On every Sunday morning for the first 16 years of my life I attended my local church. Whilst its fair to say the religious side of things meant absolutely nothing to me, I was there because my mother said I had to be, but it was a wonderful place to observe and learn.
I used to watch as at communion time, the little old ladies would queue up to receive their wafer, and sip of wine from the priest, and marvel at how they defied the disabilties of old age to shuffle up the aisle to complete, as they saw it, their religious duties.
At that time I was very much discovering the world and its workings, and being a young boy I hero-worshipped the tough and the daring. Be it Ian Botham smashing the Aussie bowling around Headingley in 1981, or Oxford United’s hard-man centre-half Gary Briggs tackling Doug Rougvie so hard Rougvie’s collar was broken, these were my heroes.
As time went by I added other experiences to my palate, travel, art, and literature, but there was, and is still the part of me that likes the idea of the James Bond, Alpha-male character, because its so far from my own personality and physical prowess.
Occasionally in the adult comic “Viz” there’s a strip called “Mrs Brady, Old Lady” about a senile pensioner and her friend Mildred. They speak of their ailments in a mixture of Les Dawson-esque euphemism, and almost gruesome medical detail, but time after time there they are, still not quite comprehending their own mortality. They did, however lead me to a conclusion, especially as its now my mother who’s joined the ranks of the little old ladies shuffling down the aisle at church.
You see for all these years I’d been labouring under a misapprehension. I’d considered the tough guys as being entirely different from the little old ladies. In fact the ladies are simply the stronger, after all when someone gets mugged but successfully fights back, is it the Stallone-type muscle man? Of course it isn’t, its the toughest of the tough-the little old lady. I await the Hollywood blockbuster with interest.