Sunday, 8 August 2010
Letter 3 of 4 (from me to Daniel, aged 12) Yes, that's you at school tomorrow, try and wear another jumper, though I think you only had one, or just don't smile so I can check if it changes on the photo I have here.
Don’t copy that short story from the 'Readers Digest’ and enter it into the school magazine competition. You will feel like a hero at the prize giving but a month later, one of your Teachers, Mr Rayner recognizes it as he reads the magazine. You will bring shame on the whole family for a while, but don't worry, the spotlight is taken off you, when just a week later Heather Wright from 6th form runs off with the Physics Teacher. Woolworths, they all close down! Coronation Street turns out to be the only thing you can rely on to still be there every week! All those photographs you keep taking are well worthwhile because nobody else is recording your childhood, but give the camera to someone else because there won’t be many photos of you. In April you will drop a match into the petrol tank of an old car in the scrap yard, just to hear the humming of the gas as it burns out of the tank, as you often have. You are in for a big shock boy because it explodes, throwing you like a singed rag doll across the yard. Your bones must be made of rubber because none are broken, though your eyebrows and hair are mainly missing and you have a coating of soot all over you. Think of a better excuse when you get home. “I was walking past this car when it exploded,” just doesn’t work.
A couple of years ago, Mum ran out of the house and beat you to the ground before ripping your Indian headdress off, but you still haven’t worked out why. You had searched in the bins for something to play with as we often did. The used sanitary towel, once you had stuck a few feathers on it, may have made you feel like the wounded Sitting Bull as you gained more and more attention. Do you remember running around in circles in the street, making Red Indian calls to the applause of all the other adults? It was a dark day for your mother and she never forgives you!
Stop eating spinach, you hate it and it doesn’t work, Popeye is just make-believe. You look stupid trying to lift trees out of the ground and next doors dog is still not scared of you. A bit like when you were 8, when you wrapped that bath towel around you like a cape, then jumped into the air from the top of the stairs, shouting, “BATMAN!!” Your nose is still bent because it was broken and you won't have it fixed until you are in your mid twenties and it becomes infected after a bad cold. The boy who keeps running out of his house as you are coming home from school, waving his arms and screaming, will not harm you. He is a ‘Spastic’ (though we don't use that word here in the future) so don’t run away and throw stones at him to stop him getting near you; give him a hug and be his friend; he just wants friends. Dad aims an air rifle at you in the back garden when you are 14 and tells you he is going to shoot you in the arse. You will laugh thinking he is joking. He does! It hurts like you have never hurt before, but not as much as it does when he tries to get the pellet out with tweezers and then pours iodine over the wound.
You will be taken to Dr Bradey because you have pains in both eyes and a feeling that there is grit in them. He will find that both your eyes appear to have been burnt in some way and will question you as to your recent activities. Nobody told you not to look at the Sun through a magnifying glass, but I doubt you ever will again. Ask Elizabeth Russell out when you are 16, if you don’t you will regret it always. Carrying that button you stole from her coat in the cloakroom for the rest of your life won’t quite make up for the hurt in your heart. And when you are 14 you will get what is called, ‘an erection’. You won't have a clue what is happening to you but when you wrestle Jane Scrutton to the ground and pin her down during a game of tag, your penis will get larger, much larger! Something happens then which feels great and fills your pants with something you have never seen before. It's cool, get used to it, buy a book or ask Daphne the neighbor across the road for advice. It will get you into a lot of trouble but, on balance, it will be worth it!
You will find a lot of German money behind a loose brick in Aunty Betty’s mansion house in Ireland. Don’t take it to the local bank and try and cash it in, fool! An Irish boy, aged 14, with an English accent trying to exchange German Marks into English Pounds in a small town Irish Bank is just, well, suspicious! Your Aunt knows that the German doctor who owns the house has stashed it there for a ‘rainy day'. The Bank Manager will keep you and your brother talking, but he has already called your Aunt who is on the way to the bank to beat you both up. When you find it, just bury it!
Just one more letter to write to you tomorrow Daniel, before the time tunnel closes forever. Don't eat the salad that Mum gives you tonight, it's why you become phobic about worms!