Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Day Three: "He was in the Forces."

Day Three.


That’s nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety seven days left, according to my current approximations.

I’ve already been on this planet for the last nineteen thousand, one hundred and sixty two days.

This too is an approximation, as I’ve left out the leap years.

You can add another thirteen days to account for those.

I've also left out the days I spent languishing contentedly in my mother's womb, as I have no recollection of those. I don't have much recollection of the days immediately after, either, or for quite a while, although, according to my calculations the memories start quite early for me.

I can remember being in a pushchair as my father waved to me from a train.

I was still a tiny baby, no more then a few months old. My father was leaving, having seen me for the first time, to go back to his station.

He was in the Forces.

Later I decided that he must have been the train driver as he was wearing a uniform.

The reason I know that I was barely a few months old is that my mother told me about it. She was very surprised when I told her that I remembered it. In fact, she didn't believe me.

But it's true. I do remember it. Not directly, but indirectly, through a recurring dream I kept having in my childhood years. There was my father, waving to me from the open window of a train. And I thought he was the train driver as he had on a uniform and a cap.

That was a long time a go. Many, many days have passed since then.

I’d like to give you the benefit of my wisdom now, having acquired all this knowledge over all this time.

But I won’t.

I’ll leave it up to you to work it out.

Suffice it to say, that it’s not a bad thing to have learned to walk and talk in this time. All the rest is fairly superficial. Once you have learned to walk and talk, the rest follows on naturally.

These days I have added to my basic store of knowledge in a number of ways. I can cook. I can write. I can drive a car and ride a bike. I can read. I can do long-division and multiplication. I can roll a cigarette and go into a bar and order a pint. Or I can go into a bar and order a pint and then roll a cigarette. I can gaze into the mysterious heavens and puzzle about the origins of the Universe.

I cannot, however, do brain-surgery. Nor can I fly an aeroplane, or captain a ship, or climb freestyle up a rock face.

There’s so much that I can’t do.

Once, many years ago, I learned to use a pneumatic drill. That took no brains at all, only brawn, and the ability to put up with the awful, head-banging noise. Fortunately I had on ear-protectors. Nevertheless I’m glad now that I didn’t consider it as a career option at the time. I had better things to be getting on with.

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1 comment:

Richard said...

Perhaps you could do brain surgery. I met a brain surgeon once, and I asked him about how difficult it was. He told me that brain surgeons are trained to such an extent that it becomes automatic and there's nothing difficult about the surgery. In fact, he told me that the most difficult thing was making sure that he got the X-ray the right way round, so that he cut the right part of the brain!