On the way back from London I met Lee*. 

Lee thought that it was ‘cool’ to…

     …Get drunk on Strongbow and White Lightning.

     …Overdose on Heroin.

      …Fixate on Kurt Cobain.

     …and stick silly, and unattractive, amounts of metal through his face.

In fact Lee actually wanted to die young.  Preferably of a heroin overdose.

I spent a very enjoyable tube journey telling him exactly what us LAS do to twits like him.

I even demonstrated a proper sternal rub.  He couldn’t stand five seconds of it…

With idiot kids like him, is it any wonder we are fighting a losing battle?

Well, at least he and his friends, did entertain me on the tube back from the centre of town.

And he did promise to phone me when he was drunk…

I suspect he might reconsider if he reads the rest of this blog….


*Lee is his real name – I wasn’t on duty, so who cares about confidentiality and anonymity.

42 thoughts on “Lee”

  1. now you mention it, there was a certain impression of… pointiness… on either side of the head that was on top of the green uniform!But the other person to do it was my GP when I hit the deck after standing up to go through to her office. And she's human, I'm sure of it.

  2. 'silly, and unattractive, amounts of metal'?I wouldn't like to think his choice of facial jewellery was in any way influencing your opinion of him as an 'idiot', in the same way I am sure you wouldn't like other to make decisions on your character influenced by the things they found physically unappealing about you.

  3. No, the 'idiot' thing was because of what he was saying.But his face did look like an explosion in a shrapnel factory, and his piercings weren't particularly well done.

    Besides, am I not allowed the opinion that some people who have multiple piercings around the face might just be a bit daft? Much like I might think that people who make the decision to breed early and often are daft as well.

    Piercings (for example), unlike 'natural' looks are a choice, so they do show some idea of character, same as clothing, choice of music, hairstyle, etc.

    And remember, I was trying to be kind by warning him off the lifestyle of heroin abuse.

  4. I thought your last post was a bit, no, a lot 'Daily Mail reactionary'.Working in the community and often being exposed to people like Lee I would've thought you'd developed a deeper understanding of how such people come to be in the situations they're in.

    Or maybe it's your experience in the community that has led to this conclusion?? šŸ™‚

  5. The correct answer to this is “bloody painful”, having received a couple.The paramedic/ambulance guy rubs – HARD – into a point in the middle of the chest, on the sternum. (Hence sternal rub)

    It's a pain stimulus designed to tell if you really are unconscious/comatose, or faking it, because it hurts enough that it's kind of difficult to ignore if you're faking it.

    Oh, and if done truly hard, it leaves a stonking bruise over the sternum for a good week or so.

  6. You are, of course, allowed the opinion that people with muliple piercings are 'a bit daft', as long as you wouldn't mind if someone held the same opinion of you based on the shirt you are wearing.Every thing about even the most 'natural' (by which I assume you mean appropriately heterogeneous as befitting a society's majority standards, rather than butt naked with uncut hair, our real 'natural' state) of looks has been chosen to reflect that individual's tastes; every single thing has been a 'choice'. By ascribing a particular character, attitude or mode of behaviour to piercings or any other aspect of appearance you're only inviting snap, often wildly inaccurate, judgements to flourish unchecked.

  7. Green Fairy and Ben – For Christ's sake stop reading the Grauniad and get a life.GF – What constitutes a 'silly' amount of metal stuck through someone's face is obviously a matter of opinion. Reynolds is NOT a reactionary old fart like me, and if he says it's 'silly' (as a medical professional) you can assume that Lee looked not unlike this guy..


    Ben – Wake up and smell the capuccino. Try to remember that not all tossers are victims, and many victims are tossers.

  8. Snap judgements happen in this society. It might not be good or right, it may even be downright unfair to the individual concerned – but if you pierce or tattoo your face, or if you dye your hair green, or if you don't change your clothes for a fortnight, then you are actively inviting a certain set of preconcieved ideas and you know you are doing it.The other side of the coin is that if/when Lee goes for a job interview, I reckon he'll take out some of the piercings and wear a suit in order to influence the interviewer's first impressions in the other direction.

    Lee is choosing to make the impression he does. It's not like being a different colour/gender/sexuality, these are things with no element of choice. I bet if you asked him Lee would say he was “making a statement” – he *wants* people to see him as part of the drug-abusing Kurt Cobain idolising group and has gone out of his way to cause this impression.

  9. Of course. Anyone who looks or acts differently from the norm must accept and understand that they are going to be be judged – most often negatively – upon their appearance. Sometimes these judgements are actively sought, most often they are not.However this doesn't mean than when we encounter preconceived notions and prejudices openly expressed we shouldn't challenge them.

