Day ? of the Boozeless Xmas

So, here I am on day 18, or maybe it’s day 19.  Sunday 2nd to Thursday 20th – what’s that?  [Counts on his fingers] 19 days sober.  Go me.  Well except I’m not going very far, very quickly.  Why’s that Chris?  I’ll explain…

On Monday, I awoke after a mere five hours of sleep.  I had a guest staying in my spare room who clattered into the flat, drunk, on Sunday night, and having woken me up, I struggled to get back to sleep.  At 6am I cut my losses and went for a run on the beach.  Despite my lack of Zzz’s I was buzzing with energy, and after comfortably running 3.5 lengths of the kilometre long sand, I enjoyed a dip in the cool ocean as sun rose into the sky.  I even finished with a bit of a sprint before heading back home to prepare for a day at the office.  I felt on top of the world, albeit down under.

This is what I have learnt repeatedly about life, that when things seem to be going well, enjoy it, folks, be grateful and bask in the glory of good fortune, because it’s only a matter of time before something comes along to derail that train of comfort.  I didn’t have to wait long for the proverbial kick to balls.  About twelve hours in this instance.

On Monday night I played tennis with a mate after work.  It was hot on Monday, really fucking hot.  And humid.  I felt knackered as we hit the ball back and forth.  The combination of a lack of sleep, early morning cardio, a full day in the office, and the temperature conditions had sapped my energy.  Thirty minutes into the game, as I reached for a backhand, my left foot planted, my leg carried on.  The result was a snapping sound I’ve heard a few times before in that ankle, accompanied by a crunch, which I’ve not heard before.  As I slumped to the ground with a wail of anguish, the familiar pain of a sprained ligament washed over me.  I cried a bit as I dug my forehead into the surface of the tennis court, my hand holding my damaged foot.  The pain was bad, the emotion of frustration was worse.

I wrecked this same ankle two years ago playing football, it took a full year to recover normal function.  I didn’t play football for a year.  Running on the sand was painful for a long time, swimming in the ocean was unsafe in the presence of strong currents, certain yoga moves that involved bending the foot were off limits.  Long story short – it was a pain in the arse.  So to be told in A&E that I’d done the ligament, and also pulled a slither of bone off the outside of the fibula was dismaying to say the least.

Sure, it’s frustrating.  Sure, it’s inconvenient.  But, here’s the thing: whilst I may be physically injured – mentally, I’m totally fine.  This is just part of life.  Yes, it’s going to be a pain to get the health back in that limb, but I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again.  Yes, it’s going to be a hindrance on my driving and hiking holiday in New Zealand in 8 days time, but I’m going to be seeing an amazing country and spending time with the bundle of fun that is my little sister.  There is nothing worth complaining about.  This is what the stoics are talking about.  They’re on to something.

I’ve whined on about this a bit here, but I’m not looking for any sympathy.  I have no use for it, it’s only an ankle injury after all, but the point ties back to the alcohol thing.  The last 19 days without it have been a breeze, I haven’t missed it in the slightest.  If anything it’s made me realise how great life can be, with or without it.  I spent the last two days at home doing very little but reading, watching TV and eating healthy food, in an attempt to speed up my recovery.  Robbed of human interaction and physical exercise – the two things that make me tick the absolute most, I came to the realisation that I could be pretty content doing little to nothing, sat on my balcony eating hard boiled eggs, smothered in turmeric.

I say all that, but I woke up this morning and had had enough of my own company.  I dusted off the crutches and headed into work.  Need me some people.  Plus I’d run out of dark chocolate.

As we approach the most festive period of the festive period, please take time to rest yourselves.  When we don’t prioritise rest, we make mistakes, and we get hurt, physically and mentally.  Our society places so much emphasis on the ‘get up and go‘ mentality.  The opposite is just as important, but so often overlooked.  Now is the time to put your feet up (if you can).  Do not let Christmas burn you out.

