‘Stache but a glorious reclamation of what is disturbing and creepy by those who are, well, hipsters. Who themselves kinda run the gamut from disturbing to sort of pitiably cuddly.

Anyway – visit and revel in the hipster pedo ‘stachioed shirtless brilliance of it all. Definitely watch the video up top. Sound on.

Soon I will post my collection of photos of white pedo vans. Hold onto your hats – this Ship of Awesome is going into warp drive.

Oh – and thanks to Jane Shearer for sending this. It has taken my mind off the nut-tighteningly fierce pain my face is still in, which is especially nasty since I ran out of Oxycodone today. Soon I shall be writing sober, and where will that leave us?

Anchor Me

Here’s an essay I was invited to write a few months ago for a magazine called Global Vantage. The topic for the issue was ‘crossing borders’. I am including it here because although it isn’t directly related to my chosen theme (unlike the baby monkey, which still makes me laugh and smile) it somehow feels relevant. Somehow.

Oh – and also because it will be utterly irrelevant and a huge lie in a few days when I touch down in IRELAND!!!

I’m going to hunt down a few Clearkins in County Monaghan and see if they recognise me. My great great great (great?) grandfather on my mothers side only left there in the mid 1800s. I’m sure I’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Anchor Me

I have only been home once in my life.

I was there for two hours.

Let me explain: I grew up in New Zealand, and on one level, I left ‘home’ when I was thirteen. Not in any dramatic sense – I wasn’t an adventurer-in-training. I wasn’t forcibly removed by famine or war. I simply went to boarding school, and only returned home for twice-monthly visits and two months of annual holidays, sleeping in a room that felt less and less like it was my own.

Home wasn’t home. School was an easily-picked lock. During those years I developed a fairly chronic case of insomnia and became adept at sneaking out of my dormitory, navigating the creaking halls and doors of Selwyn House, scaling the fence, and escaping into the night-time streets of Otahuhu. I found bicycles that I could unlock and borrow for nocturnal explorations further afield. I cultivated friends in the area who would wake to a tap-tap of stones on their windows and let me in for a few hours of deep-and-meaningful chat and, god willing, maybe even sleep. My wrist alarm was always set for 5:30am, to warn me that it was time to sneak back across the wall, past the hound, round the Ablution Block and back into my bed in time for the rising bell.

I can trace my family back seven generations in New Zealand. I have held in my hands the bible that my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Amos Smart brought with him on the voyage from Southampton to Lyttleton. I have walked the path that he took with his young family, across the Port Hills and into what would become Christchurch. When I gaze into the New Zealand soil, I can see the line of men and women stretching those seven generations deep, their shoulders bearing my feet up. It’s a pretty good mob.

A century after my family arrived in New Zealand, some of them were still leaving to fight in wars defending a “mother country” that was on the direct opposite side of the planet. After six or seven centuries of settlement in New Zealand, Maori still have the legend that upon death the soul travels up the spine of the country and into the sea via the roots of an old Pohutukawa tree, and returns to Hawaiiki, the ancestral homeland.

We identify our home by it’s geography – mountain, river – but also by our canoe. And when I stand on the marae (meeting ground) and announce my whakapapa (my genealogy, who I am, and where I am from), my Waka (ancestral canoe) is the ship Randolph. The very act of saying where we are from reminds us that no matter how many generations we stand on, we are from Elsewhere.

So back to the story: after boarding school I went to university in a distant city. I stayed there after graduation and bought a small house on a beach. I planted a garden, using great care to research and use plants that weren’t just native to New Zealand, but native to that particular stretch of coastline. Occasionally I would work on farms near where Amos Smart and his children had first broken in the wild land to raise their livestock imported from Europe. I made an annual pilgrimage to clean my great-grandfather’s grave, neglected in a corner of an Akaroa cemetry. But whenI was 25 I left again, and this time it was even further afield: I was off to train as an actor in Russia.

I was running from my home, in search of my ancestors: Russia is the mother-country of an actor’s art. A Russian director, actor and teacher named Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky in the early twentieth century laid out a system that became the foundation of all modern theatre practice – everything either grew from it or developed in reaction to it. And I was there to study in the very school he founded, to place myself as the fourth generation in a line directly descended from this master. I wanted to stand on the shoulders of some of the greatest actors of the century.

