Post #264

When I was…

3rd March 2004, the wee hours | Comments (40)

A puppy sitting on a chair

When I was two, I climbed into our swimming pool and, unsurprisingly, sank straight to the bottom. I sat there, leaking air, until my brother spotted the bubbles, dived in, and saved my life.

When I was three, I passed the days sitting in our dog’s basket, eating his food.

When I was five, my toy Bear, Ben, stole my brother’s sweets and ate them. Despite my protestations, I got the blame. Later that year Ben broke a vase, and although circumstantial evidence pointed strongly at the stuffed animal, I was once again the focus of parental discipline.

When I was six, Ben kicked a puppy because it wouldn’t sit on command. He dislocated its shoulder with the blow.

When I was seven, I announced, in Church, that I was giving up picking my nose for Lent.

When I was eight, I told my school assembly that knowingly accepting too much change from a small shop was stealing, but taking more than you were owed from a large shop was okay, because they could afford it. Or at least that’s what my Mum says… The Headmistress phoned my mother to tell her of my speech.

When I was nine, my brother caught me kissing the Scottish Widows lady on the TV screen.

When I was ten, I took my mum’s best bucket and went fishing for newts at the local gravel pits. When Mum came looking for me, she found me walking back through a field of long grass, naked and wet, having had to dive into the pond to rescue the precious bucket when the string broke. Equal amounts of anger and amusement were rained down upon me.

When I was eleven, I kicked my brother in the head with my wellie boots. I’m still ashamed, though he probably doesn’t remember the incident.

When I was twelve, and on First Form Camp, I was wrongly accused of talking after lights-out (James Beverley was the true culprit) and was dragged from my tent to run up and down in the cold, wearing only one wellie and my underpants. I was also accused of throwing a knife into a tent (Beverley again) and endangering everyone by climbing a rock (okay, that was me).

When I was thirteen, I accidentally hit a boy in the eye with a tennis ball during a match. The teachers said I was good enough to have aimed it deliberately and disqualified me from the championship. I didn’t know whether to protect my good name, or my (previously unrealised) fame as a dead-shot tennis player.

When I was fourteen, I was too shy to ask a girl for a kiss, so each lunchtime (and much to our mutual embarrassment) Kate Knapman and I simply walked ’round and ’round the school holding hands. Guy Trust sang Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby” to us out the window of the common room. Not very helpful.

When I was fifteen, I went on a scout camp with James Beverly. We drove a British Leyland Princess, used trigonometry to cross a fake river, cooked sausages over a fire, and gave food poisoning to a girl named Polly. We both fell in love with her. She later fell in love with him. They’re getting married in July.

When I was sixteen, I went to Guy’s house and accidentally broke one of his parents’ expensive decorative plates. I ran off before they came home, and I’ve been terribly embarrassed about it ever since.

When I was seventeen, I couldn’t cope with girls.

When I was eighteen, I had a brain-haemorrhage doing weights.

When I was nineteen, I pinched thirty-two used plastic pint glasses from our Student Union Bar, and gave them as a present to a girl I liked. She didn’t sleep with me. Fancy that.

When I was twenty, I spent a month pretending to be Irish, and kissed more girls than at any other point in my life. (Yes, Nigel, ‘girls’, plural.)

When I was twenty-one, I worked as a hospital cleaner. On my first day I mistook a sleeping granny for a corpse and raised the alarm. Weeks later the reverse happened: assuming an elderly lady was sleeping I tiptoed around her private room, cleaning it as quietly as I could. I found out later that no amount of hoovering would have awoken her, as she’d been dead the whole time.

When I was twenty-two, I dreamt of killing my boss.

When I was twenty-three, and in the interests of Dunstan’s Beard Re-Growth Research, I plucked the beard from one half of my face, and shaved the beard on other half. It hurt. A lot. And I’ve since forgotten the outcome of the experiment.

When I was twenty-four, I moved to London and wasted far too much time before making friends with my housemates.

When I was twenty-five, I lost my girlfriend, my house, and my job in the space of two weeks. To escape I flew to Tucson, Arizona and met bank robbers, drug addicts, and trailer dwellers. A stripper mistook me for a Government official. The trip saved my life.

When I was twenty-six, I rode horses in Colorado and camped in the Italian Alps. I lived in the English countryside and didn’t see people, other than my parents, for weeks at a time. I didn’t get over the loss of my girlfriend.

When I was 27, [is still an ongoing project].