Merry Christmas everyone x

#BoozelessChristmasPledge Day 3-4

The titles of these posts are somewhat misleading, technically this is day 8 and 9, in the sense that it has been that long since I consumed any alcohol.  It’s day 3 & 4 since I made a solemn pledge to give it up until Christmas.  In hindsight I should have just kicked it off on December 1st and gone from there.  Would have been a lot simpler in an arithmetic sense.  You live and learn.

My colleague stormed into the office this morning and demanded to know why I hadn’t blogged yesterday, when I said I would blog every day.  I apologise profusely.  Sunday got away from me and when I finally sat down with the laptop, I was more inclined to sleep than type.  Be assured however, blog or not, Sober Sunday was definitely a thing.

My brain still does not seem to be fully functioning properly, but my is improving.  Yesterday I got up and did a 7.30am yoga class – yep, 7.30am on a Sunday.  I woke up ‘sans’ headache in my temples, first time in over a week.  Brucey Bonus.  Following yoga I went for a coffee and a chat about life with a mate.  Whilst in Zimbabwe,  she had met a couple from Perth who lived and worked over there as rhino poaching prevention soldiers – widely regarded as one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.  I thought that level of self-sacrifice was pretty incredible, and strengthened in me the desire to do some good for someone or something other than myself.

Then I got home and did something strange.  I did three things which I have been putting off for months.  I pulled TV unit away from the wall and swept up all the old cockroach poison, and with it, the dead cockroaches.  I’ve known they were there for months, but haven’t had the get up and go to do anything about it.  Inspired by my progress I decided to go down to the garage and put together a shelfing unit I’ve had sat in parts since I moved home 15 months ago.  Then I swept the garage floor, well, just because.  And then, sat on a dusty shelf, I noticed my old bedroom window blind which I had taken down ages ago, because it had a load of mould on it.  I’ve been sleeping without window blinds for almost a year.  God knows how many times the people in the apartment opposite must have seen my todger.  Probably the same amount of times the streetlight across the road has disturbed my sleep.

I thought to myself, “I’m a roll here“, so I grabbed it from the shelf, took it upstairs to the flat, laid it out and scrubbed that blind back to nearly new perfection.  God it felt good to have a properly dark bedroom last night.

So this has been a blog about me doing chores. How fun for you.  I intended to write about shared adversity leading to strong human connection, but life doesn’t always pan out the way you intend.  The moral of this story is, that if I clear my mind, and my body, I’m more likely to get shit done.  Herein endeth the lesson.

Hope you all have a cracking Monday out there 🙂

Footnote: it’s day 4 of the ‘pledge’ as I write this.  I woke up at 6am and went for a run on the beach and had a dip in the ocean before walking half the journey to work.  By the time I sat down at my desk I had walked/run 9,000 steps and felt great.  I’m excited to start more days in this fashion.  Tonight I plan to walk the 9km journey home and stop at the gym along the way.  Monday’s arse is getting kicked back in touch.

Xtra Footnote:  Do you ever lie awake at night worrying you’re going to miss one of these posts? Bored of Facebook and Instagram? Well, I have the answer – you can subscribe to the blog to have it delivered to your email.   Navigate to the homepage – link here – scroll to the bottom, enter your email and you’ll get no spam, just a tidy little notification from WordPress when a new piece of mine is available to read. 

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#BoozelessChristmasPledge Day 2

In my last post I made a big song and dance about a number of topics, but namely, my microbiome, and my current battle to improve it.  The end result of that lengthy diatribe, was my committment to eat a high quality diet, and not drink until Christmas.  I realise that if I drink alcohol on Christmas day it kinda ruins the catchy hashtag title of this piece, but #BoozelessXmasBuildupPledge just doesn’t quite have the same impact.  Who knows, maybe I won’t drink at Christmas.  However, my sister has informed me that she would be very disappointed if I didn’t sink some Pinot Noir with her whilst we roadtrip from Auckland to Queenstown over New Year, and I’m inclined to agree.  I’d be disappointed too.

