And then I was there
Some weekend, should you be of the mind, I’d invite you to walk down our local high street, and count prams. No, scrub that, don’t actually do it, I’ll just tell you about it. There are a lot.
We counted, the other weekend. On a ten minute walk from one end of the road to another, we saw 38. We didn’t count any twice. I don’t think. But then, a pram is a pram is a pram. But a baby? A different matter altogether. A baby is not just a baby.
My nephew, for example, is a baby. And the most beautiful one in the world, at that. You would probably disagree. Not that he was beautiful, you might allow me that (you couldn’t deny it), but you might argue that he is not the MOST beautiful. You would probably have some baby in your own world that you believed to hold the title. You would be wrong, of course, but you would believe yourself to be right.
Because, and yes, it’s often said, to somebody, somewhere, every baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. So of all the people that think that, at any part of any day, every baby has to be the ultimate most beautiful baby in the world at some point.
I like that.
In 1977, I was the most beautiful baby in the world. Bar None. For some very brief moment. I’ve never been the most anything anywhere since.
On the 12th of May, as my mother says, the first tube train rattled past the window, Joanna Mary Clare Olusola Pickard was born.
I’m dubious about the ‘first tube train rattling past the window’ bit, I mean, hey, she’d been in labour for a fair few hours but, well, she’s a poet, and there’s no arguing with them. And yes, I suppose I wasn’t called that then. I wasn’t called anything. Apart from ‘the baby’.
But then, seeing as ‘John’ was out of the window, given my lack of penis, I was called Joanna Mary Clare Olusola Pickard. Or Joanna Mary Claire Yaddayaddayadda. Or something. Never sure about the spelling of Clare/Claire in the middle there. I’d have to check my passport.
And then that was it. No one talks about the next bit. I know I was born, I know I then hung around the house quite a bit, I’ve seen pictures, but apart from the birth bit, no one can tell me much about the next bit. No one says ‘Ah, you did the funniest things when you were around 7 months old’. Which means I either did something really shameful in that time, or I was actually really dull.
But what could be that shameful, that everyone would pactofsilence it for 28 years? Who knows. I may have set fire to a church. Maybe I brought down a government in a small south asian state using funds pillaged from charity boxes for diseased children. Perhaps, mere weeks after my birth, I saw the first Star Wars movie and declared that it was rubbish.
Or perhaps, like all other contenders for ‘Most beautiful baby in the world 1977’, I drank milk, pooed myself, and made a volume of noises that in any reasonable society should have got me an ASBO.
I was beautiful, yes, but I was dull. So how did we get from there to here? And having shed one of those tags already, is there anything I can do about the dull thing?
(What is this ’28/28′ thing? What the hell is going on? Confused? Ah, well then, you should read this. It will inform you. Also, it has important birthday information)