Decades ago when I was just a wee boy, knee high to a grasshopper, and in total awe of everything that was around me, I made a monumental decision. OK, I wasn’t exactly knee high, getting on for eight, nine or possibly ten years old, and the awesomeness of some things had started to shine a little less brightly thanks to a few ‘others’ who really deserve not to be mentioned, but that’s by the by now – water under the bridge.
I was knee high to a grasshopper in my mind when my monumental decision was made.
I used to love evening television in those days. Doctor Who used to terrify me, and I was always pleased when it went off, but I still watched it. Scooby Doo and Goober and the Ghostchasers were my favourite cartoons at the time, Scooby still being up there now, although Goober seems to have faded away somewhat. And Friday night TV used to show Mind Your Language at 7pm followed by Space:1999. Mind Your Language was a sitcom about foreign adult students learning to speak English with hilarious and child-like results, and Space:1999 a sci-fi series about a colony of folk trapped on the Moon after it was forced, following nuclear explosions, out of Earth’s orbit and sent hurtling off into outer space. I think this is where my fondness of the Universe at large stems from – although some of those stories were quite frightening at the time. I always felt sad a little when this programme went off.
It was during Space:1999 that I worked out how old I would have been in 1999. Bearing in mind I was in my mind knee high to a grasshopper at the time, my 1999 age of [AGE REMOVED DUE TO THE PINOCCHIO EFFECT] made me seem ancient. It was years into the future, and there was no way, in my mind, that I could ever be that old. So, in that instant I decided I would never age. Never grow up.
Obviously, time had other ideas. Days came and went, and with them I aged. I wasn’t unique. I didn’t stay knee high to a grasshopper. I became tall, gangly, lanky, spotty, introverted, awkward, spottier, less tall, wider, more awkward, clumsy, less spotty (at last!) and finally more rounded (in more than one sense). And through all of those stages, I aged. Year after year my body did what bodies do everywhere. I reached [AGE REMOVED DUE TO THE PINOCCHIO EFFECT] and I decided enough was enough. I was going to stay at that age no matter what. When asked how old I was, the age [AGE REMOVED DUE TO THE PINOCCHIO EFFECT] would just spill out of my mouth, even though I looked older. Puzzled faces looked back at me, but I couldn’t see why they thought it was so strange I was as old as I said I was. It was my age.
That age has since doubled, and I can no longer use it. I’m still growing. I had lived my life as Pinocchio.
Inner Librarian: You’ve got that wrong.
Me: No, I haven’t. That’s the story of my life so far, without events.
Inner Librarian: Yes, I know, but you’ve still got it wrong. You’re referring to the Pinocchio Effect, which is about lies and untruths. You should be referring to the Peter Pan Effect, which is about the boy who never grew up.
Me: Oh. But I have been lying about my age, and I have grown up, so the Peter Pan Effect doesn’t fit. The Pinocchio Effect doesn’t really fit either, as Pinocchio was a wooden boy, and I’m not wooden.
Inner Librarian: …
Thomasina (Inner Woman): I think he’s referring to your dancing. Have you seen yourself dance?
Me: Oh, so you’re all ganging up on me now, are you? Fine.
Fingers (Inner Typist): Nto lal of su.
Me: Well that’s good. And I’m a fabulous dancer. And I have great hair as well. There. Is that good enough for the Pinocchio Effect???
Inner Librarian: And the Peter Pan one.
Me: Whatever. Sometimes I wish there was a Jack and Jill Effect so I could lead you all out of my head.
Fingers: Lal of su?
Inner Librarian: And you now mean the Pied Piper Effect. The Jack and Jill Effect is about ups and downs.
Me: Yes. And I know what I mean. I think. Anyway, I’m Piscean.
Inner Libran: What has that got to do with things?
Inner Librarian: I was thinking the very same thing.
Me: Seeing opposites. Being dreamy. Being creative.
Inner Libran: Did you know that Albert Einstein was a Piscean?
Me: Was he?
Thomasina: Of course you knew that. You have his hair.
Me: I. DO. NOT.
Inner Libran: And he was creative.
Inner Librarian: And a good thinker.
Fingers: Oyu tned to oervnithk tnihsg.
Me: Sigh. I can’t win. Anywya, (FINGERS!) all of you Inners – stop spoiling my post! Go. Get out of my head. GO!!!
Right. Sorry about that: back on track now. What I was trying to say, before being so rudely side-lined there, is that lying about your age doesn’t really work. I’ve spent years being [AGE REMOVED DUE TO THE PINOCCHIO / PETER PAN / JACK AND JILL / PIED PIPER / HUMPTY FLIPPIN’ DUMPTY EFFECT] when in reality I was growing and ageing all along. I’m now almost the same time this side of 1999 as I was when I first made my monumental decision. My mind, however, has always stayed young. That, I think, has never properly grown up. Sometimes I’m still knee high to a grasshopper.
Sometimes, I still see everything around me and I’m in awe of it.
Sometimes, I make things up. I live in a make believe world, where everything and everyone is just so. Just so what is difficult to explain, apart from being pleasant. Yes, it’s made up. I’m aware that the world isn’t as pleasant as I imagine it to be, but putting the two worlds together it really isn’t that bad. I suppose it’s like growing up without focussing on the events, or staying put in a time that just Feels Good.
Sometimes I’m still knee high to a grasshopper, but a little wiser. Not as wise as Albert Einstein, or a wisened Doctor, or Captain Koenig in Space:1999, but wiser just the same.
I’m just me. With flaws, likes and dislikes just like the rest of us. I’m at an age where being at my age should really be reflected outwards, but it isn’t. Not all the time.
And my Inner Child is loving it.