So what’s the point?  Well it’s a bit of a test, see how I go over these three weeks – will my sleep, energy, mood, etc. improve?  Today is day 7.  The last alcoholic beverage I consumed was last Saturday night – it was a glass of something red at a Christmas party.  Had I have known it was going to be the last one for a few weeks, I would have likely savoured it a bit more.

Last night was Friday night.  I was at a poker game that me and some buddies hold every couple of months.  The perfect opportunity to break my sobriety pledge, on the very same day I made said pledge.  Did I cave?  A bottle of red wine was wafted under my nose at the start of the evening, and I was instantly, albeit slightly, tempted to say “fuck it, give me a glass, it’s been a long week”.  I held firm.  All night.  I made it to day 7 unscathed.

This morning I woke up without a hangover.  Still had the temple headache, and had only slept for 5 hours, but, and this is important, I was without hangover.  At 6.30am I received a text from a friend, lets call him Alan (he’s not called Alan, lol, he’s going to love that I called him Alan. ALAN!).  Alan was suggesting a swim and a sauna at the ocean-fed pool at the end of my road.  So I hauled myself out of bed and did exactly that.

Five hours of sleep or not, there is nothing like sitting in a Finnish sauna for 10 minutes then jumping into icy, salty water to blow away the cobwebs.  It’s a disgrace really, I have this amazing facility at the end of my road, it costs slightly more than a coffee to use it, and yet I’ve used it once in the past year.  Pre-Xmas sobriety pledge #2 – go at least twice a week..

So I said I would blog every day for the next 3 weeks, so here’s my stab at gaining some momentum to make that happen.  Persistence is the key to success after all, not genius.  I will quickly add that writing on a daily basis, when there is a shit load of other stuff going, will mean these posts will likely be shorter than, well, my usual posts.

So how did I find attending a boys’ poker night and not drinking?  I didn’t find it did anything particularly positive for my poker skill, but it certainly didn’t infringe on my ability to have fun.  I felt relaxed through the evening, and enjoyed it no less than had I been sinking something (or 6 somethings) with an ABV%.

Today has been great, I’ve had good energy, my mind felt pretty clear, no lows, but not any really big highs either.  Perhaps this is the way live is meant to be lived.  Maybe we have been conditioned to expect really big highs, and accept the really big lows as a matter of consequence.  As a result, do we feel discontent when life meanders at a slower, gentler, less hilly pace.   Maybe I’m just getting old.

What has struck me today, is that life without alcohol is, at least in the short term, more isolated.  I have seen friends today for a couple of hours here or there, but for the most part I’ve been on my own.  This hasn’t troubled me, whereas in the past, before I moved to Australia, I would have been climbing the walls.  Being single, living in another country on the other side of the world, and not being a total boozehound – it kind of forces you to learn how to be okay in your own company.  Let me tell you though, it’s taken some time to get to this place.

I don’t consider myself an alcoholic in the traditional sense of the word, but here I am attempting to cut alcohol out of my life for the purposes of physical and emotional health.  If nothing else, I have something in common there with the alcoholics.  After reaching this realisation, I decided to do some research on what Alcoholics Anonymous actually is, and whether it was an appropriate group for someone who does not have a fierce dependency on alcohol to join.  I found this:

What I need are people. Connection. Community. And, that’s way more important than booze. So what if I’m not an alcoholic. The only requirement for membership is a desire to not drink. That’s it. Nothing more. There’s always a seat for you. Honestly, I wish more people would check it out. It’d be cool not to be the only weirdo who goes to AA meetings for fun.

Link to article here

“A desire to not drink”

I’ve ticked that box, at least temporarily.  Except it’s not really temporarily, I’ve had some discomfort with my relationship with alcohol for a good few years now.

“someone who does not have a fierce dependency on alcohol”

Interesting words from me there – does the dependency have to be ‘fierce’ in order for it to be considered a problem?

