Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Squeak And Gurgle Of Genetic Stupids
In my youth — a time which seems so distant in these days of self-enforced exfoliations of ash from my rotting flesh — I was something of an enlightened tosser.
Between the era of general mania for decorating garment upon garment with badges and the dire epoch when Paul McCartney could be relied upon to sing his own songs without forgetting the words, the tune — or who he was — I regularly took it upon myself to adorn the lapels of coats and jackets with whimsical trinkets and doodads. The quartet of plastic mice from the 70s version of Mouse Trap, for instance, found its way onto a safety pin via the loops of the mousies’ biddy tails and dangled from my teenage gawkitude from pub to disco to party for most of 1981. Then there were the babies’ heads — robbed from some miniature (crap) dolls — which graced the same lapels just a few months later. My favourite, however, was the crocheted fish — and it’s my favourite precisely because I still have it, and still wear it. To this day I remain exactly the same enlightened tosser of yore, even though I no longer fit into any of my threadbare 80s Levi’s.
Here it is, on a jacket I shall wear this weekend — a 10p bargain hauled from a basket of similar wooly underwater denizens washed up by chance on a shelf of the Dartington Cider Press Centre in October 1982:
People mistake it for an octopus — my fault entirely for inverting it through ninety degrees and failing to erect a sign reading FISH — and many are the times it has helped to break the ice at social gatherings (like the Titanic smashing into the Berg of Doom).
What interests me at the moment is that Son of Whirl is embarking on a similar lapel decorating enterprise. Naturally I’m minded to wonder whether this is nature or nurture, genes or learning — or just rotten luck for Girly of Whirly to have two enlightened tossers living in close proximity?
For some weeks now, Son of Whirl has been setting off to school with bears in his top pocket. Like most schools, S-o-W’s seat of learning insists on uniforms, complete with badge and braid, and the most that pupils can get away with is the odd fluorescent pen poking jauntily from the pocket rim. It all started out fairly innocently with a Dr Who Weeping Angel protruding modestly, but since then he’s left the house each morning with most of his baybee cuddlees (some of which are the size of a small cat).
Naturally, as parents, Girly of Whirly and I are concerned. When he’s flown the nest for university (or Poundland), we’ll want to cry and sob over his baybee belongings — something we can’t do if he’s lost them, had them stolen, or sold them to some dumb kid in exchange for sweets.
To solve the problem, a mouse has been knitted — a purpose-built artifact of enlightened tosserhood based on the theme of baybee (but independent of any posset cloth style poop ‘n’ gaga memories).
Here it is, in all it’s realistic whisker glory:
In my responsible imagination, I’d visualised my son setting out this morning with his new companion peering from his braid in a modest display of teenage independence suitable for the amusement of his peers.
As it turns out, he’s safety pinned it to his shoulder like a pirate’s fucking parrot, and will probably come home blacker and bluer than a carbonized Joni Mitchell LP, having been ragged to within an inch of his life by anti-ponce hard boyz.
Like all the best biochemistry experiments, the results are to follow...