As I waited in the transit area of Heathrow airport to transfer to an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, I glanced down at the ground and saw a new and incredible sight: below me, stretching deep, deep into the soil, below the carpet, the floor, the concrete foundations, were more shoulders, more ancestors than I could ever count. A random two-hour stopover in England had me, for the first time, standing on the home soil of my forefathers. I found myself somewhere where there was no myth of arrival, no place that the soul would have to escape in death and return home from. The generations below me were uncountable – if I traced my genealogy back, it wouldn’t end at a boat, or in a dusty Moscow theatre: it would merely dissolve into the billowing vastness of time and history.

More incredibly, after a quarter-century of life, I was standing for the very first time in a place where to be fair-skinned was indigenous. Where the original names of the flowers and plants were all in my native tongue. Where the land wasn’t ‘discovered’ by some intrepid adventurer, be it Kupe, Tasman or Cook, but where it always just… was. For two hours I marveled, in my nationless international transit prison, at this unexpected homecoming.

I flew on. And I have never gone back.

I have never returned because that land does not draw me. In many ways, England is as foreign to me as a mountaintop temple in Burma. The people there are not my people. They are my opposite due to the very fact that they are still there, slowly being crushed by the gravitational pull from that soil, stuffed with their infinite ancestors.

As I write this I am gazing out the window from my current, temporary home: a 31st floor apartment in downtown Chicago, where I am working on a play about an inescapable purgatory at the end of the road in a nameless border town; written by an iconic American playwright; staged by a celebrated Catalan director with a Galician name; a German set designer; a Serbian costume designer; and a (mainly) American cast. Of the thirteen cast members, four have ancestors who were forcibly transported to this soil as slaves. Others have ancestors who escaped famine in Ireland, war and poverty in Italy, herring in Norway or bagpipes in Scotland. Only one, Monica Lopez, could claim, perhaps, those deepest ancestral ties to this soil that I felt in that English waiting-room. But even then, those ancestors lived thousands of miles to the south and could never have imagined the ice of a Chicago winter.

All of us have left our homes. Perhaps none of us ever had them. Living Elsewhere is our permanent condition. Homes are where we make them – and where we leave them. My little house on the beach was destroyed a year ago in an earthquake. The land itself was trying to shake me off.

You see – I have been home once. It was a foreign country.

Was that all too truthy-bravy?

Here is a taste of PURE DELIGHT.

hollywood

Nick V. and I started playing rugby together at around age 8 or 9, and continued right through high school. Even aged 8 he was an enormous, hairy beast of a man – which is what every born Dalmatian warrior looks like to a bog-standard human being. He recently surprised me on the Book of Faces with a ‘wall’ comment about my former rugby prowess, generously praising my ability and saying that I possessed what we kiwis would call a good bit of ‘mongrel’ in me – aggression, a bit of the vicious. A high, high compliment, believe me.

Nick still plays and coaches rugby, here in California. I was forced to give up the game in university after a series of head injuries culminated in a rather bewildered afternoon where I found myself sitting in a hospital bed, with a jersey from a team I didn’t recognize folded on the chair next to me, trying to digest the news that at some point in the preceding month I had signed up to play for that team in a position unrelated to any I had played in my career…

Four months later I was still having difficulty remembering such basic things as which side of the road to drive on.

But back to my point: Nick quite generously remembered me playing well, and with aggression. And when I read the post I was downright chuffed, because hidden in the dark and ratty corner of my memory is the slightly more painful recollection of myself being an inveterate ‘hollywood’ (oh, the irony… I live in LA now).

I was the guy who, if I took a knock, or had the good fortune of bleeding a bit, would ‘act up’ the injury in order to soldier through and impress any observer with my fortitude, my toughness, my heroism, playing through the pain, the brave soldier…

I did the same with my running. I was a damn fine runner – middle distance – but I HAD to let everyone know how bloody hard it all was. I would flop over the finish line, gasping and clutching my side. I would limp, dry-heave and crawl. Oh god I hope I’m making this seem worse than it was. I mean – I wasn’t a total arsehole. And I was hopefully a bit more subtle in my acting than I am describing it, but the truth’s the truth (I have NEVER admitted any of this before. My skin is crawling at the suicide I am committing here).