As I sit here on my own on a Saturday night, typing into WordPress, I wonder if I have used alcohol throughout my life to form friendship bonds.  I don’t wonder for long, because I quickly know that the answer is yes.  Fortunately, I know that a large part of the bonding with the people whom I would call my close friends, has also been conducted sober.  Did alcohol provide the introduction, and lubricate the process?  Undoubtedly so in some cases.

If I flip this question around – what other means have I used to create bonds with people?

It is a common held view that the thing that bonds us together more tightly than anything is shared adversity.  i.e. the bonds created between servicemen and women fighting a common enemy – think of the Brits and its allies fighting the Nazis.  Or the Jews taken from their homes and packed off in trains to unbearably horrific places by those same Nazis.  Those people created friendships and support networks in double quick time.

I could be headed down a rabbit hole here, so I’ll pause, and come back to it tomorrow, on day 3.  End of Day 2 stream of consciousness.  Hope some of you are enjoying wild Saturday nights out there, have one for me.






Christmas Sobriety – A Pledge

He pulled himself from bed and set about finding some clothes to run in.  In the bottom drawer of the secondhand IKEA set he’d bought from an emigrating neighbour, he found a pair of cheap blue running shorts purchased from H&M years ago.  The shorts were then partnered with a faded red t-shirt that sported several small holes around the label stitching on the back – it should have been consigned to the bin many washes ago.  He smiled to himself, the old shirt had one last run of glory in it.  He pulled on his worn out Nike trainers, slid his phone into the sports armband around his left bicep, and placed the expensive Bluetooth headphones around his neck.  His attire was cheap, his wearable tech was not.

I originally wrote this in the first person, then I set about changing all the ‘I’s to ‘He’s, and all of a sudden it started to sound less like a blog and more like a novel.  I think I’d quite like to write a novel, just need to find the time and discipline to learn how…. easier said than done.

Today was a tough day.  I didn’t enjoy today.  That is, until tonight, most of which has been spent writing.  I woke up early, with a headache, as I do most days.  I tried to get back to sleep, but I know when I wake up with THAT headache, the one that sits just behind my temples, that it is going to be a futile attempt – my sleep for the night is done, even if it’s only been four hours.  This morning I woke up after 6 hours, that’s a good night for me.  Anyone who has suffered with chronic insomnia will know what I mean – when I say that six hours of nearly unbroken sleep is a glorious blessing.  So I pulled myself out of bed, got dressed (see above) and went for a run on the beach.

Given we have now ticked over into summer in Sydney, it was surprisingly cool by the water, and rain was threatening. As I ran along the sand by the water’s edge, I had no energy in my legs. It was rather frustrating.  On a good day I can run five lengths of the kilometer long beach, at good speed, and still have something in the tank.  Today I managed two lengths, at a snail’s pace.  If you’ve read some of my recent posts, I’d forgive you for thinking that I was probably hungover.  I wasn’t.  I haven’t had a drink in five days.  The night before I had been to a relaxing yin yoga class, had a mug of peppermint tea, and gone to bed at a reasonable hour.  Problem was, I wasn’t relaxed.  Why wasn’t I relaxed?  I’d eaten a few too many potatoes at lunch and it had given me the jitters.

I appreciate how mental this will sound, but when your gut health is in a mess, something as simple and harmless as chomping down a bit too much starch can cause a hangover.  A potato hangover – fucking ridiculous.  Last year I used to spend most mornings racked with anxiety that I couldn’t explain.  Last year I also used to eat a ton of sushi.  Main ingredient in sushi?  Cooled white rice – pure starch.  Bear with me, I am getting to a point.  The point is that the abundance of potato in yesterday’s diet resulted in a messed up human today.

Don’t worry, I’m getting to the pledge bit.

