Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Talentless Mr Evans

As previously stated in an earlier blog I am a parent to two boys. Some may think I am a harsh parent as I let the boys fall over and pick themselves up – it’s the only way they learn. However, what I noticed from other adults, parents and non-parents, is how they talk to babies.

Babies learn fast. I mean I could start learning Chinese now and never be fluent, but a baby picks up the very confusing English language quite easily, within a few years in fact. So bearing this in mind why do adults talk like they do to babies? Surely they would learn quicker if they used proper words?

Is there any need to say "Oh look at that choo-choo Tommy"? The first part of that sentence is in English but then they feel the need to change train into ‘choo-choo’!! Or ‘ moo-moo’ for cow! Or ‘brum-brum’ for car! Just use the actual word in the first place! Or if they do use the right word, just say it once! Just say ‘cat’ and not ‘Look at the cat-cat Tommy’! I have no idea who Tommy is by the way!

As a kid growing up you learn all sorts and try all kinds of things and activities. Some you are forced into doing by the parental unit, other things you do because your buddies are doing them, some you see on TV and some you just want to try out anyway. As a kid I tried lots of things but the majority never stuck.

They never stuck for a variety of reasons.

My Dad was in the Cub Scouts when he was younger and so he wanted me to experience it. I think he thought it would be good for me. However, I heard stories that he once ran away from a Cub camping trip and caused all kinds of mayhem. So maybe he was just trying to encourage my mischievous side from an early age, although he told me it would give me various skills and make me a man.

So I went along to the Cubs begrudgingly. I turned up in my ‘civilian’ clothing as my Dad wouldn’t buy me a uniform just yet. I think it’s a kind of three visits and in type of thing. You have to go somewhere three times to prove your commitment and once you have you can have the uniform/equipment. I so wanted a Cub uniform though!!

There in the courtyard were lads that had been going a while, all adorned with badges for helping grannies or starting controlled fires, each proud of their individual Cub records. Very different from the lads I knew in school that had a different kind of record that included terrorising grannies and starting uncontrolled fires!

I felt increasingly out of my depth with this group of do-gooders. I didn’t know any of them and I didn’t really want to know any of them. I even went off the uniform and had no inclination to own one or wear one. I was the outsider in this circle of Cubs and it made me feel like a bear with a sore head! (See what I did there?!?!). All they seemed to do was stand in circles, chant some satanic ritual rubbish and award pointless badges for pointless deeds.

Suffice to say I went once and was thankful when my Dad came to pick me up. I told him straight that I didn’t want to go again, never again, and if I wanted to camp I would camp in the backyard with my mates and no uniform… well apart from the Batman T-Shirt everyone had to wear as part of the Batman club…

Funny story that, one lad didn’t have a Batman T-Shirt and so we wouldn’t play with him or let him in our gang… His Mum went out especially to buy him a Batman T-Shirt and turned up on the door step ranting about how he was now allowed in the gang! Kids can be cruel!!

And I call it ‘camping’ but all it consisted of was a blanket nicked from the spare room, some pegs to attach said blanket to the fence and some stones to hold the blanket at the bottom. Pretty crap looking back on it now, but at the time it was amazing – our own private Idaho!

I also went horse riding for around 6 to 12 months. This was now my Mum’s idea (I am sure she wanted a girl!). Horse riding was ok, I kind of enjoyed it. Although depending on which horse you had each Saturday morning depended on how much fear you had of horses.

One horse I often had was called Inky. It was grey with black patches here and there and it was a nutter of a horse! The fear in my eyes when my name was on the register next to Inky! You didn’t ride this horse you see, it took you for a ride! I always believed that the aim of this horse was to dismount the rider somehow – like a game it played in his head.

You would trot along the towpath and suddenly the bloody thing would stoop down to eat some grass. There was no warning, it would stop and stoop! When it wasn’t eating he would go at the pace he set and not what you commanded. So a trot turned into a canter whenever he felt like it and a canter turned into a stroll suddenly. I’m sure the bugger was smiling whilst I panicked, sat in the saddle shaking like a shite-ing dog!

After a few weeks of this and in the build up to "Let’s try some fence jumping in the next month" I pretty much lost the appetite and quit that also. Generally if I can’t do something first time or it’s deemed too hard I won’t stick to it for long.

