The Green Card

Saturday gave me a chance to catch-up with my brother.  We took in a football game, drank more than we should and basically talked ‘crap’.  I’m sure it’s the same for every guy out there when you meet up with your brother or friends….afterwards you are asked by your better half some fairly straightforward questions; How’s the family, how’s his job going, are the kids well, or maybe just something fundamental like….how is he?


Unfortunately due to alcohol consumption and basically just being a bloke we don’t really cover those areas in any meaningful depth.  Yes, we did compile our lists of the top 20 best gangster films, we have covered all issues related with the England cricket team and the tour of Australia…..but no, I really have no idea how his job is going.  This fundamentally means I have to blag it slightly.  I mean, I assume if my brother had any concerns about life he would mention it, and that is why we covered the familiar issues of what exactly is wrong with Arsenal Football Club.


Anyway, the point I am trying to reach is I don’t just pick my car keys up and stroll out the house….no sir.  To get a night out with my brother or my friends means you have to apply for what those in the know call ‘the green card’.  Somehow I demonstrate textbook father and husband behaviour in the build-up to then successfully apply for my ‘green card’.  I do know those friends who simply announce they are going away for the weekend and follow that up with a slap on the arse and a wave to the kids as they jump in the car and drive off….this is akin to simply running at the fence with a ladder or maybe shovelling a little dirt as you tunnel under – in short the authorities (your family) will take you down.


For me, this was an easy green card to apply for.  I hadn’t actually seen my brother for a long time, Ros likes him because he is always generous and always invests time in the kids and I took the kids out on Saturday morning so Ros could have some of her weekend to herself.  One quick trip to the playground, feed the ducks, and coffee and cake at the local café means….I am strolling through immigration and picking up my first alcoholic beverage of the month in the promised land.


I suspect where a lot of the guys get it wrong is the return journey.  Sure, you have a hangover like someone has hit you with a truck, your breath smells like you have been chewing engine oil and your physical appearance means children in the street runaway screaming,,,,but as you check-in at the border to the homeland, you need to up your game again!


Somehow I managed to take the kids to the playground while I just lay on a park bench hoping death would take me.  I think I engaged my wife in meaningful conversation giving her a full blown update on my brother’s life…..and then I find a dark room to curl up in and begin the healing process…..until next time!

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