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Fahckmylife's Blog
Crap adult, OK human.

And that Baby Grew up to be Albert Einstein – Keith Duffy and Getting up the Duff

keith

 

OK so I thought I could go with a different type of tale today, so sit back, grab a cup of tea or get comfortable hiding in the jacks in work, whilst I regale you with a story of a day in my life of yesteryear.  ‘Twas the summer of 2003, I was 21, on break from college before returning for my final year of my degree and working in town.  This shop was a novelty shop, mainly for children, producing a variety of teddy bears on the site to the specifications of stupid little people.  We put in hearts, voice boxes, stuffing, dressed them and gave them birth certificates.  We smiled and joked with children and it was all really saccharin, but, for the most part I enjoyed it.  It paid well, I liked sewing and some children were scared of balloons which amused me no end.

 

This particular day was a strange one for me.  I hadn’t been feeling well for the last while.  I had been putting on weight despite being on a very strict diet composed mainly of Slimfast milkshakes.  I was really annoyed at myself for being the ghastly weight of 9 stone (oh how I laugh now at that) and had pretty much been starving myself for the past few weeks.  The night before I was tossing and turning and had barely slept and somewhere in the recesses of my brain fluttered a serious hidden pang of anxiety.  It was only sitting at the table at the back of the shop at the sewing table, staring at the small wide eyed fools screaming incoherent shite, that the realisation hit me of what this potentially could be and so frantically on the short morning break I ran to the pharmacy on the floor below.  Ten minutes later I was staring at a positive response on the test in the toilets, barely able to breathe.

 

When I left the toilet, confused and a bit shell shocked, I stumbled aimlessly back onto the floor.  A supervisor approached me and told me that I had to go to the RDS.  Why?  Because I had to dress up, with another guy, in a mascot outfit – the giant smelly girl teddy for a photo shoot.  I would get paid extra.  I complied barely saying a word, partially glad to get away from all the children on the shop floor and pretending to be happy – my resting bitch face game would have been too strong for the public today.  I was kinda paralysed watching children with their sticky hands pick up teddies, drop lollies and somewhere I could smell a well filled nappy.  So I went with the other guy to the RDS, making awkward small talk and trying not to have a mental breakdown.

 

The costume had never been washed.  Not once.  And the inside of the heavy plastic head smelled like twenty people’s stale breath.  It was claustrophobic and heavy with warm air, despite the large opening for the mouth and eyes.  In order to walk I had to press my face up tightly to the inside of the head and peer out the mouth, which I could only imagine looked as macabre appearing as if I was trapped inside the bear being slowly digested.  I wondered if I tried hard enough would the body digest the foetus, thought that was stupid and asked someone to align my head properly.  The costume hung loosely around my body, but felt crusty and trapped the building heat around me.  Was it always this warm in this suit or was I just panicking?  I could feel sweat drip down my back but there was nothing I could do about it.

 

How the fuck was I going to have a child?  What would I ever do with one?  Surely, I’d accidentally break its neck the first time I held it?  All I did was booze, work, study and sleep.  I had nobody to answer to.  I lived with my parents in a teenchy gaff.  When the goldfish became a pain in the arse they were flushed down the toilet like (not me), so what would happen with a screaming baby?  What about college?  I wanted to do my thesis on the Alien series and the idea of babies as parasites and bodily autonomy – seemed fitting now.

 

I was ushered along by someone I couldn’t see, an irritating hand between my shoulder blades into a flurry of people.  I couldn’t turn because the costume didn’t always move with me and it was hard to orientate myself in it, so as much as I wanted to I couldn’t push their hand off.

 

‘Don’t talk at all’ a voice said.

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Journalists, photographers, some TV presenters I could recognise but not name…. and there he was Keith Duffy, in all his orangeness (ornateness kept coming up in spellcheck as a possible correction and I can’t stop laughing at it) with his crazy white teeth standing smiling away in the middle of it all.  It didn’t matter that I could barely see out the mouth – I could still tell he was famous, even in his shit blue jumper.  Other people dressed as teddies pranced around with exaggerated poses.  It was like walking into a party where you were the only one who hadn’t taken cocaine whilst everyone went all Scarface.  He was moved over to me, the only female bear, and tightly wrapped his arm around my neck, as flashed went off.  I tried to pose in some way enthusiastically and made eye contact with him through the mouth and he smiled in the most comforting way into the bears mouth.  It must’ve looked super weird to him.  It was, however, magical for me.  We were sharing a moment.

 

Inside, still reeling from the news earlier, the heat rising and rising, I could feel myself start to have issues breathing.  I could feel that it was possible that I would vomit inside the giant head as well, possibly morning sickness, possibly just from the stress of it.  Thing is, although Keith was subconsciously calming me down, when you can’t see anything in your peripheral vision you can be frightened easily.  As he loosened his grip on me some squeaky gobshite jumped in front of me:

 

‘YOU’RE DEFINITELY A GUY!’ she squealed, not only giving me a shock but also causing me to back away slightly.  ‘YOU’RE DEFINTELY NOT A GIRL!’

 

Over and over and over.  Until warm and angry and panicked, the smelly girl bear shouted in front of the journalists, TV presenters ad Keith Duffy.

 

‘I’M A FUCKING GIRL!’ I screamed.

 

Ten minutes later we were leaving on our way back to work, normal clothes but red faced, absolutely nothing acknowledged by anyone of my outburst, on the way to get a goddamn burrito.  When my supervisor rang me to find out where we were – slightly angry I might add I simply said in a narky tone ‘to get a fucking burrito’ and hung up.  I was getting a burrito and I wasn’t rushing it either.

 

Then in work I text the father of the child, not my partner at the time (long story) and told him we needed to chat.  So yeah, I guess I had the kid but Keith Duffy also, without knowing it, stopped me having a panic attack.

 

 

EDIT:  This story really did happen and I tried to Google pictures of me (as a bear) with Keith Duffy but I couldn’t find any.  If anyone does come across some please send them on! It’d be cool.

 

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