Gerry Thompson

I Never Said I Was Perfect

I suffered a lot from depression in the 1970s, but thankfully am free from that now. However, I'm certainly not normal. In fact I'm a Buddhist - but not a very good Buddhist: I suffer from high self-esteem; I can often seem to be self-effacing, but never in a very convincing way. I'd say that overall I'm a deeply superficial person.

Thinking about my faults puts me in mind of my Mother (why should that be, I wonder? Perhaps she was good at noticing them). When I was young, my Mum gave me some powerful ideas of what I could expect from life. 'Money doesn't grow on trees, Gerald", she would often say. She put across a general sense that life is miserable, scary, painful, and short. Thirdly, she would say: 'No-one will like you when you grow up'. I suppose she was right about that one.

I was very sad when she died, but she did leave me quite a lot of money, which was welcome. Unfortunately though, I've had to spend it on therapy - for my Mum-related issues.

One of the things that most troubles me is being kept waiting a long time. The worst is when you're invited out to dinner. "Come around about eight', they blithely say; you turn up at the appointed hour, already quite hungry. Time passes. You have a few drinks. More time passes. But still there's no sign of food. It's now about ten o'clock, and no one is even going into the kitchen - they're just standing around, talking. You're getting very hungry now; you have low blood sugar, and you've drunk a great deal on an empty stomach. Suddenly it all gets too much, and you find yourself yelling out something a Buddhist shouldn't ideally yell out, like 'Where is the **** **** ****ing food?!!!'

So I've evolved tactics to deal with this kind of situation. I'm actually quite a good cook; so what I often do is go into the kitchen, look around, work out what they were planning to serve, get it going, and just serve it up. I've found that people often don't like this.

If the time delay is even more extreme, however, there's something else I can do to influence the situation - create a hostage situation. I take a couple of guests upstairs and make a video, demonstrating what I'm prepared to do if food isn't served, say, within fifteen minutes. This could involve making vol-au-vents from a hostage, perhaps gujonning someone else - or perhaps creating a novel version of coq-au-vin. This usually produces speedy results. I've noticed, though, that I'm not getting so many dinner invites these days. So that's me. Well, I never said I was perfect,
did I?


'I am a stand-up comedian and comedy trainer. I facilitated the course at Rowans Day Centre for this project. Woody Allen says that 'comedy is truth and pain'; my material is a celebration of my own peculiar idiosyncrasies, imperfections and defects in a somewhat exaggerated form...'