“What did you want to be when you grew up?”
I don’t like that question. Before jamming the questioner’s comment box with elaborate musings I retreated – like the good dog I wish I were – to my own corner.
If I listed every single thing that took my fancy between the age of three and twenty I’d exceed my usual word count. Here is a taster: I never wanted to be a hairdresser. Mainly because I am not male. But, living with my grandparents and their younger sons drifting in and out, I’d pleat one of my uncles’ hair on his return home from what must have been a job to knacker anyone into submission. Yes, little red ribbons. Even my grandfather didn’t bat an eyelid at his youngest son’s beauty.
Then I became a teacher. This was a few years on – after I was BLESSED with siblings. I loved teaching them all sorts of things, long before they were ready. Like reading, writing and arithmetic. My mother thought me a natural. In hindsight I think I saved her a fortune in after school tuition.
Never waste time on siblings. Stay an only. Only joking. And in very bad taste.
Then there was a gap when I enjoyed life unencumbered by thought of the future. Until one day I came home with tears in my eyes. My father, uncharacteristically moved by my plight, asked me what was the matter. Some guys had whistled at me as I was passing. I was thirteen. Thirteen. My father laughed. And told me I’d better get used to it. You can’t beat my parents when it comes to compassion. My mother at the same time telling me (she was only concerned about my spine): “Chest out, back straight.” Thus I vowed to become a nun.
At eighteen I was spoilt for choice. Rather than being a ravishing nun tending to the cloister’s kitchen garden in silence I changed sides. Like Churchill crossing the corridor. Priest. Vicar. Whatever. Study theology. Be paid to talk and be listened to, even gawped at. Handicap being that whilst I adore Jesus, the man, I am not the corporate type. Next logical step: Politician. Is there more beauty to be found than in the starry, wide and dark brown eyed youngster who thinks she can change the world for the better and evade being corrupted? There isn’t.
And then … I had to earn money. Quickly. And I did. Lots of it. Indiscriminately.
And never shall you make more impact on the ground below than falling from a great height.