(Scroll to the bottom if you’re not interested in the science/diet stuff)

I find this shit interesting (and irritating) AF these days, Recently I had my gut bacteria DNA sequenced to find out what species make up my microbiome.  My results came back showing that a whopping 47% of all the bacteria inside my large intestine are of the strain, Prevotella Copri (PC).   It is now a well established fact that the intestinal microbiota shapes the immune system and modulates homeostasis in healthy individuals, or promotes inflammation when ‘dysbiosis’ occurs (dysbiosis is when your gut bacteria are out of whack – i.e. people with IBS typically have dysbiosis).  If you have dysbiosis it means your immune system is not functioning properly (your immune system is mainly housed in the gut), and homeostasis (all bodily systems being in balance) is not possible.  Hence the headaches, hence the insomnia, hence the fatigue.  Hence the occasional anxiety.

This is why I have written in the past, and so vehemently campaign (whenever some poor sod will listen) against Caesarean section birth (when it can be avoided – yes I know that quite often it cannot be avoided). However, the science is now clear: a C-section greatly increases your child’s chance of suffering dysbiosis. Caesarean babies are far more likely to suffer with asthma, colic, allergies and autoimmune diseases. It’s why I also think formula milk can be a problem. Yes it nourishes the baby, no it does not nourish the baby’s embryonic microbiome in the same way as human breast milk. We should not be so naive to think that the food scientists over at Nestlé have managed to trump nature.

I was a caesarean baby, but fortunately I was breastfed. Doing this gut bug DNA test is eye-opening, and great – because now I know what the problem is, or at least part of the problem.  And why I struggle when I eat carbohydrate-heavy foods.  Overgrowth of this particular species is linked heavily to rheumatoid arthritis.  When I eat a bit more than a little sugar I get back pains, same thing with alcohol – could they be linked – quite possibly.  Anyway, PC in large numbers is linked to bodily inflammation – I speculate that the headaches and insomnia are a result of inflammation, so I now theorise that if I stop feeding the PC what it likes, then hopefully its population numbers will fall, and other helpful bacteria will flourish.  In the process, hopefully returning my gut, and then my body to homeostasis.  Very exciting.

I know what you’re thinking… I’m clearly in the wrong job.

(Re-join – Science Haters)

So, what’s this got to do with a pledge?  Well, I sat on the balcony tonight with my mate from across the road, he was merrily drunk following a work Christmas party.  I was chilled after a mint tea and an hour of reading my current book.  We chatted, he asked how my day was, I was honest and said it was shit because I had a potato hangover.  My mate, let’s call him Simon (he’s not called Simon) challenged me to follow the anti-PC diet until Christmas, a proper test, no cheating.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

There is no such thing as the anti-Prevotella Copri diet, so I’m going to make one up.  I know that it likes to eat resistant starch, and protein.  This means, minimal sugar (i.e. less than 5g a day), no fruit, minimal starches (carrots, grains, potatoes, beans and legumes), no sugary alcohol (sobs out loud), and reducing my protein intake (sobs even louder).  Hello ketogenic diet.

So that’s the challenge, I consume the below:

  • Lots of vegetables (mostly those grown above ground)
  • Some fatty meat cuts like ribeye, and ribs, fatty fish like mackerel
  • Lots of fat (animal, olive, butter, coconut)
  • Yoghurt (but nothing with added sugars)
  • Very dark chocolate
  • Nuts and seeds

I can do this diet, that’s almost my diet already.  It’s the booze, in the lead up to Christmas, that is the real challenge – who in their right mind gives up booze before Christmas?

Me.  Chris Vaughn.  The man who is fed up of waking up with headaches.

The challenge is to stay booze-free until 24th December – and blog about it daily to keep me honest, until the obligatory sherry on Christmas Eve.  Festive Tidings to you all, you lovely, happy drunks.

(I’m not jealous, honest)

Footnote:  Do you ever lie awake at night worrying you’re going to miss one of these posts? Bored of Facebook and Instagram? Well, I have the answer – you can subscribe to the blog to have it delivered to your email.   Navigate to the homepage – link here – scroll to the bottom, enter your email and you’ll get no spam, just a tidy little notification from WordPress when a new piece of mine is available to read. 

