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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Memory lane. Where angels fear to tread

I only went out for a packet of crisps.
Reminiscent of that scene in one of the Lethal Weapon movies where Mel Gibson compares battle scars, I had a similar conversation with a mate recently.
One of the things that it threw up, apart from us both being hard bastards, was that my own son has had a relatively unscathed life. Hopefully that continues, but it would appear that the days are gone when young boys picked up broken bones, stitches and lumps and bumps on a regular basis.

Initially I wasn't sure why this is. Maybe they're not as adventurous as we were, or as parents we coddle them too much. Or as I finally realized……….our parents didn't bloody care what we were up to.
You've all heard it. "It's not long ago that the kids could go out in the morning and we wouldn't see them until after tea-time" or " I never knew where he was, but I knew he was safe".


We were swinging across rivers, jumping off garage roofs, falling out of trees, shooting at each other with Diana air pistols and trying to jump rivers on Choppers that weighed close on a tonne. 
They were also about as aerodynamic as the proverbial brick.
We weren't safe. We weren't safe at all.
We were totally unsupervised and when you leave young boys unsupervised there are casualties.
It's a fact of life.
Out of sight, out of mind.

Before I was a teenager I'd picked up loads of injuries.
Stabbed. A guy called Lugsy was carving a stick and without looking stuck the knife into the log we were sitting on.
Unfortunately my hand was in the way and knife went right through it between my thumb and finger.
Shot. Some wanker stepped out on a woodland path and shot me with an air rifle in the shin and ran away. I picked the pellet out days later with tweezers when it became infected.
Nearly drowned. We had a raft race, well two bits of wood and an oil drum race.
I couldn't swim and the oil drum couldn't float.
A guy called Douglas, who was older, dragged me out of the river and tried to give me mouth to mouth. 
I was having none of that though. My first sexual experience wasn't going to be a mates big brother tonguing me.
Asphyxiated. We would take one hundred deep breaths as fast as we could and then someone would give you a bear hug until you passed out.
Once the guy doing it with me let go when I passed out and I hit my face off a kerb breaking my nose.
We knocked that game on the head when a guys cousin who was visiting had a seizure when we did it to him.
Obviously we ran away and left him when it happened.
As I got older I worked out that you lose consciousness due to a lack of oxygen going to your brain. I wonder how many brain cells that game took from me.
I've been the victim of a hit and run.
Or to be more accurate the car hit me and I ran.
Electrocuted. We played a game where we kicked the covers off of street lamps and pulled the fuses out, or if we were lucky we would get one with a timer in it and we would set the street lights to come on during the day and off at night.
That is until they day I was thrown across the street with a shock.
Singed my fingers, pissed myself and had a hairstyle like the hair bear bunch, but apart from that I was alright.
I've broken my arm, ankle, cracked my skull twice, broke and dislocated fingers as well, and I wasn't unusual in any of this.

We picked up more injuries on a weekly basis than a guest at a Barrymore pool party would.

I've come to the conclusion that the cast of Jackass are a bunch of pussies.
A guy I went to school with fell into a threshing machine on a farm. He survived, but I'm sure he gave Mel Gibson some pointers for the flogging scene in that Passion of Christ film. 
There's Mel popping up again.
I remember that boy Lugsy (That's right. The one who stabbed me) swinging into the side of a cow and breaking his legs.
Cows are pretty solid by the way.
Think of what a car looks like when it runs into a cow and then imagine a nine year old travelling about 40mph on a rope swing into the side of one. It wasn't pretty. We dragged him home after that. Must have been about two miles.

Things only got worse when we were teenagers, but I'm not going to go into that.
The thing is that with all these injuries no one seemed to care.
Social workers would have a SWAT team abseiling through a kids bedroom window to save them now.
Parents would be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Teachers never asked where you got the black eye from back then. 
The doctors in A+E accepted what was said without blinking an eye.
NO ONE CARED, and neither did we.

It was bloody great. Shaped us as people to.
I think I'll send my lad out with something sharp tomorrow and tell him not to come home until he's had an accident.
He'll thank me for it later in life.


  1. That was great read mainy, sign of the times

  2. excellent reading mate, and true!

  3. Hehehe made me smile!