My perfect cousin November 29, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
“Name me two tribes who have invaded England,” ordered my cousin, J_.
I’m not sure how this conversation began. I’m two-and-a-bit years older than cousin J_, and I might have been concerned that he was cleverer than me so probably started telling him how much better my school was than his. So he thought he’d catch me out. “Bugger,” I thought. “Erm, the Zulus and the Canadians,” I proffered, on a wing and a prayer.
“Oh well, I can see history clearly isn’t your strong point,” said J_, like an old-aged, overweight alcoholic. He was 8.
You never know what’s going to leap into your head as you stand under the shower, checking for Alzheimer’s. Why under the shower, especially? Because that’s where I’m always struck with my most vivid moments of short-term memory loss as I can never, ever remember whether I’ve shampooed my riah. Or maybe I’m worrying in vain, and I just simply never have shampooed my riah. Which might explain the bird’s nest… So I punch the code into my mental keypad. Try accessing brain. “Have I shampooed my riah?” I ask brain. Brain makes clunking noises and spits out cousin J_ before the whole thing crashes and I’m left none the wiser.
“Hm, there must be something in all this,” I think to myself. “I may have serious, early-onset Alzheimer’s and the greasiest hair this side of Glastonbury, but perhaps my brain’s brought up cousin J_ for a reason. Reviving the competitive spirit? My brain telling me to get on out there, to go kick some intellectual ass? To read a book? To find out the truth about the ancient Kingdom of Canadia?”
I telephone my mother.
“Yes?” curtly, and annoyed at having Home and Away interrupted.
“What ever happened to cousin J_?”
“Cousin J_? Cousin J_?” I reassure myself that I don’t have Alzheimer’s after all and think about when I might next have a beer-&-fag session. “Oh, he’s still working for the same people he’s always worked for.”
“And is that, in your opinion, a worse job than being a translator, and I’d appreciate an answer that takes into account both moral and intellectual sides of the argument?”
“What?” (She switches over to Neighbours.)
“Can you list his academic achievements for me, one by one?”
“Well, I know he dropped out of university after a week and went back to live with his mum. Where he lives to this day.”
Bingo. I could hardly have hoped for a better answer. Thank you, oh mushy brain! Thank you, oh short-term memory loss! Thank you, oh filthy barnet!