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What’s In A Name?



  1. Surname of West Country origin (UK)
  2. The name Smale was derived from the Old English word “smael” and the Middle English word “smel” which both mean “small, slender, thin”
  3. Surname handed down to myself, my sisters, and numerous cousins on my Dad’s side
  4. Implement of ridicule throughout my teenage years, and occasionally as an adult

Synonyms: Smalo, Smaley, Schmalo, Schmaley, Smeghead, Smale Dawg Millionaire, The Dawg, Indiana Smalos Jones, Indie, Sim, Simdog, Smmmmaaaaleeee, Smeagol

They’re funny old things, names.  In the Anglicised world, we’re allocated a surname by default; our parents also pick a first, and if we’re lucky, middle name for us.  And that’s it, that is now your name for the entirety of existence.  Unless you decide to change it to ‘Luke Skywalker’, or ‘Gollum’, by deed-poll, or you get married and take your partner’s family name.  Some lucky folk, like my good friend, Nick Carter (not of Backstreet Boy fame), got given two middle names.  He really lucked out with that nice conventional surname too.  Others have parents who can’t decide on one surname, so double barrel their two family names together, essentially winding up with two surnames.  To me that sounds pointless – that’s unnecessary extra syllables, and extra typing and writing when filling out forms.

Going off topic here slightly, but I fucking hate filling out forms.  I think as a child you see the filling out of forms as a sign of your increasing importance in the world – “hey look at me go, I’m a big deal now, I’m filling out forms, Woooo, GO ME!”.  One may call this the ‘filling in forms validates me‘ era.  In my later teenage years, whilst I no longer took pride in filling out forms, it marked the start of the ‘quiet acceptance of form filling as a necessary part of adult life‘ era.  Not a big deal.  Now, sat here today, I am in the era of ‘forms are fucking bullshit, fuck you forms, fuck you and your petty demands that I use fucking black ink within the confines of your stupid little black boxes‘.  This latest era makes me grateful for my five letter surname.

If you are parents and considering giving your child a double-barrelled surname;  I would recommend not being fuckwits.  Do your child a favour and make a bloody decision – pick one.  Think of all the time wastage and angst you’re creating for them in the future.  Also, double barrelled surnames sound wanky AF.  Let’s refer back to my mate, Nick Carter.  Imagine if he was called Nicholas Carter-Smythe.  Nick Carter = cool.  Nick Carter-Smythe = wanker.  Some people triple barrel surnames. These people should be shot.  Nicholas Carter-Smythe-Forsyth.  If this person was to introduce themselves to me I would judge their parents for being indecisive fools, and I’d judge the person in front of me for not being proactive and ditching at least one of those wholly unnecessary names.

This leads me very nicely to the topic of this blog: You know what I dislike more than double-barrelled surnames, and pathetic little black boxes on forms?  My surname.

There is something about the surname ‘Smale‘ which has, throughout my life, led people to call me by it.  Look, I get it, this is common place, kids call each other by their surnames all the time, but I still get this as an adult.  I make friends with someone new, and within three hours they have somehow found out my surname is ‘Smale‘ and have decided that ‘Chris‘ does not fit my face.  Instead, I shall forever be known to them as ‘Smale‘.  Now, this would be fine if my name was a nice normal name like Carter, or Young, or Kennedy (shout out to my boys back home with solid surnames names), but ‘Smale‘ is a name which sounds like ‘small’, or ‘smell’, or ‘smeagol’.  None of these are good associations as far as I’m concerned.  If they have decided that ‘Chris‘ does not fit my face, but ‘Smale‘ does – I don’t particularly like what that says about my face.