And I took this hollywood approach into my regular life. I acted up my psychic injuries like an old-timey goddess of the silver screen. I desperately tried to get in to Morrissey and the Smiths, to be all deep and scarred, to find some kind of trauma I could be the survivor of.  I even went so far as to invent an entire group of gothy friends I had outside of school: there was my best mate, Steve Bluce, who drove a Fiat Bambino around and then one night put a garden hose from the tailpipe to the window and killed himself. He basically cooked himself in there, with a full tank of gas, and I found him the following morning, the meat almost falling off the bone…

There was my beautiful girlfriend, Caroline, who I think I named after the Concrete Blonde song of the same name, and I would sit alone and weep, listening to that song and mourning her… and, as I recall, the accidental pregnancy we terminated… She couldn’t survive the loss of Steve, her platonic soulmate, and ended her life as well. They were all too beautiful, too tortured for this world. I can’t remember the names of all the others. There was a Tiffany, a Rangi…

I was pulled into my Housemaster’s office one day, after one too many nocturnal absences from boarding school (my bouts of insomnia were very real) and I recounted the story of doomed Steve, of the beautiful Caroline. I told him about all the LSD we had dropped, the weed we smoked, the mushroom caps we munched. Thank god I wasn’t subsequently drug tested – I would have been discovered as a Münchausen by my virgin-pure pee.

My shocked and concerned housemaster made me promise to relate this story to my parents. I did. It was hellish, to tell them about the drugs, the death, the unwanted pregnancy – it was shocking for them, and absolutely awful for me. But I was committed – I held nothing back. I was immediately referred to the school counsellor/therapist who nodded, listened, drew the story out of me in detail over several sessions, and told my parents I was a little messed up, was telling obviously made-up yarns, and shouldn’t be encouraged to talk about it at all.

I guess the fact that he turned out to be one of New Zealand’s most prolific and notorious pedophiles explains why, even though he showed a lot of interest in me and my pain and my progress, he never actually tried to figure out why I would be making up these mad stories. Don’t fuck with a brother pedo’s bitch, right?

But I look back on all of that drama and I wonder why in hell I made up stories like that. And why go and get myself into untold amounts of trouble by telling those lies to my parents?!?

As I said in my last post, I never even admitted to myself that I was being ‘sexually abused’ until I surprised myself by actually saying the words. And in the end, my personality just doesn’t fit being the brooding, tortured teen, screaming for help and understanding by flaunting my self-destructive and anti-social tendencies. I was never going to be a skater punk. I couldn’t express my teen angst and isolation through heavy metal and black eyeliner and I was definitely never quite cool enough to be one of the art-room alternative kids.

But I had that vast avalanche-field of What Was Happening To Me to navigate all through those years. I was just walking around with precarious, deep drifts of self-loathing, of isolation, of betrayal, with the world-crushing weight of my Secret, waiting for a noise, a tremor, to bring everything tumbling down, to drown me and bury me and clog my eyes and nose and throat with powder. And all the time I was playing the part of the well-adjusted teen: the nice guy, almost a jock, almost a music-room and drama nerd, a sort of clique-less popular kid. I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t tell anyone.

So I broadcast my Mayday calls with those made-up stories of suicide, drugs and abortions, and also with my dreadful, embarrassing enactments of pain and bravery on the athletic field. And, in the end, isn’t that what sport is for? Isn’t that why we we love sport in the first place – that on the field we get to enact in miniature the drama of our existence? I was trying to express some kind of pain, some kind of drama, that was otherwise invisible to others…

Hey look at me! Look how well I’m holding my shit together! Look how hard I’m fucking STRUGGLING! 

Come on – it’s embarrassing. Any decently corny tag-writer would tell you it was that hideous old chestnut: a cry for help.

Oh, balls… Now I’m a cliche. That’s even worse than being a hollywood.