  10. Exactly. My point was that it's never just one end of the scale or the other but somewhere in the middle.The Lee post had some observations then lots of stereotypes slapped on it.

    I guess what I wanted to say was that Lee probably wasn't an idiot and Mr Reynolds later said this anyway.

  11. I am not as tall as I imagine Mr. Reynolds might be, and when Traveling home on the tube I have oftern felt intimidaed by 'the likes of Tom' and other overpowering personalities. Were you not at all worried about your personal safety? Being at work with a vest (that you choose not to wear) and a 'firm' to sue is one thing.. but if Tom battered you, then there is nowhere to run to. and no one to blame.

  12. Thanks for the explination. If I ever feel I might be found comatosed I'll remember to be holding a sign saying I'm not faking it. ;o)

  13. Frankly anyone who thinks it's cool to take heroin, get wasted on strongbow and cider, says they want to die young and idolises a dead junkie is doing a good job of behaving like an idiot, even if they aren't one as far as IQ is concerned.

  14. When did safety and intimidation on the Tube come into it?I think it's more about the likelihood of time and money and expertise being spent by the NHS trying to pump the excess of alcohol and drugs out of this young man who has decided it is “cool” to put them in there in the first place.

  15. I always get the impression that someone with a lot of body decoration is in a little paradox cyclone. They feel insignificant so they make themselves noticable so that they can get angry about being judged on their appearance. This is great because that victim complex can be very empowering, letting someone rage at the world and feel justified for pretty much any action they take, because society made them do it. It's ironic though because there are so many people like this they are a culture of their own – so you can basically feel an accepted part of a peer group of people whose ideals are based on feeling different, unique and an outcast.I can definitely see the attraction. I express my anger at the world by raging silently in the corner, unseen. Sure, I'll never need a sternum rub but then I don't have a peer group to huddle with either.

    I think I might make an appointment at the piercer…

  16. Taking heroin would seem to be a political statement or even a philosophical manifesto in these post-Trainspotting days. The things people do with their looks do make statements about their approach to life and their political outlook: consider the skinhead's haircut, for example. Even Strongbow and White Lightning could be seen as a finger up at society and its current concern with drunkenness. All in all: you don't care about me so why the f should I care about you? A cry for help to be answered before it's too late.Hats off to you Tom for doing something when a lot of the rest of us would choose to look the other way.


  17. Stereotyping happens all the time – part of the way our mind works. We pick out a few cues here and there and make up a picture in our mind. We don't only do it with people, we do it with everything. The effort needed to process incoming information from afresh every time we encounter it would be too much for us. Se we need cues and rules of thumb and categories to put people and things in to.Sure, it's not nice to be judged by your appearance, but it happens all the time. And, in defence of Tom, I imagine people in his line of work need to make quick judgements under high pressure situations, so I guess stereotypes do come in handy.

    And if you think someone's a tosser, for whatever reason, then just go ahead and say it. Excessive and badly done body piercing seems to me as good a reason to make a judgement about a person as any.

    Office worker.

  18. Sorry, I have to say that if some drunk, smacked up bloke started mouthing off at me on the tube about how taking heroin is 'cool' I wouldn't be too impressed either.I get drunk, sometimes. I don't think it is 'cool', sometimes it is fun but I accept that if I do it to extremes or too often I will damage myself and maybe others. It is not a political statement to get drunk and idolise Kurt Cobain. It would have been a political statement 10 years ago; it would be like me idolising and emulating the Sex Pistols, when their scene is now very over. (sorry for talking like 1970s throwback but can't think of any other way to put it, am tired).

    Furthermore, people who tell other RANDOM people that they DON'T EVEN KNOW that they want to die of an overdose run several risks. They risk being a) talked out of it by concerned person; b) told to do it by unconcerned person; c) cried at by person whose mum/son/best mate did just the same thing or d) beaten to a pulp by one of the people who inevitably have to patch up the mess left after the attempt.

  19. I reckon it was probably half and half – half bullshit boasting and half choice to slowly wreck oneself. As for piercing – lots of people pierce themselves to 'hide' behind the front that piercings can create. I used to work with an extremely well-known cameraman who looked like the worst sort of glue-sniffing dog on a rope crusty ever. He had a dayglo straggly mohican, huge amounts of piercings and tribal tattoos plus big corks through his ears. He was also a devoted family man with three kids, a wife, a house in the country and a lucrative job. He happened to be extremely shy and in a moment of candour once told me that he only made himself look like that to stop people talking to him all the time. The whole thing was a front. He had a reputation that proceeded him which was purely based on other peoples pre-conceptions about what he must be like judged entirely on his appearance – including me! Re: Reynolds post – we are all entitled to our opinion – and don't forget he had been in the pub as well!!

