What is ‘Being Born’? Is it when an idea comes into your head one afternoon as you’re unblocking the lavatory? Yes. But it’s also how we come into this world. I was ‘born’ roughly 9 months after what can be best described as ‘intercourse’ between my mother and father. The relationship between my mother and father was a complicated one exacerbated by their deep distrust and hatred towards each other. Mother complained that father was a thoughtless, arrogant, deluded, violent philanderer while my father said my mother often smelt of lasagna, a dish that would make my father violently sick, (you will have noticed that I’ve used ‘violent’ and ‘violently’ in the same sentence, I don’t know if this is acceptable in literary circles but I don’t play by the rules. Well, I do play by rules but my rules!)
But despite their utter hatred towards each other they were forced to remain together. Father remained with mother for financial reasons (mothers father, who coincidentally was also my grandfather, was a big hitter in the tortoise breeding world) and mother remained with father because of her lasagna stench problem making her deeply unattractive to any man. This situation led to a tense household which for a young child such as myself was very unsettling and led directly to me rubbing cocaine onto my eyeball at the age of 19 while staying at a B&B in Weymouth. But I digress…
I was born into this world on 25th December (also known as Christmas Day) 1974 in Harare Central Hospital, Zimbabwe at 5.30 am and weighed a very satisfactory 7 pounds 1 ounce, which is the same weight as about three-fifths of a can of soup. According to my father, who while not being present at my birth would phone the hospital every two hours for progress updates, my birth was rather easy for my mother and the labour only lasted 23 hours – a cinch! People have asked me if I was disappointed that my father wasn’t present at my birth to which I reply ‘No’ and the reason I answer ‘No’ is for two reasons. Firstly, it was a different era, many men didn’t go to the birth, in fact, 40 or 50 years ago many men positively hated babies, even their own. Secondly, my father was a very busy man and at the time of my birth was close to making a crucial breakthrough on his invention, ‘Bacon Bottles’. The idea behind Bacon Bottles is frankly, genius – replacing glass bottles with bottles made from crispy pieces of bacon. Bacon is cheaper than glass, easier to produce and if you eat the bacon after using it as a bottle, you cut down on waste. See, genius…or at least something very close!
Once I was out of the womb I quickly adapted to my parents routine, my mother spent her days cooking lasagna and instructing my au pair on how to raise me while father locked himself away in the shed, working on his many inventions. As time went on I grew older and began to spread my wings (a metaphor) and embarked on many adventures such as the time I fell in the River Dee after sniffing too much glue and when I ate a yoghurt that was a month past its sell-by date! But more of those and many other stories in the future.