Happy Birthday T’Old Lad

February 22nd – Today would’ve been my paternal grandfather Jack’s 115th birthday. God only knows how he’d have celebrated the day if his existence would’ve panned out this long. If he was still mobile, though, I’d venture it’d involve lots of shuffling, along with trademark sleight of hand trickery.

That being said, I’d suggest the latter wouldn’t work as affectedly as his younger days. After all, the ageing process would surely diminish the speed required to perform magic with the swiftness required to fool an anticipatory audience. An argument I back by highlighting there has to be a reason you never see 115 year old exponents of close-up magic…. Well, apart from the obvious consideration very few people live until that age.

Yes, sleight hand deception is a young mans game. Or, not be performed after you turn 100 years old. If you require the buzz of performing, along with audience adoration, after receiving that congratulatory milestone telegram from Her Majesty the Queen options for rousing a crowd are strictly limited.

If my grandad had reached 115 today, I’d suggest he’d be limited to choices of sloth impressionist or zimmer frame shuffler to quench his thirst of entertaining his peers. I supposed if he maintained some level of cognitive capability, perhaps he’d still have the wherewithal to raise esprit with his brand of mischievous quips.

Anyhow, as grandad Jack passed away in 1977 at the age of 71 there’ll be no sloth impressions, or zimmer frame shuffling, from my eccentric forebear to mark the anniversary of his birth.

How the late Jack Strachan will celebrate his birthday in the after-life is anyone’s guess. If he’s ‘upstairs’ I’d be surprised if god, or indeed the other two members of the Holy Trinity, would fall for such lukewarm trickery as my grandad pretending to remove a coin from our lord’s ear.

After all, for those with faith, god’s back catalogue of magical fetes comfortably usurp my forebears tepid wizardry by some margin. After all, surely a force who can perform miracles wouldn’t be impressed, or be tricked, by a man indulging in sleight of hand to pretend he’d swallowed his cigarette lighter.

The Holy Father would inevitably display indifference at my japester paternal ancestor’s undercooked clambake. Hopefully, though, the ‘big fella’ will humour my forebear if any of this tomfoolery comes into play. Instead, give him a birthday cake, a pint of Tetley’s Bitter and a gift of a magic set with significantly more flamboyant tricks.

I was a 14 year old boy when my grandad Jack passed away. An event which marked my first existential experience of losing a close family member. His demise making yours truly’s life poorer both spiritually and financially. The latter from no longer being handed coinage he’d mysteriously unearth from my lug hole.

Happy 115th birthday, wherever you are, Grandad….. Oh, and if your trick have now evolved to a juncture you’re able to retrieve £50 notes from peoples hearing receptacles give me a shout!

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