Stranger Than Fiction

I was once asked to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. Ergo, the views expressed below are not mine, they are an 83 year-old New Zealander’s…

“Here, pass that saltshaker would you? Ah, there’s a lad.
My doctor warned me off this stuff, said my arteries were more congested than that fancy new motorway on the edge of town. Can’t trust those quacks though, only in it for themselves they are. I’ll trust my own diagnosis thank you very much. I haven’t got to this ripe old age with shit for brains, have I now?

Here, I suppose you’re into high school now lad? I understand you’ve not had the best of runs with it of late, what with those private visits to the Headmasters office.
Can’t you try and behave? For your old mum?.

Knowledge is power you know.
I don’t know what it is they’re teaching you kids these days, and how…
I’ve seen enough of your dimwitted friends making nuisances of themselves, sitting around going nowhere, a burden on their poor parents. Halfwits and vagrants most of ‘em.
In my day we were schooled properly, with a proper syllabus. I fancied Dickens myself. You know him? No, didn’t expect so.

They were tough too, but fair. Did you know I was once left-handed? Was barely seven years of age by the time our Headmaster beat it out of me. Broke my knuckles he did. Don’t know if I agreed with that at the time though, that’s true. A teacher so much looks sideways at kids these days he’s castrated!

What’s that you say, am I feeling alright?
Of course lad, it’s just a bloody cough.
Mother of Mary! Your hair turns a whiter shade of pale and your face sags a tad and you’re fit for the compost heap.
I feel as strong as a bull my lad, years in me, if I don’t die first of mollycoddling.
Still, maybe it’d be some welcome respite from this world of yours.

Do you know what bothers me young man? It’s all these epods and your imail thingos.
Pardon? The other way around? Yes, yes…
All these toys, just more excuses to fob off from the real work. None work for themselves, for their bit of crust, they just grow lazy and fat. Whining about the price of petrol and getting those Asians to make everything for them. In my time we were at war with half these bloody countries.
Look at these hands son. Worker’s hands, a Dockman’s, a Labourer’s, a Father’s.
Me and mine helped build a place we’re no longer part of. Told we’ve no place in it.
“Just keep calm old man, sit gently over there and quietly expire would you?”
It’s enough to spin my top.

Here look now, your mother’s coming. She doesn’t have the backbone to tell you straight how it is, but I do. I know it’s hard just being the two of you but you need to put your head down and your tail up, lad.
And don’t discount my words due to my age, young man, I may go on but there’s nought like life experience.
You’ve got to learn to make something of yourself, by yourself. Learn the value of hard work and never forget those that forged the world you have before you.

Trust in yourself, boy, in your heart, your stomach and in your arms.
Look others in the eye and be you own man and you’ll be fine, just fine.
But for our God in heaven, steer well clear of those fool mates of yours. They’re not the kind of friends you want, boy.
Yes, you’ll do ok I reckon. You’re a good lad behind it all.

Now, say, do me a favour, there’s a good boy, pass me that salt would you?”


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