It is difficult to account for my existence in a couple of lines so I apologise in advance for the short story that follows….
Born in war torn Belfast several moons ago, I grew up and learned to keep my head down, my political ideas to myself and religion for those dark corners when there is no one else to turn to. I developed a rare and usually fatal form of cancer when I was 5 years old. A huge tumour developed in my stomach growing daily and enveloping most of my vital organs. despite the opinions of many experts I actually managed to attend my 6th birthday party. Sadly many of my brothers in arms could not join me. Death was my constant companion as I spent most of my early years in hospitals watching friends die or “go upstairs“ as I was told. It was in the hospital that I developed many of the phobias and traits that have made me the man I am today. Fear of the dark, fascination with travel and adventure, dislike of being kept indoors, a great imagination, a good sense of humour and a reluctance to believe anything I hear or read. Oh ! And no interest what so ever in spending 40 years of my life wearing the same clothes and working for the same people ! When modern medicine failed to cure my cancer and the doctors announced my impending departure, my family brought me to a faith healer in central Belfast. Curiously enough the man was technically the enemy and we required an escort to the council flat complex where he resided. Cutting a long and mind scaring story very short… Six months later I was cured and two years later my family moved to an adorable little country village on the banks of the River Liffey in Southern Ireland. My childhood was dramatically transformed for the better, I made many friends, learned to build huts in the forests, climb trees, fish, swim, fight and play games that didn’t have the word ‘barrier’ or ‘interrogation’ in them. I was free and very happy. I joined the scouts, got into adventures, spent a lot of time getting wet and wishing some one would invent a better tent. Excepting the constant pain in my spine and lower back, Life was idyllic. That all changed on my sixteenth birthday. The growth in my pelvis had fused from the excess of radiation treatment I had received in hospital. Now that I was leading such an active life the muscles in my upper body had developed but the muscles in my lower body had not. Once more the experts told me to abandon all plans for the future and be prepared to spend my remaining years in a wheel chair. To a sixteen year old boy with dreams of becoming an officer in the army death was a better option. Amazingly the fact that I had cancer came as a shock to me, for ten years I had completely blocked the past from my mind ! Several painful years later my family and I developed a Back brace modelled on a corset which allowed me significant mobility. When I left school (after causing a considerable amount of trouble ) I boarded the emigration ship which had evolved into a jumbo jet and found myself in a city with lots of drugs, prostitution, guns and people who called me ‘Mick’ all the time. I tried the pizza met some interesting people who did things that are illegal, learned about racism and returned to Ireland as fast as I could. I went to art college, and got a job in Murakami wolf drawing cartoons for the Teen age mutant ninja Turtles show. Two years later the company that employed us decide that it was better to hire Koreans for three bowls of rice a day and I found myself unemployed and unable to pass the easiest of medicals. The dissident inside me had enough !With some advise from my local doctor I exercised every day developing my stomach muscles and reducing my upper body weight. With my mothers help we designed a new back support which was water proof, washable and allowed me sufficient mobility to bend my body more than 20 degrees. Then I gathered up some of my unemployed friends, purchased ex army equipment and marched across Europe. Several thousand miles later I returned to Ireland considerably darker and with tales of high adventure. Cutting another story very short our adventures found us encountering terrorists, spending nights in foreign jails, learning to play music, living in forests with gypsies and sailing with smugglers. Furthermore our expedition had taught me two valuable lessons. Life is all about perspective and marching is not the best mode of transport. So tow of my unemployed friends and I visited the junkyard and collected parts to build three bicycles. My back support had to be adjusted as did the bicycle seat and handlebars. However with a lot of effort and lots of practice the pain eventually eased and I was able to keep pace with the rest of the squadron. Several thousand miles later I returned to Ireland with more tails of adventure and a healthy tan. I worked with the army, learned to fly, spent a lot of time on motorbikes, studied computer programming, worked for the Great Irish lottery scandal, (although I didn’t know it at the time) and tried to do as mush as possible because you never know when you are eating your last breakfast. Eventually I returned to university where I read history, worked as an archaeologist and took a masters degree in Medieval history. It was an enlightening and enjoyable experience. We were trained to think clearly, form a cohesive argument, research and write more essays than I care to remember. I learned how to fence made many new friends and I also learned the following…Through the eyes of a scientist the world is a fascinating place with amazing potential. And many puzzles to be solved. Through the eyes of a historian the world is hell on earth, a place where the infestation know as man commits horrific crimes against his own kind. There is no truth, most of what you read is a lie and after two thousand years of war oppression and racial hatred it is unlikely that we learn form our mistakes. On a happier note, I saved all my money and bought a barge which I have resided upon for the past two years. I met some lovely people and the ‘Peacock’ as the fair vessel is known has brought me many new adventures and allowed me to enjoy a tranquil and fulfilled existence. I was working as an editor for the county council until I was transferred and became a ‘library assistant‘ grade whogivesadamn, naturally I quit. I am now in Central America exploring and learning how we (the white man ) live on the backs of the poor. I have met some wonderful people and witnessed some terrible poverty, survived a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, a hurricane and an insane buss driver. I am currently writing a book about my adventures here and hope to write another about my adventures in the past. I have met a delightful native girl and hope to become her proud husband in the months that follow. I have no interest in continuing my career as a historian as I think Mel Gibson and Steven Spielberg have brought more history to the world than any academic. I am thirty something years old and I hope to make it to forty some day. I have published several historical and archaeological works. I hope to earn a living writing and most of my friends agree that if I write as much as I talk I should do well. I suppose the most important thing I can tell you is…
Never bring a fool on holiday you can always pick one up when you get there.
One can not soar like an eagle when flying with turkeys.
Interests: Annoying historians, living, reading, writing, Boats, bikes, computer games, surfing, avoiding 9-5 jobs, History, Arcahaeology, exploring and finding stuff.
Published writer: No