Or....How to avoid an iceberg
Jimmy Ellis, having finally reached the age of 10, was lying on his bed reflecting on how things had gone so far. His happiness score, he had decided, was currently sitting at 1 out of 10. He had considered the possibility of reducing this to 0, but rejected the idea on the basis that should be contract Ebola in the next hour or so he would need the ability to downgrade it even further. He had arrived at his score by considering the following factors:-
- The number of friends that he actually liked who would be attending his birthday party this afternoon
- Tottenham Hotspurs' position in the premier league
- The quality and quantity of birthday presents received so far today.
1 out of 10 was, he felt, an honest, wholly deserved rating, bearing in mind that his party was starting in an hour. The back garden had been fully prepared, with tables set up, balloons inflated and attached to various garden ornaments, clotheslines and trees, and a large sign proclaiming “happy birthday Jimmy” hung across the kitchen window. Even the thought of the enormous chocolate cake and 10 litres of coca-cola currently residing in the kitchen was failing to improve his mood, which, at this precise moment, could be compared to a dog that had just had its bone stolen by next door's cat. He had been hoping for, indeed expecting, a wrestling outfit as his main present. His parents had handed over the loot about 15 minutes ago and so far all he had to show for 10 years of unfaltering love, affection and obedience was a coat, some (admittedly cool) sunglasses, a book about the Spurs double-winning side of 1961 and a board game featuring Thomas the Tank engine. He really could not have made it clearer to them during the three month build up to this important day that the only thing that was required to make him the happiest boy on the planet was a replica outfit of his favourite wrestling hero “The Human Atom bomb”. And what had he been given? THOMAS THE BLOODY TANK ENGINE!
His dad had told him to “be grateful”, warning him that his friends would not enjoy this “hugely expensive” birthday party if he had a face that resembled the back-end of their pug Walter. Jimmy had done the only thing any respectable ten year old would do at this juncture- retire to his bedroom - in order to practice sulking for England. He had slammed the door hard enough for it to nearly part company with its hinges. Slumped on to his bed he reached across to his bedside table and picked up his copy of American Wrestler. On the cover page was a picture of said “Human Atom Bomb” - an enormous Mexican whose signature move was called the melt-down. The Bomb was wearing his very distinctive outfit – orange and purple lycra with the picture of a large atomic mushroom cloud emblazoned across its front.
Were parents universally cruel or was it just his particular pair? He had told all of his friends that he was getting a wrestling outfit, and had indicated that when they came to the party they would get to see him dressed as either “The Bomb”, “Godzilla Johnson” or “Sergeant Smashmouth”. The only sensible option at this point in time seemed to be to remain alone in his room for the foreseeable future. It was then, at this moment of sublime despair, that Jimmy noticed the corner of purple material poking out from under his pillow. Could it be? Surely not..... IT WAS! Triumphantly, Jimmy pulled the thing from its hiding place to reveal the actual, the real, the totally epic “Human Atom Bomb” costume. He screamed with joy. If he had been listening, he would have heard a whisper outside his door - “I think he's found it!”.
Five minutes later Billy's bedroom door was flung open. Resplendent in orange and purple, Jimmy Ellis held his arms aloft and proclaimed, in his loudest, deepest 10-year-old voice-
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER AND GIVE A MASSIVE WELCOME TO