Musings From The Padded Cell

Boys To Men.

To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.”
Josh Billings

Part One – Great Expectations.

An old friend of mine called a few weeks ago to seek my opinion as her teenage son had been caught watching porn and she wanted a view from a child-free zone. Clearly she was desperate.

Not in any great expectation of learned counsel, she sought my view as one who works with kids but is free from the burden and often weighty expectations parental devotion dictate. I offered to chat with him.

“What would you say to him?” she enquired warming to this unexpected holistic approach.

“I’ll tell him that women don’t really look like that so don’t get your hopes up!” I said. An eerie silence came back down the line.

“Is that it?” she asked with a somewhat incredulous tone.

“Well I will make sure he knows if he suggests a threesome at the school disco he may need a dental plan and he’s likely to get registered as a sex offender on the girl’s toilet wall!”

“Any more pearls of wisdom before I recommend you to The Samaritans?” she added wearily doubtless wondering why she ever engaged me.

“Tell him the MILF is a work of the imagination just like Harry Potter!

She hung up.

Joking aside it is a sad fact that kids today have far more access to porn than several generations ago and, indisputably, this is not a good thing.

Some simple research via a US website – the trends will be similar – threw out several illustrative stats:

32% of teens admit to intentionally accessing nude or pornographic content online. Of these, 43% do so on a weekly basis.
93.2% of boys and 62.1% of girls have seen online pornography before age 18.

Children are inquisitive; years ago we burnt fingers, fell out of trees and did stupid things just to impress girls.

Now they hole themselves up with access to other “worlds” and are just as likely to blow up a Middle Eastern city and watch a gang-bang before lunch.

Days of innocence?

Days of innocence?

At least we had The Clangers.

Surely it is not beyond the likes of Google to simply link a date of birth to an IT identity? Or how about an alarm on the computer like Max’s car in Phoenix Nights?

Imagine the horror on the young inquisitor as a voice boomed out.

When human beings of any age are given free reign – take all-day drinking or internet gambling – our frailties are exposed.

Why should we expect more of a child?

Part Two – The Birth Of A Salesman.

Trashed again with the old boy.

Trashed again with the old boy.

I’ve had the dubious “honour” of being asked to be a Godfather three times; any more and they would have renamed me Don Willy of Idle. Perhaps, though, there was a fore-runner as I reflected last week catching up with my old mate John The Gasman.

Gas as we know him was a champion hole digger working for the gas board when we met; he could have dug his way to France had he known which way and they’d kept him topped up with ale.

I met Gas in the centre circle of a muddy football field one Sunday morning and we became great mates once we had finished kicking seven bells out of each other, free to go to our day jobs.

Many moons ago I used to have to report to an office although with the unchecked goings on at 13/14 South Parade, Leeds, it was closer to a Kindergarten for Psychos.

Daily paper ball fights were the norm and the only way of explaining this behaviour – without the benefit of a degree in psychology – was simply a mix of male-bonding, testosterone and utter anarchy in 4,000 square feet of largely empty office space.

Into this madness walked an unsuspecting teenager.

I’d known Adam, then aged 16, since he was about two years-old. In those days he regularly showed his affection by gleefully farting on my head each time I forgot that was the reason he had asked for a shoulder ride. I was a slow learner.

I should have dropped him on his head there and then as he turned out to be a skillful bleeder of my personal wealth in later years.

It was years before I could afford a proper hairdresser having to fund the young one. For now my mum's baking bowl would have to do.

It was years before I could afford a proper hairdresser having to fund the young one. For now my mum’s baking bowl would have to do.

An early episode involved me taking him for a new cricket bat. A cheap one was called for given a career best score of seven at that point but by the time we had finished he had scammed me for enough kit to tour Australia.

The career best remained unchallenged by the time the bat ended on the bonfire.

Gas had asked me if I could arrange some work experience although his mum tried vainly to point out that what “the idiot did for a living” – she would warm to me eventually – would be scant preparation for real life.

My boss had very kindly sorted it for Adam to get a taste of office work, although I suspect he probably thought he could use a younger caddy for the afternoon round of golf and a keen pair of eyes to hunt stray balls.

Having had his first taste of work on a building site, Adam was certainly looking forward to this.

Now as much as I am proud of the way Adam has matured into a hard-working and devoted father of two beautiful girls, back in those days he was a lazy little sponger who seemed to have only one purpose in life – fleecing me.

To offer more insight into the young Adam’s modus operandi when he was at university – briefly – he used money I gave him specifically for new text books to purchase a Sony Widescreen.

He went on to flunk the degree but could name every character in Neighbours and Home And Away.

And so it was that he spent a week with us – well mornings actually – having to continually duck to cries of “incoming” as paper balls screamed over his head from all directions.

With lunchtimes at my expense and afternoons back home with feet firmly up, it was no surprise he took a while to get a grasp of the real world. Amazingly – by now into his early thirties – he is now an accomplished salesman and doing very well.

I have yet to bill his mum and dad for the priceless mentoring from the “idiot”.

Part Three – My Beautiful Reward!


Have a great weekend.

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