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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Make a right turn soon, kid

Zach, our grandson, is developing at great speed but, hey, this is not one of those maundering grand-parently boasts. His memory is phenomenal but it's what he remembers I find disturbing. Line-ups of the whole of the Premier (soccer, as is all that follows) Division, players' previous employment, past managers of Coventry City, score-lines of international games four months ago, nationality minutiae, transfer fees, the name of Barcelona's ground. The adults around use him as Memory Man, he's quicker than an I-phone.

In October I watched a rugby match on Occasional Speeder's telly. Referring to the game at Christmas I recalled one of the teams but couldn't name the other. "Harlequins," said  Zach, overhearing. He was right of course.

I am reminded of a Damon Runyon story. One of his low-lifes finds himself out-of-work and his only asset is a wide familiarity with racing horseflesh. "But," says Runyon, "in Times Square that knowledge was kinda like a drug on the market."

I'd prefer Zach to have a broader-based start in life when he looks for employment although I may be, as the Austrians say, "listening to the fleas cough." His last report card was a panegyric, a quite sickening panegyric.

And then suddenly my mind slides back 65 years. Cast lists of  US B-feature movies in the 40s and 50s: Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, Marie Windsor, Steve Brodie. Their faces, etched with noirish camera-work, march past. Slightly faded but still quite sharp is the irritation I engendered in others when I parrotted this info. It's early days for Zach. He is, as I've often said, only six.


  1. What was the name of the the Russian warship under which Commander Buster Crab lost his life in Portsmouth Harbour? You told me and I have't forgotten. But I would have to look it up in order to spell it correctly.

  2. Joe: It's the Ordzhonikidze but of course there are differences of opinion about how cyrillics are transcribed. My answer isn't definitive

  3. I'm hoping he combines this with his other traits - being a nightmare when he looses, ability to say thing such as "I love you mummy" and leave just about an acceptable amount of time between that and the inevitable request for sweets/tv viewing/bath avoidence. and of course his eyelashes.... If I could cut them off him and put them on my eyes, I would in an instant...

  4. Hmm, the Zachster would be a natural when it comes to baseball and the statistics of the game.

  5. For my brothers at that age it was pre-historic animals and aeroplanes. They could name them all. I wonder if it's a 'boy' thing?

  6. Occ: What a SHOCKING admission, even more so given it comes from from his mum. Until VR quite blatantly put in her two-pennorth and told me Zach's eyelashes are to die for her. The pair of you sound like Burke and Hare.

    I was also going to say you'd have done well to stay out of this one. To be critical in any way of one's grandchild is clearly a no-no as the lack of comments seemed to confirm. And then, like the "blanket of snow" (Darren Bett's prediction) that is now covering Herefordshire and is going to complicate getting to French, two of TD's supporters arrived in the nick of a time. But it's a warning, I tell you. Zach is an angel and angels are above TD persiflage.

    RW (zS): That would presume he was going to spend his formative years in the US. Although his mum has dual nationality (was born there) I doubt it. The overwhelmingness of soccer in Europe exceeds US interest in baseball by a long way.

    HHB: I think you're right. When I was Zach's age there was a war on, my dad was in the Observer Corps, and I - going with the flow - was into plane spotting. By the way, from something you said recently, I assume it's just as hot at your end of Oz as it is at the other. My heart bleeds for you.

  7. Memorizing sports stats is great practice. Will says that any kid with a combined ability to memorize and use his critical thinking skills is a kid who will leap ahead in school and university. Czech kids are drilled in memorization, but definitely miss out on the critical thinking (unlike the US and the UK), so I'm glad Zach will have both!

  8. Julia: Yeah but I see problems when Zach has to be wrenched away from Tottenham Hotspur and force-fed Wittgenstein.