I‘ve actually had a few girlfriends who think along similar lines!

My next attempt at finding a talent came in the form of keyboard lessons. 18 months this one lasted. 18 months of learning to play the electronic keyboard. Can I play a note now? Go on, ask the question… Well the answer is no. I can play ‘Chopsticks’ and that’s about it – and lets be honest you do not need 18 months of keyboard lessons to learn how to play ‘Chopsticks’!
I saw other class members come and go as they advanced through the levels, playing harder and more complex pieces of music whilst I lingered in the beginner’s class for a year and a half.

Because I had gone to more than 3 weeks worth of lessons I actually got bought a keyboard. I then bought some stickers and lettered each key from C to G – I think – to help me follow the music. This was all well and good practising at home but when asked to bring our keyboards in I was ridiculed for having my keyboard lettered like that when I should "know the keys off by heart now".

It wasn’t even the fact that I spent the majority of the lesson acting like a clown that made me quit either. Even though it meant I didn’t learn anything. I remember getting into class first and turning the whiteboard over and drawing pictures of willies on the board only for the teacher to turn the board over half way through the lesson and the class erupted with laughter.

You would think I would have grown out of this, but even now in my 30’s I still draw willies everywhere!

The reason I quit was because I was finally put through to my exam and I chose to play ‘Take my Breath Away’ by Berlin. Made famous by Top Gun I believe.

Now I could play the tune with my right hand just fine. And I could play the chords with my left hand just fine. However the problem came when I had to play both hands simultaneously!! My right wouldn’t go at the same time as my left. So during the exam I played the tune first, then paused, then played the chords next, then paused, then played the tune again and so on… Naturally I failed the exam.

I realised I couldn’t multi task so that talent was out of reach and so ultimately that was something else that I quit. It didn’t help that a lad at school was self taught and could play all kinds of music without reading any sheet music! Bastard show off!

The one activity that brings most joy to my friends and family, not me of course, is gymnastics! Currently gymnastics is cool and having somewhat of a purple patch due to the Olympics and Louis Smith and co. When I took it up it was for girls only! And there lies the problem. So it became a deep, dark secret that I hid from everyone.

I used to go Saturday mornings and my Granddad would take me. As the class began we would start on the trampoline after a warm up and then move around the apparatus practising, ending the session with various rolls, tucks and somersaults.

I became half decent and very flexible truth be told, but as time wore on and I started hanging with bigger boys who played football and had girlfriends I got more embarrassed by my ‘hobby’ coming out in public! That isn’t a euphemism for anything by the way!

I say girlfriends by the way, but all you did was stand one side of the playground with the girl the other side just generally pointing her out to people stating she was your girlfriend. You never actually spoke to her or kissed or held hands or anything like that. I mean I had a girlfriend for 2 years and never spoke to her once!

I eventually quit gymnastics when a rumour went round that I wore a leotard on a weekend. I didn’t by the way, I was strictly a white vest and short shorts type of fella! This wasn’t one of those times where you do more than 3 lessons and need to get the uniform/equipment! The one thing I missed about gymnastics though was that my Granddad used to pick me up with my brother and would have a bag of sweets waiting for me or a Gold Bar and a can of Ben Shaw’s pop!

I can still pick up a stamp with my mouth without bending my legs though! So I got something out of it, you never know when that could come in handy!

So basically most of the things I tried lasted less than a year, some less than a week. I never really found my talent. I did play rugby for 7 years, but got sent off in a final for kicking, which we then lost, and my coach decided to make the following season a hard one for me, so I quit that too!

So I sit and I think that I am never going to find my talent, maybe I’m not naturally talented in fact. However there is one thing I am very good at indeed. It might not be classed as a talent as such. And most of my friends and colleagues can vouch for this – it is the art of sexual innuendo. I can pretty much turn any thought, sentence or situation into something dirty, smutty or sexual!

Granted this will not stand me in good stead at a job interview or anything like that, but it is a kind of talent none the less! One that I excel at in fact! So I am classing it as my talent!

You see every sentence I make could be construed as a sexual innuendo if you think long and hard about it!