I am a Genius (Einstein Said So)

After several failed attempts, involving one giant paper aeroplane, thirty-six helium balloons, a home-made tea towel cape and a regrettable leap of faith from my best friend’s swing set, it became apparent to me at a young age that I was not meant to fly.

Over the last twenty-nine years, I have also realised:

1. My tree climbing talents are pretty much on par with that of a goldfish, and as such I am unlikely to ever become an Olympic Gymnast.

2. Despite my love of snow, snowballs, snow angels and snowmen, I once got so cold and wet playing in the white stuff that I cried for three hours and wished my fingers would fall off. The Polar Expedition I had planned with my brothers, Rainbow Brite and Kermit the Frog was swiftly called off.

3. Someone put salt in the sea and it doesn’t taste very nice. As such, there is simply no way I will be able to swim the Atlantic, solo, coated in goose fat – as hoped. Devastated.

4. I was conned. My invisibility dust turned out to be run-of-the-mill glitter. I not only failed to steal the cookie jar unnoticed, but left a sparkly path in my wake. Cat burglar I am not.

5. Despite fine-tuning a professional pout; my total inability to give up chicken wings is probably to blame for the downfall of my modelling career. (When I say “the downfall of”, I mean “my totally nonexistent”). Nando’s have a lot to answer for.

After so many setbacks, failures, fractures and disappointments in my life – I’d probably be justified in thinking that I belong on the scrapheap, along with cassette tapes, floppy disks, Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber. But, no. Occasionally (and I mean very occasionally) I have a moment of brilliance, which compensates for the fact I cannot fly:

After four fabulous and thoroughly loved-up years together, in the summer of 2009, Tony finally did the decent thing and got down on one knee at a local beauty spot and asked me to marry him. I squealed a little, cried a lot, leapt on him with delight, eventually remembered to say “yes” and then proceeded to fall down a rabbit hole. Needless to say – I was overjoyed. Within a week of our engagement I began to think of ideas for a suitably outstanding wedding gift for him. I mean EPIC. (Cufflinks were not an option).

Aside from me and rib-eye steak, one of the greatest loves of Tony’s life is Premiership football team Manchester United. So over the next two years I secretly sent 165 letters to 142 Manchester United players (past and present) in over half a dozen countries and many of them wrote back. I managed to collate over sixty-five autographs and best wishes on personalised Wedding Day greetings cards from some epic legends – including Ryan Giggs, Peter Schmeichel, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Bill Foulkes, Nobby Stiles, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. I compiled them in an album for him to open on the morning of our wedding day. He says he didn’t cry when he saw it, but I like to think he did. 

Post Honeymoon, Tony took said album into the office with him. I received this email from a senior work colleague that afternoon. It made me smile: 

I’m with Einstein on this; everybody is a genius. You just have to unlock the potential from within – and realise that thirty-six helium balloons will be insufficient to power your flight to the moon. Several hundred on the other hand…

A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear 12 year old me,

I have some good news and some not-so good news about the next 17 years. Where shall I begin?

I HATE TO BE THE ONE TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT…

  • You do not marry Ronan Keating.
  • As yet, there’s still no sign of hoverboards. (That Michael J Fox has a lot to answer for).
  • Take That split up. Robbie Williams gets fat. Gary Barlow also gets fat.
  • You haven’t yet holidayed in Space. Though you do get as far as Cyprus – and it’s fabulous.
  • In your quest to find a boyfriend who looks like Grant Mitchell – you end up dating a lot of men who look unfortunately like Phil Mitchell.

GREAT NEWS

  • You are no longer a short-arse.
  • You know that gawky looking fresh prince of Bel-Air? Think of him as an ugly duckling.
  • Gary Barlow gets fit. Take That reunite.
  • We have progress: Hillary Clinton is now officially more powerful than her husband Bill. Rugby Union legend Gareth Thomas came out. A black man runs the White House.
  • The Lion King returned to cinemas in 2011, this time – in high definition and 3D. You still remember (some of) the words.
  • You fall in love and get married. Your husband makes you smile every single day. I’m pleased to report –he doesn’t look a thing like Phil Mitchell.

SPOILER ALERT

  • That thing you’ve heard about called the internet? It’s going to be huge. It may even compensate for the lack of hoverboards.
  • You change your mind about the whole teaching career thing. Have a Plan E.
  • Princes William and Harry actually become borderline hotties. (Briefly).
  • Beware: Facebook.

No need to thank me – I know I am brilliant.

Yours,

Me (aged 29¼)

Kisses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

“Think Different”

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon

There was a sweet little girl on the bus today, with big brown eyes, short curly auburn hair and a cheeky grin. She turned to her mother and said “When I grow up, I want to be a tomato”. What a brilliant suggestion, I thought. Why didn’t I think of that?

I had to admire her ambition. After all, many grown-ups have pursued far more ludicrous career paths, with moderate success. Take Kirstie Allsopp for example – she can neither sew, nor glue, nor stitch nor paint in any coherent fashion whatsoever. I’ve seen grasshoppers with more artistic flair. Yet she has 2 television series to share her creative arts and crafts ‘talent’ with the nation. By contrast – David Beckham once reported in an interview that “at school whenever the teachers asked ‘What do you want to do when you’re older?’ I’d say, ‘I want to be a footballer’ and they’d say ‘No, what do you really want to do, for a job?’”

Unlike Beckham though – the vast majority of us never achieve our childhood dream of becoming a superhero / astronaut / secret agent / world-class footballer / piece of fruit. Occasionally, this isn’t such a bad thing:

Sir Elton John (back in the day when he still had hair and went by the name of Reg Dwight) wanted to be a footballer. Just imagine a world without the ‘Circle of Life’…No thank you.

Fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt thought he was destined to play cricket. I beg to differ.

Luciano Pavarotti – wanted to be a goalkeeper. Enough said.

Thanks to Elton’s mother, Usain’s cricket coach and Pavarotti’s brain for drawing their attention to the far more sensible career paths of rock star, lightning bolt and operatic tenor.

I would like to dedicate the following clever piece of marketing to the adorable little girl who wants to be a tomato:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”. Steve Jobs

Where’s Jimmy Savile when you need him?