Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Stand Aside! Hero Coming Through (Hair Caught in Crash Helmet - Again)

Sometimes, if you are like me, you find yourself in a situation where you think "oh if only..." Nothing major. I don't mean when you see some lottery winners on TV ("what should it gain a man to own the whole world and lose his soul" etc. etc. - I paraphrase) or that kid from school who went on to work for NASA, travel the world and invent the ipod.

No, as is usual in my life and in my deranged warblings, I am referring to something far more mundane and run-of-the-mill.

Just the other day I found myself in the sunshine and showers of a Saturday morning Welsh car boot. Funnily enough it was in the shadow of the hospital where I had my 'big op' last year, so the air smelt even sweeter.

And there it was! A perfect replica of a Red Arrows jumpsuit, with all the official patches and paraphernalia. In perfect nick, no cuts or tears, no faded bits, no patched-up sections. It was sublime in its purity and outstanding in its heroic qualities -- I would say "like me" but I don't want to be responsible for any casualties as the result of uncontrollable guffawing (now there's a word we don't use often enough outside of the pages of The Beano circa 1977).

Oh the visions of grandeur! Strutting down the street in my Red Arrows jumpsuit, suitable head attire firmly in place, the adulation of the crowds (?) the polite applause of the neighbours as I head off to, well, not exactly save the world - but perhaps to perform some excellent stunts at an air show. Oh Bravo!

The only problem is that if I had done that with this jumpsuit it would have to be via the Mad Professor off of Back to the Future because, as I could tell from its size through my tear-filled eyes, it was clearly made for someone circa 6 years old.

Even so I daydreamed. Yes. There was six-year-old Gareth Hurley in his Red Arrows jumpsuit off to be heroic, Evel Knievel tucked under his arm, pockets bulging with toy soldiers and matchbox cars. Perched on my head would have to be that plastic, white police crash helmet I had with the pull-down visor (the one that you always caught your hair in when you took it off, but you had to put it back on again eventually as it looked just so cool! To a six-year-old anyway).

And there I was, a grown man, holding the hand of my youngest, looking on with trembling lip at a vision of pristine beauty and sheer heroism - albeit produced for a wee nipper.

I brushed away a manly tear, put my best foot forward and continued on my way with ne'er a look back (see! I can be brave too), lest I, like Lot's wife, be transformed into a pillar of salt.

So there you are dear reader. A story of nostalgia, upset, stoicism and bravery all piled into one glorious yet sad moment.

Can life get any more exciting? No I haven't invented the ipod, but the thought of those pockets bulging with matchbox cars en route to their next big adventure circa 1977 reminds me that I have lived a happy life - even if I was denied a Red Arrows jumpsuit.

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