moreshortstuff

Life, kids etc.

Growing up is hard to do.

As I walked through Temple Bar after the meeti...

Do we ever really grow up?

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 20 JANUARY 2012

ALMOST hidden among the plethora of pointless press releases to arrive on The Bolton News newsdesk this week was this gem:
“People in the North West don’t feel grown up until they hit 25, new research reveals.”
We opted not to use the, ahem, story, mainly because it’s a load of rubbish.
And anyway, is this really a shock? Surely I can’t be the only one who thinks people don’t actually grow up at all? Especially men. I am nearer 40 than 25 and still feel like a child most of the time. Most of my friends are immature idiots – and I mean that in a nice way!
If Mrs Short tells me off for spilling a drink on the carpet I sulk for an hour, just like I did when I was 10.
I am just as likely to sell the family cow for a handful of magic beans as I ever was.
I want to be all grown up and sensible now that I have children of my own but I can’t help it. When the kids dismantled the sofa and chucked all the big cushions on the floor to form a giant crashmat, then leapt off the windowsill onto it, I am ashamed to say I wasn’t chastising them about how they could hit their heads on the coffee table, or ordering them to put it all back – I was calling them names for not being brave enough to jump from the top of the bookshelf, and joining in myself.
Although the beauty of it is when the coffee table finally got cracked, I blamed it on the eldest boy and he missed his supper for telling lies about daddy. (Sorry son – one day you’ll understand why I had to do this).
I want to read important books in my spare time instead of shooting aliens on the Playstation. Or not think I’m John Travolta circa 1979 when I’ve had a few too many drinks. I want to – but I can’t.
Our bosses at work still have the same nicknames we gave to our teachers at school, don’t they?
In fact, the only people who are grown up were grown up even when they were kids.
When I was a little boy, like every child, I fell for the grown up myth.
I thought dads must get sent to some sort of secret dad school to learn skills like fixing leaks under the sink or assembling bikes.
Now I know we just fudge it and tell lies to our kids.
“Daddy, why are old films in black and white? “Err, because the world didn’t turn colour until 1971, son.”
It’s all lies. And the biggest lie of all is that we ever grow up.
Not just men, either – women too. Oh yes, they act all sensible with their “pregnancies” and “jobs”, but after being taken prisoner by a hen party in Cardiff in 2002, forced to wear pink fairy wings and dance on tables as they bayed for more, more, more, no one will ever convince me otherwise.
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Me just man, me not to blame

English: Caveman stick figure.

Bring it on, chicks!

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2011
THE kids were in bed, I was cooking the tea and Mrs Short came and joined me in the kitchen for a chat.
Leaning against the back door, she suddenly piped up: “How many steps do you reckon it is to the front door.”
I thought for a second. “Eight -no nine.”
So off she set: “One, two…”. It was 16.
“There’s no way it’s 16,” I moaned. “You could have easy done it in nine.”
So she went back to the back door and took massive strides. It was nine steps.
“Yessss!,” I cheered.
“But I didn’t ask how many I could do it in. I asked how many it was,” she countered. “Taking normal steps.”
And there it was. My wife had unwittingly stumbled on one of the things that separates us men from the girls.
When she innocently wondered how many steps it would take to get from our back door to our front door, I heard: “I bet you I can walk from here to there and it will only take me so many steps to do it.”
It’s not my fault. It’s hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and survival hardwired into my brain.
It gives us that competitive spirit. And it doesn’t matter what insignificant task we are doing – we carry it out like we have something to prove.
Ladies, when you send your man to the shops for toilet rolls and tell him exactly what sort he must buy, does he come back with that type? Of course he doesn’t. “I got these ones instead, love, because they are quilted and were 15p cheaper,” he says. We always feel we have something to prove
You want another example? How about charity fundraising. In Bolton each year we have the Midnight Memories Walk for the hospice or the Race for Life – lots of women having fun and raising money, without an ounce of competitive edge. Men aren’t allowed to join in – because they’d ruin it.
Even when we’re raising money for charity, it becomes a battle of manliness. “Yeah, think I’ll get my chest waxed,” we say.
And Movember! Each year at this time thousands of men grow a moustache for cancer charities. We even turn that into a battle, comparing our massive hairyness to the wispy efforts of our weedier pals. “And it makes you look like a pervert,” we add, kindly.
That said, I’m a big fan of Movember and will be sad to see it go next week. I like seeing hairy-lipped strangers nod silently at each other in the street. And weird uncles actually fit in for a few weeks of the year.
The one year I did do it I gave my family and friends the chance to vote for the style of tache I’d sport. My grandmas and several elderly aunts were among those who sponsored me. Yet “Hitler-style” was beaten by just two votes in the end. My family has a weird sense of humour.
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