Epic Fail

In which The Author discovers the meaning of a popular youth idiom

I’d never acknowledged hearing the phrase ‘epic fail’ until I started university last autumn. I’m assuming it’s one of those American terms that’s entered popular discourse via the teen TV audiences. I expect I must have heard it before, but I’m far too old to watch shows like High School Musical and Glee. It had never really registered with me. Some of the girls in my Creative Writing group use it all the time – especially on Facebook.
Now I know what it means…
Following a very difficult psychological period between Christmas and now, I am officially going to fail my first year in epic fashion.
I’ve still got to catch up on the family stuff, but if you’ve been reading this regularly you’ll know that my state of mind hasn’t been good for some time. It’s been getting worse. I haven’t slept properly for over two months. Partly, that’s down to the fact that my depression has returned with a vengeance. It’s also down to the teenage thugs who jumped me in town the evening of the Wales vs France game, leaving me battered and bruised, and with a shoulder injury which still causes me great pain at night.
When you consider that I spent seven years of my life in almost unbelievable pain from a problem in my right shoulder, it’s somewhat ironic that these twats should have helped to fuck up my left shoulder.
As a result of overcompensating for the new injury, I’ve managed to reignite my old problem. I’ve got enough painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication to sink a battleship, along with ibuprofen gel, comfrey oil, and my heat massager, and they are doing nothing to help.
Last Friday was the deadline for an assignment for Theories and Concepts in Psychology. We had to either: a) write up both of our mini-projects, or b) write up one mini-project, and then write a thousand words on Freud’s influence in modern psychology. We were only given the latter option during the last lecture of term. Most people missed it, because they were up to their ears with other work, or had already gone home for Easter. We could only find out the topic by emailing the lecturer.
I tried twice, and am still waiting for an answer. When I emailed the rest of the group, only Siân knew the content. I’m assuming that she used her knowledge of crime scene processing to hide the evidence when she followed Gareth M. to his office and beat the information out of him. Over Easter I had about a dozen emails from the rest of the group, wanting to know more about this previously unannounced alternative.
By then it was too late. I’d already missed the hand-in date for the Psychology in Everyday Life essay because I was bogged down with a death in the family and its aftermath. The Mitigating Circumstances Panel very generously extended my submission date to 7 April – a whole week later. I only found this out two days ago, when their letter came through my door. Fucking great! Doctor, if you’re passing, is there any chance you can drop me off in Treforest at the end of March? I promise not to cross my own timeline…
I quite frankly couldn’t be arsed to go to the catch-up sessions for Criminalistics – especially when I had a funeral to sort out and the snow had fucked half of them up anyway. The Creative Writing and History of English Language assignments might possibly go in this week – just in time to get them capped at 40%. The others won’t count for anything.
I went down to the uni every day last week to try and get some shape on my work, but without any success. I was too tired, too stressed and too depressed to try and concentrate on anything. I went down again today, but came away after a couple of hours. Even on the train before we left Aberdare, I could feel my nerves fraying. Some fat teenager was playing ‘music’ on his phone just in front of me. He was with an adult, but the latter made no attempt to tell the chavvy twat to turn his sounds off. I was trying to read an article in a book.
With a very loud ‘For fuck’s sake,’ I shoved my book back in my bag and headed for the next carriage. Halfway down the aisle I said (also very loudly) ‘I didn’t pay to come into a fucking disco!’
When I got to the library I had a deskload of books and journals for Gill A.’s assignment, but it was no use. I simply couldn’t focus. I felt exactly the same as I did when I fucked up the Crime Scene House exercise, back during the snow. I didn’t even bother to turn up for the Crime Scene Village tutorial. There was no point. Richard P. knows I’ve fucked up the module, and so do I, so why bother even trying?
When I got back to Aberdare I popped in for a pint. I was approached by a pissed-up woman who wanted to talk to me. She reckoned she knew me. I didn’t know her. It turned out that she was the woman whom Andrew F. had been staying with during his absence last year. She wanted to talk to me because I was one of Andrew’s friends.
Fact: Andrew was a pathetic alcoholic who drank himself to death at the age of 46. He wasn’t a really close friend – he was just another of the AAPAA members who’s checked out prematurely over recent years. I wasn’t surprised to find out that she’s a pathetic alcoholic too. I had a pint in front of me. That was all we had in common.
She started crying when I told her I wasn’t in the mood for company. She kept wheedling at me. I told her to piss off. She said I was a nasty, aggressive man. But I’m not – I just wanted to have a quiet pint, and I didn’t want company. Why should I give a fuck about her anyway? I’ve got enough shit to worry about, without taking anyone else’s as well!
If I’m very lucky I might get to repeat my first year. If I do, I wonder if I have to do the same modules. I’d like to change direction and switch to English Language (major) with TESOL (minor) – I met the TESOL lecturer last week and he’s happy to countersign my paperwork in principle. I’m meeting the Eng. Lang. tutor tomorrow to discuss the change. Before that, I’ve got an appointment to see one of the student counsellors. It’s my second appointment – the first was just before the funeral, where I didn’t go into too much detail. Tomorrow I think I’m going to have to let rip.
After that, I’ll call in and see my course tutor, and let her know the state of play. Then I’ll have to ring RCT and find out what happens funding-wise when someone repeats a year. Watch this space …

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