Wednesday, 10 December 2014

If Looks Could Kill I'd be Dead by Now

When I was thirteen years old and I had the house to myself I would often rummage around the back of my brother's cupboard looking to see if he'd added to his collection of FHM magazines.  On one particular occasion while searching the 'top-shelf' of the cupboard I stopped suddenly in my tracks struck by a moment of pure clarity and inspiration.  As I returned the 'pop edition' of the magazine back into the far reaches of the cupboard I was overcome by a desire far greater than Rachel from S-Club 7, a desire to take everything in my brother's room and place it inside the cupboard.

I set about taking the sheets off his bed, removing pillows from pillow cases, CD's from CD cases, clothes from the drawers, the television from the wall, the 'super-woofer' stereo with three disc changer, the stressed out Pepsi bottle, the bedside lamp, the curtains from the window, the posters and pictures on the walls, the mirror, beanbag, even his swivel chair, everything from golf clubs to underpants I shoved into the cupboard until is was like a coiled spring waiting to expel it's bulging content of utter shite and tat.

That was when the devastating reality of what I had done hit me.  It was only weeks earlier I had a similar stroke of inspiration involving my brother.  While he was contently watching the Really Wild Show in the living room I planned a quite cunning and clandestine attack on him, I waited on the other side of the living room door - coincidentally, in much the same manor a predator may patiently stalk their prey - and waited for him to vacate the room.  When he eventually did so I smashed him over the back with the bamboo pot stand we kept in our hall.

It was a beautiful moment, he was completely unsuspecting.  When I whacked him over the back with the bamboo stand I even managed to break it - the pot stand that is, not his back. While I lauded over my brother I  suddenly became very aware of the imminent retribution he was about to seek.

Instinctively I made for the back door, making it just in time to lock myself out and more importantly him in.  For hours I sat on the back door step waiting on mum to return from work while my brother stewed inside working himself into a state of frenzy.  So eager was he for revenge at one point he even made an awfully transparent attempt at diplomacy.

Of course the fallout from both of these incidents was pretty brutal.  The first was a simple beating, the second was a beating combined with me actually being made by my brother to move all of my own worldly possessions into my cupboard.

That's the beauty of thinking like a thirteen year old boy, the means justifies the end.  It's a wonderfully reckless way of thinking.  At no stage during my plant pot attack, or shoving everything into my brother's cupboard, did I consider the potential ramifications until it was either too late or I was too committed.  It was thinking in this way that led to oven glove boxing matches, washing machine football, chop fights, and the freestyle harmonies and rap styling's of 'Bob Oxygen featuring Dr Pete Zelenzy' a duo that consisted of me and my mate Billy. Our first, and to date only, album was entitled...

He was on a desert island because no one wanted to speak to him - on account of his buggering stupid name.
Billy - Bob Oxygen - and I had loads of hits, and 'The Man With the Buggering Stupid Name' went platinum in Dingwall.  It contained bangers such as 'Dog in the Mist', 'Cheese', and 'Everybody in the House is Gay', but by far our most popular hit was 'George' a song about being accosted by George Michael while defecating.
I'm not sure what my parents thought, I imagine it was quite disconcerting having a thirteen year old rapping about being approached by George Michael on the toilet.  It must have been tough for them at that time as my brother and I were regularly launching assaults on each other.  My attacks were far from unprovoked however, that f**ker had it coming, for years he had been excelling in being a wee dick.
There was one Easter our parents took us to Wynn Park in Inverness which is a fecking great park with a rope climbing frame, rowing-boats, and one of those wee trains I can never remember ever being small enough to actually ride.   After a thoroughly enjoyable day at the park the time came for us to roll our eggs - when I've mentioned this to people in the past they have often furrowed their brow and looked at me as if I was describing some kind of pagan or masonic ritual, I genuinely thought egg-rolling was pretty common practice but if you're unaware I'll explain, egg-rolling is when you hard-boil an egg, decorate it, and roll it down a hill until it breaks, we did this every Easter when we were kids.  Wynn Park has the perfect hill for egg-rolling. My parents positioned themselves at the bottom of the hill ready with the camera, and as my brother and I ascended he turned to me with a suggested alternative to rolling our eggs.
Our parents were, on the whole, pretty good at dealing with situations such as this.  One of my mum's specialities was to give you enough rope to hang yourself with.  It was a battle of wills and a battle of minds that more often than not landed me in double the amount of shit I had bargained for.  There were many a school day I would return home to be greeted by my mum asking a familiar question.
I'd be left to take a stab in the dark and opt for the misdemeanour I felt she had the most chance of knowing about.
Far more effective than this however was my mum's, 'you're in serious shit when you get home' stare.  This simple look would leave me paralytic with fear; to this day it sends a shiver down my spine.  The stare was usually dished out when we were visiting granny and granda and my brother or I inadvertently disclosed something we weren't meant to, rendering the rest of the visit a terrifying countdown to the unavoidable shit-storm that awaited us on the car journey home.  Often my mum would make bizarre threats of things not to mention to my grandparents before we visited them.  One such threat I remember was not to announce to everyone in the room when I farted.  I don't ever remember publically announcing flatulence, and it certainly never occurred to me when visiting my grandparents to say...
What my mum had actually done was offer up a great big fart carrot.  The fact I had been forewarned not to tell my grandparents when I passed gas meant the urge to do so was almost unbearable.  This kind of admonishment was consistent with my mum's thinking.  Prior to visiting my grandparents she would have been going through a list of scenarios, visualising the sort of thing I was likely to say or do and felt compelled to pre-warn me against something I had no conscious knowledge of, or desire to do.  My poor wee granny passed away never knowing the exact time and dates of my farts - except for when she smelled them of course.

Dad relied on a more traditional/old school means of discipline.  He didn't have a stare but what he did have was an itchy hand.  The 'itchy hand' was a simple pre-cursor to a spanking.  If my brother or I were f*cking about to such an extent it warranted a spanking Dad would fire the 'itchy hand' warning shot.  There was one dinner time where my brother was, as usual, excelling in being a wee dick, and so my dad offered him the appropriate warning.

It's difficult to get across just how brave a move this was, even harder to portray the state of absolute bewilderment we were all in.  There was a solid five seconds of palpable silence in which all of us waited on dad's reaction to my brother's boldness, and by extension his fate.  When he started laughing, my brother knew he had been to the edge and back.  It is the most dam impressive thing I have ever seen in my life.

Between mum's stare, and dad's itchy hand, the two of them could be really quite a formidable and intimidating duo.  Of course that never stopped us from lobbing eggs at them though.

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