It was a warm, barmy evening, I could have been mistaken for an old fella with a beer belly, sitting like a beached whale on a sofa , watching telly with the worst of my generation probably doing the same. I was not only capable of being mistaken for an old fella, I was an old belly-up-left-and -centre-of-a-belt fella. I was a lapsed calorie-offender making another mistake en route to the weighing scales. And that mistake was an extra chocolate bar, when I was doing nearly well whilst following an Atkins or was it ..never mind ...it was a diet involving a lack of chocolate and generally anything vaguely scrummy. I succumbed, I indulged and new trousers ~elasticated ~ were the order of the day... well the next forty years .....touch wood.
I was that fella. I was kind of happy with my lot and accepting of the reduced view of my feet due to a belly. I was calm, it was Friday, work was a distant memory. Monday was an age away. I was comfortable in middle age spread for once.
Then slowly but surely a distant whispering crescendo-ed in possibly minutes, these early noises, I was trained to ignore. A first mistake these were minutes in the early years of teenage, I ignored at my peril.... voices heard in octave busting clarity ended with a clatter........ and then some cries of hatred called out like a defining moment on World History...what had he done... what was now lost to Mankind,, there were interspersed crying tears. I am afraid. I am home alone with teenagers.
I was being called to be a father, a father who had to adjudicate on a Sibling rivalry incident...the Chair Incident.
As any good detective I surveyed the scene. There was good news - there was no body. I had to evaluate instead between the clothes that littered the floor, the boxes that littered the floor, the CD, DVD, Gamestation boxes that littered the floor, the unidentified objects that littered the floor and was that a crisp wrapper ...no... it was three crisp wrappers; and as a good detective I was there to evaluate what was there before and after.
The ~after~ by clever logic of the blindingly obvious, as a chair lay broken in two and a sister claiming that this was her most worthy, best-est ever chair and now it was broken by a heartless cruel older brother with evil in his blood and original sin as birth defect. He, on the other competing hand, professed in a series of shouts that between the injustices and mockery of human rights that his parent's shortcomings were, that he had forewarned the claimant ~ his sister ~ this foreign object ...the chair...should be removed forthwith from his personal space i dot e dot what we shall now call his bedroom. It should not have been his room, room spelt HIS ROOM and was therefore legally evicted by the defendent, in the absence of any effort by said sister to even hint at raising a little finger to raise the plastic of the chair upwards or as we should now call the chair ~the broken chair~ and that in the absence of any sign of actual removing the offending object, he ~the defendent or as the criminals courts may refer to him in about two years time ~ a teenage deliquent from a broken home, as the obvious escalation of the seed event "a.k.a. the broken chair incident" by any known law of nuclear family chain reaction ~, but anyway, he ~the teenage delinquent ~ used unnecessary and uncalled for violence on an object destined to have become a treasured heirloom for her ~ the victim's~ children and my ~ a sad person's~ grandchildren.
Tensions were still high and if little fingers could not be raised, middle fingers were being secretly ...well not so secretly... shown. Calling in the social workers was an alternative, an alternative to be averted, but how?
A Father has got to do what a Father's got to do. I snapped.... not literally because I have a perspective as an adult... I snapped the plastic seat of the chair into the metal frame of the chair, the family heirloom was as if new, I demanded apologies of both to be given and sent both to do their own thing. The Chair incident was over, just like my television programme.
The next years will be long and without televised entertainment.