They say that quantum physicists often have religion…

There’s something about breaking big things into smaller and smaller things that make you really start to wonder about the design of the things you’re deconstructing, and then about the personality of the designer.

There is no way that these walls I’ve been destroying evolved gradually over millions of years, of course. Some idiot that didn’t know when to stop pushing on their impact driver was building the things I’m destroying while I was in America. I might even know the idiot personally. They might even be reading this, and they might sit down opposite me one day and say “You know that idiot you wrote about,” and then tell me that the reason they threaded all the screwheads when they built the set was because they were making sure the screwheads were safely screwed in. Really really safely. So safely.

Ooh it’s satisfying though, tearing this stuff to pieces. The cracking snapping noise as you wrench the last few lost cause screws out of the wood and throw another big lump of timber into the timber pile. It’s lethal with jagged edges that timber pile, as I’ve discovered to my detriment.

I bought some good quality Stanley fingerless padded gloves. I need to be able to feel with my fingertips. But I’ve more or less shaved the end of most of my fingers off. My left hand in particular is messy with cuts. I was woken up with septic pain in one cut the other night so I opened it under running water, squirted it full of aftershave and put sudocream on it before going back to sleep. Miraculously that worked. Now the finger next to it is behaving similarly from a nasty little jag under my middle fingernail that’s harder to get to. Even as my shoulder eases off…

My brother Jamie was a chippie before he got Parkinson’s Disease. He had a place in London and was gradually working through it when I was at school, as many of my friends do now, to add value. I’d sometimes go and spend the weekend with him for school “exeats” – (weekends where you were allowed to leave the grounds). I hung out with him and his friends when I was aged about 11. It was that or stay at boarding school in an empty dorm while everybody else was with their mum and dad. My parents were in far flung places and even then I was too proud/stubborn/independent to admit I was missing them painfully. If they didn’t show, I would hang out with the three or four other kids whose parents also didn’t show. We would see a different – kinder – side to the teachers we knew. But sometimes, when they didn’t show, Jamie would show with his busy messy car and his silly jokes and whichever girlfriend it was at the time. I loved those weekends more than he would ever know…

He continued to work for a while despite the increasing physical unpredictability of his condition. He knew the job and the tools far better than I do. But he had to stop after an interaction between his fingers and a saw. He was living in France by then.

A few years ago he went to hospital in Poitiers for a routine check up. He stayed overnight. A superbug found him. Just like mum. I rushed to find him before the end. He died, and the cause of death was probably logged as his condition rather than the superbug, as is the habit, because hospitals are becoming deathtraps internationally, and fudging the cause of death is a way of warding off mass panic about superbugs.

So Jamie died arbitrarily. Another screw threaded. I feel very close to him now, doing his kind of work for a few days. Although he was many things.

He was a musician. He would make pipes from cow parsley and play them well. He played guitar too. To this day I call cow parsley “Jamie pipe weed”.

He was a poet. Campbell, my nephew, still remembers his strange and beautiful poetic outbursts online.

He was a maker with his hands. We understood each other, Jamie and I. We lived together very briefly in The Isle of Man after dad died. I still can’t fully understand that he’s dead…

And then on the way home I shut down an evangelical shouter on the tube. I spoke with him about his faith from a point of view of knowledge and suggested reasons why his methods were unhelpful. I know a lot about Christianity, so I was able to give him specific chapter and verse about why shouting at a captive audience was not the best way to bring people to the word of God. Revelation 3:20. “There’s no point berating people for not opening the door. That will only push them further away from it. Just keep being the knock. If it looks like people aren’t hearing it, trust that they are. And don’t let negativity that you have received transmit into negativity that you broadcast. Because if that happens you can undo any good work you might have done”. The perks of almost becoming a vicar…

But there we are. Back at the start. Intelligent design vs happenstance? I lost my faith, because if someone made this world they made it worse than whoever threaded all those screws. They threaded humanity. They made a bunch of self righteous hateful wankers, divided them evenly over both sides of numerous deeply held standpoints, screwed them in so hard they were threaded and fucked off while they were throwing shit at each other. Nobody can unscrew them.

Meanwhile loads of good hearts like Jamie’s were crippled and then stopped. I need to get to France in Spring and see Danuta, who was in love with him at the end. Thank God for her. He was happy and loved and cared for until the end…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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