As we amble this vale of tears, we’re confronted by a variety of enigmas; these episodes or habits which appear to defy any sense or logic. Such as my inherently heavy-handed younger brother Ian’s ability to smash crockery with ease while washing up, yet when indulging in post meal plate hurling rituals in a Greek restaurants he can barely chip the platter.
Other conundrums include my estranged wife’s pronunciation tic which robs her of the ability to annunciate the ‘d’ suffix of singer/songwriter John Legend’s surname. When she doesn’t prefix Legend with John, for example when referring to Glastonbury’s Legend’s Stage, she pronounces the ‘L’ word without flaw…… Utterly baffling!
I also wonder what sort of existential tomfoolery is at play which allows my adult daughter Rachel the bravery to guffaw in fears face when skydiving, whitewater rafting and hurtling down the Calgary bobsleigh run. Yet if she sees a spider this derring-do leaves the building, rendering the twenty-something lady a quivering wreck!…… Even more bizarrely, and without a word of a lie, Rach also gets deeply uncomfortable when in close vicinity to a bowl of crisps…… Mind-boggling stuff!
Our Ian’s clumsiness has been a life long affliction for the lad. As a 1960’s baby boomer birth, our kid was born at our Leeds home. An episode I’m told that left my mother exhausted, as well as down two cups and a toby jug ornament courtesy of Ian’s flailing arms.
While mum gave birth to her second child upstairs, my dad and me (I was two years old at the time) sat downstairs in the living room. Between frequent boiling of kettle and hunting for towels, my old man was watching a re-run of the second Liston v Clay fight on our small monochrome TV set.
I sat next to him on the settee holding a stick with a piece of string attached. No doubt concluding how rubbish kids toys were in the mid 1960’s, along with observing mum appeared to be drinking more cups of tea than normal.
A few hours later, my dad took my hand saying he and my mum had a nice surprise upstairs. I thought he meant they bought me a decent toy to replace the stick with string. Consequently, when I found out this surprise was to greet my new baby brother my heart sank a tad.
After navigating the broken crockery/toby jug which lain on the bedroom carpet, I got to see our kid for the first time. He was wrapped in both blanks and my mum’s arms. Mum turned to me with a smile, telling me to “Say hello to your new baby brother, Gary!”
Without the benefit of the comma punctuation, I thought this new baby had also being given the moniker Gary….. Even at two years of age, I concluded it a blunder which would cause all sorts of communication problems as me and our kid wandered through life.
Regardless, I greeted my sibling with a warm welcoming “Hello Gary.”
My dad then intervened, informing me “No he’s not Gary. You’re Gary, Gary!”
At this juncture I was utterly confused. Had mum and dad not even colluded when deciding upon my new brother’s name? After all mum appeared to tell me he was called Gary; but my dad now refuted this nonsensical naming approach was on the cards.
Thankfully, seeing the bemused look on my face, dad clarified the whole moniker selection malarky when he told me lovingly “We’ve called him Ian, Gary.”
Although, thinking it was odd giving him the middle name of Gary, I felt a great deal more comfortable my baby brother would henceforth be hailed under the title of Ian.