Signs of a wasted youth

Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times Column. Hope you enjoy. Oh and hope you had a nice weekend, too.
PS: Please, nobody piss off Monday, I’m hoping for a smooth one.



The other day I was in my car when a song I recognised came on the radio. I immediately cranked up the volume and found myself belting it out, singing out loud like a crazy person. Yes, I’m that mad chick in the traffic.

It’s a song I haven’t heard in a million years at least. But somehow, to my surprise, I still remembered every single word of it. Chorus, bridge and verse, even the more conspicuous lyrics that you normally la, la, la, mumble, mumble to. Ask me where I put my keys half an hour ago, or why I got up and walked into this room, and I’ll be stumped. But more than fifteen years later, I can still remember every single word of Sugar Man.

A sign of a wasted youth, perhaps? Or so people say. I’m not entirely sure where the saying comes from and neither is the internet, I checked. Mr and Mrs Wikipeida say that there’s a Meatloaf song called Wasted Youth, and there were a bunch of British Punk Rock bands from the 60s, 70s and 80s who were all called Wasted Youth, but who knows which came first.

It’s something you say when someone’s displaying behaviour that hints at a dodgy past. Come now, don’t act all innocent, we’ve all got our tattooed dirty laundry and our pierced skeletons in the closet. Still in denial? Here are a few sure signs that you might have had a wasted youth:

You know how to play pool. This is a classic clue. If you can pick up a cue after not playing for years, and double the ball off the back cushion, kiss the five ball, put a little back spin on it, and sink your stripe into the corner pocket, then it’s a sure sign you spent much of your youth in dodgy pool halls, drinking brandy and cokes, putting your coin on the side of the table and waiting your turn.

Sign number two that you may have had a wasted youth is that you can construct a bong, or some form of smoking device out of an old bottle or can, a chewing gum wrapper and a hair clip.

Another clue is that you know better than to ever drink Stroh Rum again. Ever. No matter what the bet, deal, bribe or circumstances. You won’t touch the stuff.

Or if you get sudden nervous twinges of anxiety whenever you see a cop car. Even if you’re completely innocent and aren’t going much over fifty in a sixty zone at the time. It’s an inherent feeling of latent guilt, left over from an earlier time when you may or may not have been so innocent.

But on second thoughts, maybe the royal ‘they’ have got it all wrong and these aren’t the signs of a wasted youth at all, but rather signs of an excellently spent youth. A youth spent with nothing but time on its hands and fun on its brain. A youth before bonds and taxes and meetings at eight.

I mean can it be such a bad thing that you know how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew, or a bottle of beer with your flip flop, or that it only takes you three minutes to break into your own car?

If you even just half nodded at any of these, it just means that you are one of those very lucky people who had a slightly dodgy, but excellently spent youth. And if that’s the case, then please, by all means, rock on! But not after midnight okay, you’ve got an early start tomorrow morning.


9 responses to “Signs of a wasted youth”

  1. Ha ha ha, thank you Property Girl, i totally take that in the best possible way. i really appreciate your feedback. yay. xxx

  2. ja like duh. butter knife and a doc marten 🙂 i find the screw driver/hammer combo tends to break the glass and then you have to sift wine through a double bull cotton t-shirt) still open wine like that
    LOVE IT! xxx

  3. Sleeping in my car, drinking the stroh because the tequila wasn’t doing its thing fast enough, nearly getting arrested in Long Street for carrying a plastic machine gun (‘False alarm Charlie one, it is a toy firearm’), walking to Fontana Roastery at 2 am for slap chips before heading back to the party …

    Yet I still can’t play pool to save my life. And I always carried a bottle opener in my handbag.

  4. Me jade, you carried a bottle opener in your car – that’s hilarious, I love it! I carried the whole bottle! Bwahahahhhahaa!

    Juzi, those were the days. And nights. 🙂

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