What have you written about this time, A.W. Wilson, you creator of fine literature? I’m waiting for your next book and I don’t know what to do with myself, please fill the hole in my life. In fact, please tell me how to live my life, specifically by giving me advice on those key life moments, those life or death situations where I simply don’t know where to turn.

happy cow
It’s okay, reader, you can turn to me. I’m here. I can help. All you need is the A.W. Wilson Guide to Life or Death Situations. So here we go…

  • Key life moment number 1 – you need a hanger for your shirt and there isn’t one in your wardrobe

I’m saying ‘a hanger’, it could be that you need multiple hangers for multiple shirts but the principle is the same. You’ve looked in the wardrobe and you’ve looked again and you’ve thought about doubling up, ie. hanging it over the top of an existing shirt. But you’ve ruled that out on double crumpleage grounds. Nobody wants double crumpleage unless they’re in bed with twins*.

Go to your girlfriend/wife’s wardrobe. Open the door. Hold on. Step back and hang your shirt over the bedpost or somewhere it’s not going to get all creased. You’re going to need both hands for this.

Run your eyes along the array of clothing, go on, run your eyes along it. Get a feel for what you’re dealing with. The first thing you’ll notice is that you don’t recognise 95% of the stuff in there. Try not to reconcile the reality of this vast swathe of assorted apparel with recent memories of your girlfriend/wife standing in the embrace of the open doors of that self same wardrobe before a night out and saying “I’ve got nothing to wear.” Your mind can’t take such an extreme paradox, it will swallow itself from the inside like the molten metal man at the end of Terminator II who is trying to catch the less-powerful-but-blessed-with-a-touch-of-humanity-thanks-to-the-young-John-Conner-winning-him-over Terminator from Terminator I.

Clear your mind. Focus on the need for the hanger.

You can see about a dozen spare hangers right off the bat. Job done.


Did you stop? I hope you stopped. What you see in front of you is an illusion. Nothing is what it seems in that material world. You can’t see but the hangers that look empty are occupied, not by full size visible garments but by mere suggestions of clothing, ethereal combinations of silk and polyester hanging by thin fabric cords. If you look closely you’ll see them, or rather evidence of them, a black strap over the black plastic of the hanger, swallowed beneath by the mass of hanging attire.

But of course you didn’t stop, did you? You knew best. You were fooled by the fools’ gold because you’re such a fool and you went and took one of those ‘empty’ hangers out didn’t you? It wasn’t easy was it? You really had to rip it out of there. Now you’re right in the shit. One of the laces came off as you yanked it out and now you’re holding a hanger from which is hanging what seems to be a 5-foot string with some bits of coloured cloth attached along its length. It’s like bunting. Now you’ve got to try and work out how to hang that on the hanger as it was before you tore it from its material moorings. Can’t be done I’m afraid. But what you’ll notice is that there actually isn’t a need for hangers in your girlfriend/wife’s wardrobe; the clothes are packed so tightly in that they hold themselves up. It’s like a kibutz in there, a cooperative where each individual supports the rest of the community.

Perhaps you’re not so in the shit. Perhaps we’re onto something. Unthread that long thing from the hanger you’re holding, it’ll be all twisted and tangled up but stay with it. Oh, you threw it on the floor in frustration, fair enough, that’s not unreasonable. Okay, pick it up again and give it another go. Good work, you’ve done it, you’ve freed whatever it is from the hanger. Now, you’re going to need to bundle it up and then prise apart the block of clothes in the ‘drobe and stuff it right in there. You’ll find that the clothing monster that’s taken over your girlfriend/wife’s wardrobe will hungrily swallow it up so be careful you don’t lose a hand. Done it?

The subterfuge won’t last but at a glance the wardrobe will appear to be normal.

You’ve got yourself a hanger. Go on, hang your shirt up.

*adult twins, weirdo.

Key life moment number 2 – remote needs new batteries

If you’re experiencing this then you have my deepest sympathy; it’s a bad place to be. If it’s the controller for the telly itself then all isn’t quite lost; you can get up and change the channel manually, but that’s no good, not really. And if it’s the sky remote then you’re all at sea. That’s where you really need my help. Here’s what you do. Follow my instructions to the letter and I’ll get you through this storm:

IGNORE YOUR PARTNER as they tell you how it’s not really a surprise because the message about the batteries running down has been appearing on the screen repeatedly in recent days. If you do have to answer them at all then make sure you mutter some inaudible expletives as you stomp out of the room.

CHECK THE CLUTTER DRAWER. Only you know where your clutter drawer is. It’s the one in which you chucked those extra laces that came with your new trainers, foreign coins, screws, pens, sellotape, a quarter of a box of Christmas cards that you’ll forget you’ve still got come next December and buy some more anyway. And batteries. It’s exactly the sort of place you’d put spare batteries. Go and look in there.

PULL THE CLUTTER DRAWER INCREDIBLY HARD when you find it only opens an inch because something’s got stuck against the upper frame of the drawer. There’s no point opening it a little bit then foraging around blindly with your fingers in an attempt to tease the unseen blockage into a cooperative position. You’re not a vet and the drawer is not the uterus of a cow in labour. So get your fingers out of there. Just grip the drawer handle and pull very hard indeed. It probably won’t do any good straight away so what you’ll need to do is slam it forwards then suddenly whip it back again as hard as you can. What you’re doing there is harnessing the energy of the forward motion to increase the power of the whip-back. It won’t work first time, it won’t work the third time, or even the eighth time, but that’s fine. Keep on doing it, go on. Keep on pulling and slamming. You should be shouting by now too, that’s good, use your anger. What you need to do is lose your rag, that’s what we’re aiming at. You’re not going to get through this until you’ve lost your rag. That’s it, work yourself into a frenzy. You have to hate the drawer. You want to kill the drawer, that’s it. You’re there. You’ve lost your rag. You’re a whirlwind of pure rage. Good work. Now you can make use of that extra bit of strength that one can only summon after losing one’s rag. You’ve got it, you’re powered up…

Now heeeeeave!

That’s it. It moved a bit further that time didn’t it? Progress! But it’s still not there and it’s really frustrating. Use that frustration. This is the one. Pull like an absolute bastard. An angry bastard. You should hear a sound that means something’s breaking, keep it going, you’ve got to snap or tear or bend that blockage to buggery. That’s it, you’ve broken something and the drawer’s open. You might find you have to ram it back and forth a few more times to open it to its full extent. Okay? Nice. Now rest.

You’ve got the drawer open! What did you break? A cd case? Maybe you got lucky and it was just the quarter-full box of Christmas cards. Doesn’t matter, chuck it away. Right, we’re in. Have a good old rummage about in amongst all the clutter. No batteries? Thought not.

Take some out of the kitchen clock.
Key life moment number 3 – when you last drove the car it was late at night and you had radio 1 on because the DJ was playing Drum & Bass and Dubstep. You had it really loud and when you turn on the radio in the morning on the way to work Chris Moyles is on.

And he’s doing that thing where he’s being all serious about something because he likes to prove that he has a serious side and really believes in certain issues. And you can tell he’s doing that because he’s leaving extra long pauses between his sanctimonious statements. And just in case you were in any doubt that he’s doing his serious bit, that Dave one keeps making hmmm hmmm noises in a really earnest way to show how much he’s agreeing and trying to emphasise the gravitas of what the alpha male in that awful troop of smug gibbons is ponderously droning on about. And he made his point ages ago but he’s re-making it over and over.

What can you do?

Select any other channel. It doesn’t matter which.

Or turn it off.

All sorted? I’m glad I could be of help.

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