  20. My personal favourite heroin overdose stories have to do withthose too stupid to stick around and get saved. Mabe they don't

    want to be, I don't know. Living near San Francisco and having

    worked in ambulances and lived with a paramedic you hear and

    experience some great stuff. How about the wonders of narcan,

    the lifesaving drug that has a halflife less than that of the drug it

    is used to treat. Imagine how great you feel to bring that HOD

    patient round just to have them run and end up dying a little

    while later because one of their buddies thinks they are doing

    them a great favor by hiding them from the mean

    ambulance people. I have to agree that people who have this as

    their life ambition are huge idiots. I grew up in a family where

    we knew and were friends with those on the fringes of “normal”

    society. I myself am tatooed and unashamed of that, but an idiot

    is an idiot. No amount of bashing those you acuse of prejudice

    can change that fact.

  21. Blimey, I thought he was an idiot because he wanted to become an alcoholic, heroin addict and die young. Not because of metalwork. And sudden;y I find people getting all defensive.Still I might be defensive if I wore union jack clothing…

    “Number of absurd people bedecked in Union Jack shorts, bunting, plastic bowler hats with flags sticking out and home made t-shirts declaring 'Come On Tim!' banned 'on the grounds of aural pollution, crimes against aesthetics and an unseemly need to indulge in peculiar tribalistic behaviour (see: football)': 0 “

    So Greenfairy and I are both judging people on what they wear…

    *Reynolds pokes his tongue out and runs away over the hill*

  22. So it's reactionary to consider people who want to die young, while destroying the lives of those around them (and making me pick up the pieces) idiots?Actually – you have read this blog right? I moan about loads of different types of people, quite a lot actually…

    Damn me for imposing my value judgements on other people…

  23. Rubbish, some people are idiots, some are arseholes, and some are victims. Lee was firmly in the 'idiot' camp.And what bloody stereotype?

    If it's the whole 'piercing' thing, then I thank the gods I didn't mention he was wearing a blue shirt…

  24. Eh?And no, I'm wasn't worried about talking to 5 young lads on the tube. Besides, I was doing my 'health promotion' bit.

    I'm also perhaps the least threatening person you could come across – which is why little old ladies ask me directions.

  25. Just to clarify.I thought he was an idiot because he thought that being an alcoholic heroin abuser, dying young was a romantic way of life.

    I've no problem with people who are tattooed or pierced, except in this case they were unatrractively done. If you want to put metal through/in your body, then all power to you – but if it's aesthetically unpleasing to my eye, well…that's just tough. I won't dislike you for it, but I might consider you a bit silly.

    Yes I do sometimes talk to people on the tube, I'm fairly friendly you know. And if I think I can stop the next generation of wasted lives, then I'm willing to give it a go.

    And I do indeed make a thousand snap judgements a day – mainly along the lines of “Is this person really sick?”, “Am I going to be in danger entering this house on my own?”, “Is this person telling me all the truth”, and “If I nick this drunk's wallet, will I be found out?”

    One of those was a joke

    That's the last time I post after being down the pub…

    …and then spend the rest of the next day putting up wallpaper, while getting comments to the post sent to my mobile phone, and not being able to reply to any of them.

  26. That post with the paradox thingy there, I did that, and it wasn't meant to sound defensive.I can see why some people did get defensive though – I think they look up to you a bit (yes, I hope that makes you cringe! ha!) and got upset when they thought their hero was attacking something they have an interest in.

    I, on the other hand, was just abusing your comments system to spout half considered theories. šŸ˜€

  27. HeyJust wanted to say thumbs up for trying to talk to that lad. You may have planted a seed and that might be all that is needed.

    And, as someone who has a tatt and wants another, please continue to air your opinions. We all have an inner voice that notices what others look like, their hairstyle, fashion sense (or lack thereof), body art, etc.


  28. If I would encounter an individual like that I would rather give them some tips on how to be successful at their suicide attempt. I have no respect or understanding for people who insist on being a burden on society at large. Helping him surfive would be in direct conflict with the darwin principals I hold high in regard.

  29. I tend to get squished on an area between my neck and my shoulder, usually in such a way that I end up taking my bra strap OFF that side… ow…I wouldn't mind but I wasn't even unconscious last time, just groggy.

  30. No matter what happens to this kid, you made an effort with him and that commands respect. I get the feeling that his romantic ideas are all in his head, but if he makes a prat of himself pretending a heroin 'lifestyle' then that's so much better than killing his life on junk. Hopefully you'll have helped sway his decision in a positive way, but if not, you did a lot more than most would.

  31. I don't suppose this idiot Lee and his mates live in dagenham? do they, and use my station for very thing illeagle?Cheers Tom

    Station Cleaner

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