I have a name-related traumatic memory from school, aged 17 I believe.  The entire school, all 720 boys were stood on a temporary metal structure for an all-school photograph.  We stood, impatiently waiting for the photographer to line up the entire school (an unenviable task if ever I heard one – imagine that, trying to get 720 young lads to not fuck about and wreck a photo).  As the photographer went about his work, a horrible sewage smell wafted across the playing field.  Someone from my form group shouted out “Smmmmmaaaaaalllllllllllllllllle”, as if to blame the repugnant aroma on me.  Now, to be fair, my farts as a teenager were rank, fuelled by a diet of McDonalds, pizza, fish ‘n’ chips, and cheap beer, but they were by no means worse than those of my counterparts.  Anyway, the first blaming call of “Smmmmmaaaaaalllllllllllllllllle” was met by a chorus of other shouts of “Smmmmmaaaaaalllllllllllllllllle”.  Before you know, 720 boys are shouting “Smmmmmaaaaaalllllllllllllllllle”.  It was funny.  It was also pretty mortifying.  I wasn’t the most confident seventeen year old on the planet.

What was the point of this post?  Oh yeah, my surname.  Here’s another anecdote that may help explain my discomfort with it:  When I was in my early twenties I went on a date with a girl who I fancied like mad.  I stalked the shit out of her on Facebook, always a sign you’re into it.  Anyway, half way through the dinner, I remember very clearly, her asking if I’d consider changing my surname.  She had quite a nice surname, I told her I’d happily take hers if we got that far.  (Here’s a tip, lads, never do that on a first date, or any date for that matter).  The impact of her asking that question, is that I have always assumed that women will find my surname loathsome.  I geddit.  I’m always surprised when people say Smale “isn’t that bad”.

One last gripe about my surname.  It starts with an S.  “Say what?” I hear you ask.  Well, my parents, in their infinite wisdom, christened me ‘Christopher’.  Christopher Smale.  No problem there.  Rolls off the tongue easily enough if you can successfully navigate the ‘Smale’ part (nb. it’s male, with a ‘s’ on the front, contrary to my life’s evidence, it’s not that difficult).  EXCEPT ‘Christopher’ invariably gets shortened to ‘Chris’.  Herein lies the problem: ‘Chris’ ends with an ‘s’.  So my first name ends with the same letter as my surname starts with.  Say them out loud and they sound like a Jewish holiday…

“Happy Chrismale”

So when I say my name on the phone, or in meetings – you know, like multiple times a day – I have to take a breath and add an extra long pause between first name and surname to ensure the people listening don’t confuse me for a Jewish holiday.  And so I die inside, and in turn, hate my surname just a little bit more.  I’ve genuinely considered requesting that people call me ‘Christopher’ instead of ‘Chris’ to avoid this problem.  However, I prefer Chris to Christopher (it’s less effort when filling forms).  I can’t win.

Or can I?

I have had a potential alternative surname in my head for a good decade now.  It came up as an option during a drunken night out in London Bridge with some work buddies.  Everyone agreed this name was far better than Smale.  That it sounded powerful, and assertive, and well, just better.  One or two people started to call me by that name after that night.  I loved it.  I loved the sound of it.  I felt like I was home with that name.  It was as if I had been wearing a salmon pink overcoat that didn’t suit my fair complexion, only to then be handed a dashing navy overcoat, that made me feel like a million dollars when I tried it on.

I put on that navy overcoat, and then had to endure the torture of being made to take it off, and put the ghastly salmon pink one back on instead.  The navy one is in the wardrobe, I can see it, I can touch it, I can even try it on occasionally at home, but I can never wear it out.

And what is that name?


Yes.  Like Vince.

Except it’s not Vince.  It’s Chris.  Chris ‘fucking’ Vaughn.  Oh what I could become with that surname.


Footnote:  Do you ever lie awake at night worrying you’re going to miss one of these posts? Bored of Facebook and Instagram? Well, I have the answer – you can subscribe to the blog to have it delivered to your email.   Navigate to the homepage – link here – scroll to the bottom, enter your email and you’ll get no spam, just a tidy little notification from WordPress when a new piece of mine is available to read. 

I’d absolutely love it if you did this. I need registered followers if the site is to grow. Pretty please x