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Comments (40)

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  1. Chuckg:

    When I was 21 I was arrested for drunk in public for using a public telephone to phone a taxi. Apparently leaving a bar intoxicated doens't make any sense to police, nor does trying to get home quietly. [finishing that saga tommorow in court]

    Posted 34 minutes after the fact
  2. Ryan Brill:

    I'm surprised that you can remember that far back. A very interesting read, though. :)

    Posted 48 minutes after the fact
  3. Ian:

    Dunstan, is that a cocker spaniel?

    Posted 1 hour, 8 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan, ↓ Richard H.
  4. Garoo:

    I'm 28 and I couldn't think of more than a couple paragraphs if I wanted to make a similar post. Figures. Anyhow... you can have "a brain-hemorrhage doing weights"?!

    Posted 1 hour, 12 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Matt
  5. Matt:

    You sure can have a brain hemorrhage doing weights. It's mildly terrifying. I'd have that one in at 21 in my list.

    Posted 4 hours, 41 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Garoo
    Inspired: ↓ Chris Neale
  6. Kitta:

    You plucked your beard from one half of your face? How long did that take?

    Posted 6 hours, 2 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  7. David:

    You'd have had no chance with the Scottish Widows lady -- her dad was James Bond. ;)


    Posted 6 hours, 32 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  8. Stew:

    Ian: yeah it's a cocker-spaniel :)

    Posted 8 hours, 23 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan, ↓ Richard H.
  9. Dunstan:

    It took hours and hours, and it hurt like hell. There wasn't much to do, where I lived back then...

    Posted 9 hours, 55 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Kitta
  10. Dunstan:

    Actually it's a Springer Spaniel, I'm not sure of the difference (maybe there isn't any) but it's one of the many puppies that our dog, Jenny, had over the years.

    Man, were they cute...

    Posted 9 hours, 57 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Ian, ↑ Stew
    Inspired: ↓ Richard H.
  11. Dunstan:

    Ah, good spot, David.
    I think that was my first 'Star Crush'.

    Posted 10 hours, 3 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ David
  12. Richard H.:

    I thought it's a Springer!
    Springer is a little bigger than Cocker and has a shorter ears and coat. And is different in colors :)
    (We have two cockers, sweeties...)

    Posted 10 hours, 19 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Ian, ↑ Stew, ↑ Dunstan
  13. Andy:

    That was really moving.
    It made me want to give you a big hug.
    I've been reading you for a while, and that gave me a lot more insight on you. Maybe you should link to that from your Colophon?

    Posted 10 hours, 20 minutes after the fact
  14. Jay:

    twenty-four was a dull year ? Am i the only one who cares what happened then? But besides that, a very nice read indeed.

    Thank you for putting -once again- a smile on my face :)

    Posted 11 hours, 43 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  15. Owen:

    What about 'Orchard: the missing years'? 1-4, 20-21 and 24. Did nothing happen? I think we should be told.

    Posted 11 hours, 52 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  16. Waylman:

    What happened to Ben? He just sorta dissapeared on us there and you were suddenly taking the blame yourself.

    Good read though. I doubt I could remember at what age things happened, or even the correct sequence of events, in my life.

    Posted 12 hours, 10 minutes after the fact
  17. Dunstan:

    I've tried to fill in a couple of the blank years - still missing ages 1 and 4 though, but never mind...

    Posted 13 hours, 12 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jay, ↑ Owen
  18. Chris Neale:

    Dunston should know better - trusting an en-US spellchecker

    Haemorrhage ...

    Campaign for English Spelling

    Posted 13 hours, 14 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Matt
  19. Andreas:

    A nice story well told, as always.

    Posted 13 hours, 57 minutes after the fact
  20. Karen:

    Per Dunstan's 20th year:
    Funny, pretending to be English tends to accomplish the same thing in America.

    Posted 14 hours, 11 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  21. Dunstan:

    Really? Excellent, because I'm going to America in a couple of months... I shall start perfecting my beautifully enunciated Queen's English ;o)

    Posted 14 hours, 30 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Karen
    Inspired: ↓ Karen, ↓ Sian
  22. Karen:

    Bring Poppy along and you'll be all set. The English + puppy combination is a lethal one, I hear. :)

    Posted 15 hours, 2 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
  23. Jennifer Grucza:

    Hehe, I also loved the pretending to be Irish bit.

    How much older than you is your brother?

    Posted 16 hours, 57 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan, ↓ David Barrett
  24. Sian:

    I had a really, really, awful day at work and I've spent the last few minutes giggling, oooing and aaahing, forgetting all my woes. Thank you.

    Posted 17 hours, 5 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  25. Dunstan:

    Alastair is three years older than me - so he would have been five at the time.

