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Dry Jan Diary / Arms Length

Much like 99.9% of the population, I indulged until I resembled Jabba the Hutt on a fat day during the festive period and then attempted to abstain from life’s pleasures in the first month of the year. A newcomer to this idea - until now Dry Jan had always been my sarcastic auntie - I decided to chronicle my state of mind.

3 Jan: I’ve finally sobered up after drinking six litres of gin on NYE. The first thing I noticed is that I seem to be living with a housemate. Through my drunken haze I had always assumed it was a damaged sofa in the corner of my living room. Anyway, Paul seems nice.

8 Jan: One week without drinking alcohol. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did this. Even in the womb my mother was practically drip feeding me Special Brew. Added bonus: I’ve stopped crying myself to sleep at night.

14 Jan: A rough day. I’m losing Facebook friends at a rapid rate due to my hourly sobriety status updates. But how else will people know of my plight?

21 Jan: After three weeks of cutting out booze, smoking, drugs, meat, dairy and gluten, it's time to give up the big one - oxygen. Did you know that 65% of the body is oxygen? Cut that out and the weight will come tumbling off.

30 Jan: Waking in A&E, I realised that cutting out oxygen was a terrible idea, though I don’t really understand the science behind it. Good thing Paul was around to drive me to hospital. I’ve spent the last week in bed recovering and received lots of nice gifts from my family. Hold on, is that a bottle of Prosseco?

31 Jan: Ended up in a club in Barnsley with Paul and my Auntie Jan doing tequila shots into our eyes and dancing until 5am last night. I’m giving up writing a diary - it’s taking up too much valuable drinking time.

Advice Arnold


When I was in year 3 and getting changed after a PE lesson, I saw another child from my class putting their arms through the wrong sleeves of their jumper. Because his arms crossed at the chest, it made his hands poke out of the sleeves at the shoulder, like he was a child with hands but no arms.

As I say, I was in year 3, so I wasn’t really aware of the devastating effects of thalidomide, which to this day has cast an incredible amount of shade on small arms humour, and so this was perhaps the only time I was able to innocently indulge in limb absurdism without a sense of moral panic. I copied the other child and bravely thrust my arms through the incorrect cotton pipes. The problem was, my jumper was tighter than his, so once I’d got myself into that position I wasn’t able to remove my arms. My hands, normally a big player in these sorts of situations, were stuck flapping aimlessly at my shoulders.

My teacher refused to believe that I genuinely couldn’t remove my arms from this position, instead believing that my protestations were a ploy to continue my newfound prank. By this time the original small arms dealer had assumed his usual proportions and was pleading ignorance.

In what remains the worst punishment I’ve ever received to date, I was sent to Year 5 in this state. Having to crouch to open doors (the handles were too low for my shoulder-height hands), I had to knock and introduce myself to a class of big kids who were all reading Mrs Doubtfire.

25 minutes later I was free again, replete with fully extendable arms and the newfound calm of someone who knows their most pathetic moment is behind them.

Sean Morley


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