Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 11 June 2015
Growing up in the 1950s
Hiding in amongst the Summer bracken, sitting on soft, sandy, acidic soil, keeping one eye out for adders and the other for discarded copies of 'Health and Efficiency' magazine.
The lies our fathers told us could be placed in a scale of wickedness, depending on our parent's sense of humour and how prepared they wanted us to be when we entered the outside world for the first time.
I had friends who passed on information concerning the orientation of Oriental women's reproductive organs as if it were biological fact. Who knows the motive for this? Could it be that the father wanted his son to experience as much of the world as he could before becoming as entrapped and confined as himself, or could it be that this was the only way he could tell a ridiculous joke about sliding down bannisters in a way that the boy would find funny? Either way, the boy fell at the first hurdle and it would take years to forget the logic and laugh.
I still know grown adults who believe that Gulls inland were blown off-course by a storm out to sea, no matter how many times they have seen them rip up bin-liners in city centres.
The only risque joke I ever remember my father telling me:
Two Catholic priests are walking down the street when they see a Rabbi trip up and fall over. When the Rabbi gets to his feet, they see him make the sign of the cross with his right hand, so go over to ask him why he did it.
"I was just checking," says the Rabbi, "Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch."
The gulf between children and parents was massive in those days, and often persisted right into adulthood. Was that a bad thing?
I remember a girl whose mother couldn't stand the idea of being a grandmother, and so treated her own daughter more like a sister, insisting that her girl called her by her first name. She didn't want to age, you see.
"I don't want you as a friend," her daughter would say, "I want you as a mother."