    Posted 17 hours, 21 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jennifer Grucza
  26. Dunstan:

    Oh dear, well, glad to have cheered you up a wee bit, Sian :o)

    Posted 17 hours, 22 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Sian
  27. Jon Hicks:

    Ever feel like your life is dull and uneventful? I do now!

    You make me larf moy ruddy 'edd off you do...

    Posted 18 hours, 12 minutes after the fact
  28. Sarah:

    I can vouch for Sian's cruddy day in work. She inherited it from me because I had it yesterday. She also inherited a huuuge file of work from a colleague who is having difficulty in doing his job properly because he is not being given the support to do so by senior staff - it was a lot of work and Sian is too darned nice to kick up a fuss. so there.

    Dunstan... best bucket???

    Posted 20 hours, 2 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan, ↓ Sian
  29. S T E F:

    He he he.
    Thanks Dunstan. Jolly good entry. ;)

    That's funny because not more than a week has passed since a new co-worker said "you sound like you've lived several lives in one already".

    Why's that funny? Heh, because I hear that at least once a semester...

    A french poet said "J'ai plus vécu que si j'avais mille ans" ("I have lived more than in a thousand years"), and your entry made me think of exactly that.

    Posted 20 hours, 33 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Sian
  30. Dunstan:

    Yes, 'best bucket' :o)

    Buckets tend to go through various stages of muckiness on a farm, and I believe at the time the bucket I took was the cleanest, and shiniest of the bunch. The Best Bucket.

    Posted 20 hours, 40 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Sarah
    Inspired: ↓ Sian
  31. Sian:

    Between the two of you I'm now feeling pretty good!

    "I have lived more than in a thousand years" - certainly felt like that for Sarah and I this week, but for all the wrong reasons :(

    Posted 21 hours, 57 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Sarah, ↑ S T E F, ↑ Dunstan
  32. Sparticus:

    When I was seven I emptied a bag of building blocks of my brothers head from the top bunk.
    When I was nine I opened a bedroom door in my brothers face and gave him a black eye.
    When I was twelve I pushed my brother off a seven foot wall because he was too afraid to jump.

    What is it with odd numbered years of lives and violence towards older brothers?

    Posted 1 day, 7 hours after the fact
  33. David Barrett:

    Pretending to be Irish? How did you do that?

    I ask, as I've lived in Ireland since I was born. Maybe I'm not doing it right.

    Posted 1 day, 22 hours after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jennifer Grucza
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  34. Dunstan:

    You have to get the accent right (luckily I'm pretty good at those, but then, you're irish, so...), you have to smile a lot, you have to be funny, and you have to just say and do whatever you want - don't hold back.

    It's amazing.

    Though if I'm honest, I think it's less the accent, and more the way you behave when being 'irish'. You're confident, you're friendly, you're cheeky, you're happy. All pretty attractive things I'd say.

    p.s. Obviously try not to have an accent/voice like Jerry Adams or Ian Paisley.

    p.p.s. Or be a spokesman for the IRA.

    Posted 1 day, 22 hours after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ David Barrett
    Inspired: ↓ David Barrett
  35. David Barrett:

    Crap. I see what I did wrong. I probably shouldn't have been using "So, are you coming to the Ard Fheis? I hear Gerry has a great one lined up for us." as a chat up line.

    Thankfully I can notch up most of my failed attempts at romance to the fact that the objects of my affection were genuine lesbians (hilariously true). Plus, now I'm a Christian, and (as university is over, and I'm not much of a pub goer) most of my social interactions are with fellow Christians. Have you ever tried to find an openly dirty minded Christian girl?

    But I think this is wandering a bit off topic. I'll post something about it on my blog tonight or tomorrow morning.

    Posted 1 day, 23 hours after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
  36. StephanieKlein:

    I love this type of "I remember" exercise... what promted you to write it? Keep going... love your blog.

    Posted 4 days, 15 hours after the fact
  37. Leonardo Herrera:

    When I was two, my two older brothers put me on top of a piece of furniture with wheels and ran around the house, as I apparently enjoyed it very much. On a turn, I fell off and smashed my head pretty bad against the pillar of my mom's bed, and got unconscious. When my mother arrived, they promptly told her that I was sleeping.

    I've been told that I kept 'sleeping' until the next day.

    Posted 6 days, 17 hours after the fact
  38. Jo:

    When i was 27 i went out in such a short skirt, Dunstan didn't know where to look as he sat next to me in the car!

    Posted 1 week after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  39. Dunstan:

    It really was a _very_ short skirt... *dreamy reminisce*

    Posted 1 week after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jo
  40. Ms. Jen:

    Here in California: English or Irish accents are a BIG hit with the ladies. New York or Boston accents tend to be a minus...

    Posted 1 week, 1 day after the fact

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