Pop Cult, Essential Reading Material for the Bathroom writer and head bender, Roland Rock, tells us how ‘Life ruined his life’.

I am not one for complaining. I’ve never considered myself a victim of life, and I despise those who do. Yes, I have experienced moments of great personal tragedy and loss, and, on more than one occasion, I can recall being so upset and miserable that I wished I were dead, but I am a human being and bad things we don’t like happen to us. No one, including myself, is immune from misfortune, and I accept this rather than fear it or use it as an excuse for my own shortcomings, failings and disappointments.

My attitude has always been: “it is not in how hard you fall, but how high you bounce back.”

I am not saying it is easy, but for my own sanity and survival I always cling to the positive, even in the blackest of situations. I simply refuse to let the Bad Times win, because to get through life in the best way possible you have to enjoy it all.

Unable to pinpoint any one single action or thing that I could draw upon as running my life made me think harder and asses in finer details my 25 years on earth, and this drew me to the conclusion that it is actually Life that has ruined my life.

Before my life began I felt no pain and was at perfect peace. Then I was squeezed out kicking and screaming into the world like the last drop of toothpaste, and so began what I now understand to be the Creator’s practical joke.

The doctor doing the delivery took one look at the wretched, writhing thing he was holding and flung me hard against the wall. So ugly a baby was I. The rumour in my family has it that at least one of the medical staff present at my birth vomited.

A few years after this I accidentally killed my first person. Sitting in the booth of a Little Chef opposite my dad, my elder brother Nathan was practising sword swallowing. He was dangling his knife down his throat. He was dead keen on being a sword swallower, and he would take every opportunity to practice. Mum was in the queue looking every bit the stressed mother to two. She was trying to pay the lady at the till and at the same time speaking to me about something I can no longer remember. Carrying a tray of food and facing her I edged backwards into my brother causing his fingers to lose their grip on the knife and for the thing to fall.

I turned to look at what I’d bumped in to. At the same time Nathan blurted out, “My god, I’ve swallowed the knife”.

Looking into his eyes, not believing him and thinking it was a joke, I started laughing. Perhaps it was the feeling of terror felt at what he’d done, I don’t know, but Nathan started laughing also. This laughter caused him massive internal injuries and, despite the best efforts of the medical team at the hospital where he was rushed, he died 6 hours later in surgery.

Two years down the line when I was 11, the same age as Nathan when he died, I started becoming myself again. I started to realise that his was an unfortunate accident, an accumulation of innocent events that resulted in a catastrophe. It happens – a hard lesson for one so young to learn.

My parents had divorced during this time. My mum had blamed herself. In her mind she was responsible, because she distracted me and if she hadn’t done that Nathan would still be here and today we’d be able to see the man Nathan would have become. She also blamed dad for not stopping Nathan.

Dad blamed himself as well. The guilt was too much for him to stand, so he left. When I accidentally killed dad, I did not feel totally sad, because I genuinely think it set him free from his suffering. Each day for him he was tormented by what happened that day in the Little Chef, haunted by what he could or should have done. So when I opened a window at his home that knocked the ladder he was standing on, causing him to fall sideways and then backwards onto and through his neighbour’s greenhouse, where he pretty much died instantly from his injuries, there was a small part of me that was actually glad dad was out of what must have been hell on Earth for him.

My mother, who was now convinced I was jinxed and that she was next, sent me to live with my aunts and uncles. Then one of them or my cousins would die and I’d be moved on. Eventually I was moved into care and this terrible pattern continued.

On account of constantly moving from town to town, the hideous looks gifted me at birth, and the fact I keep inadvertently killing the people close to me (13 by the time of my 18th birthday and 39 now in total), my life has almost exclusively become a solitary one. The deaths were never my fault, as such, at least not in the eyes of the law anyway, but I can tell by the way people behave near me that they are scared, that they think I’m cursed and don’t want to stick around for longer than is absolutely necessary.

It’s obvious now, looking back, that my life has indeed ruined my life. It’s ruined quite a few other lives too! None of it deliberate, mind. I just happen to be incredibly unlucky and a nightmare to be around. Not to worry. The show must go on, as they say, which is why if you provide the best comment below you can win a trip yachting round the Solent with me. Surely I can’t keep accidentally killing people, right?


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