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  • Henry Michael

Writer's Block 10 - Graduation

Another year of university comes to an end, and like a lot of people this week, I’ve started to find myself worrying about the future. Will I make anything of my life? And is it a problem that I still dribble? My mother insists that I’m “more intelligent than people realise”, but then again she said that about our cat, and he choked on a golf ball. Will I end up working a tough job for little pay, like my father? Or as the successful head of my own business, like his pimp? My bronze Duke of Edinburgh badge didn’t quite turn out to be quite the hidden ace I was expecting, and the next few years seem far from certain - indeed, the Mayans even went as far as predicting the end of the world in 2012, which is a disaster for local businesses, and certainly makes me regret the effort I spent trying to learn Welsh.


For a lot of people, job interviews are the next big worry: a panel of people methodically reading out your grades and academic achievements, a bit like This is Your Life, if for some reason of all your friends had autism. They’re mostly irrelevant anyway, as almost everyone seems to inexplicably end up ‘in recruitment’, ensuring that at any one time up to 80% of the graduate population is busy hiring itself. Of course, this is unless you’re smug enough to have your own internship in Canary Wharf. You’ll soon be too busy smiling at your own bank balance to care, laughing as tramps dance for your £50 notes and scoring so consistently with models that it’s no longer worth renting your own place. For the rest of us, the only way we’ll ever come into that kind of money is if we’re suddenly run over by somebody famous - and since George Michael no longer has a license, we’ll probably have to think laterally. My original plan was to become something of a Robin Hood figure, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, then suing the poor for tax evasion; but now I’ve just decided to sell untrue sex stories to tabloid newspapers. The only problems is I’ve ended up spending half the money on super-injunctions, preventing beautiful women from revealing publicly that they haven’t slept with me.


Then again, going straight into work isn’t the only option. You could go travelling around the world, “finding yourself” in various Thai brothels, or by spending time working alongside deprived third world children (sweatshop supervisors can earn upwards of £30k). Others might opt to move to a new city and start afresh, somewhere vibrant and exciting, like Newport – home to such traditional cuisine as “kebab au van”, as well as hotspots of culture like Morrisons and the Cottaging Museum. Then again if money is tight, you could just go back to uni and start again: indefinitely delaying the repayment of your loan by taking thirty consecutive Masters, finally dying at the age of 85 with more letters following your name than during it, your own stairlift built into Talybont North and a volume of debt so vast that Bob Geldof feels inspired to put on another LiveAid.


Still, the important thing is that we’ve had a good innings. For those lucky enough to be staying on; have fun, avoid the men in Walkabout and make the most out of your time left. Hopefully by the time you reach our stage your only regret will be actually getting your degree – as though it’s nice to have savings, own a mortgage and not have to sell your kids for food money, you will have to pay full price for McFlurries from now on. So all in all, a mixed bag really. But best of luck either way.



Letters to the Editor - This week: Wrapping it all up


Dear Henry,


I’ve been in trouble with my course for poor attendance. It’s already hard enough to find a job, and I don’t want anything to dent my chances - is it wrong to lie about it on my record?


There’s nothing wrong with a few harmless little white lies, like when our school swimming teacher left ‘for personal reasons’, or how the Windows 7 adverts pretend In-Private Browsing is designed for buying diamonds. CVs are no different, but make sure you don’t hide something important; Classic FM were furious when they found out about my tourettes, while my friend James never told his current employers about his narcolepsy - an understandable choice, but one that can causes no end of panic at the back of his Help The Aged minibus.


I can’t stop thinking about this girl. I’ve liked her for years, and now we’re leaving Cardiff it might be my last chance to tell her - should I take the risk?


Absolutely. Unrequited love can be an emotional nightmare, so my advice is to get it off your chest with a touching all-or-nothing romantic gesture, like gaffa-taping your head to hers, or hiring a trail-plane to write her name across the sky (taking extra care if her surname’s ‘Clint’). She may not feel the same, but believe me, if you don’t express your emotions they’ll bottle up inside you, fermenting quietly over weeks and months until you’re eventually found crying in someone’s back garden in your pants, scraping messages off the front of love-hearts and shouting at snails.


My tutor got me an internship at HSBC. Is it wrong that I can’t be bothered?


Never take employment for granted. My dad has been unable to work since his accident at the enema clinic, and can now only scrape basic work as a location manager for films about Anne Frank. It’s tempting to take the easy route, but do you really want to spend your life doing something completely arbitrary for no money? If so please get in touch, we need a new column writer for next year.


Unfortunately “Letters to the Editor” is closing down this week, so if you do have any more questions or queries, then our best advice is probably just to shove them up your arse. Cheers though yeah?



A Final Word


Lastly, I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone who‘s read and supported this column, and especially to Izzy, Ben, Harry and Sarah for their help editing it. It’s felt increasingly like turning into Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but after a year of struggling to come up with new material, it’s refreshing to see that the stress hasn’t aged me too much:



So that’s ‘Writer’s Block’ then, thanks for reading it. Not quite sure how I’m going to look my uncle in the eye now after all the jokes I’ve made about him, I assure you that he’s not a nonce. He’s just an intimate man who cares about prostate screening.