How do you explain getting old to a kid?

SHEA TOMKINS

Published 09/01/2013 | 10:37

Tuesday: All is quiet on New Year's Day. On the sofa the young lad and younger lad are ten Roses away from seeing their reflections on the bottom of the tin, so we decide it is time to pluck them from their comforts and expose them to the elements. Sometimes I feel it would be easier to drag sceptical mules through a glue-farm gate.

On the pavement we meet a few red-faced joggers, obviously 'resolutioners', bent over in two and gasping for air. Every now and then a cyclist whizzes past. Some of them are snugly fitted into, and others are unashamedly bulging out of their new sports gear. A real sense of rebirth is circulating, and I can safely say that New Year's Day is one of my favourite days of the year.

Society becomes invigorated by a collective selfimprovement vibe, even if in most cases these good intentions will have slithered to the bottom of a wine glass by the time the next full moon bares its chest. Then, out of the blue, the young lad asks the good woman a question. 'Why do people go for afternoon naps?' It's not quite up there with 'what's a nipple?' which we got last week, but an interesting query all the same.

I listen with intrigue as she explains that as people get older they sometimes like to have an afternoon nap, to recharge their batteries so that they will be in good form for the rest of the day.

He takes this information on board and processes it for a moment or two. Then he asks her another question. 'Does Frank Lampard take afternoon naps? Daddy says that Chelsea want to get rid of him because he's gone too old.' She leaves that one to me. When it comes to age, it appears, kids class anyone that sprouts facial hair or gets turned on at the thoughts of buying a new hoover over the hill. They might be right. Thursday: I read today that running up to 20 miles a week can help you to live longer and as has become tradition in our house come January, we are discussing marathons. The good woman crossed her first full-marathon line last year, and has had one up on me ever since. I see the Newry City Marathon takes place on May 26th this year, and that gives me plenty of time to creak open the hinges to my lungs, I would imagine. October's Dublin equivalent is simply too far in the distance to incentivise.

My problem is that I need to have a ball rolling along in front of me when I am running to keep me interested, like a donkey needs a carrot, or a hound needs a hare. Running, oh alright, but suggest a healthy alternative and I could be easily swayed. Saturday: I have decided what my ultimate goal for 2013 will be. At the top of the town in which we go about our daily business is an old public telephone box. The other day I stood looking at it, sensing that it was trying to tell me something. Then it came to me.

Years ago it was all the rage to try and break the world record for the number of people that you could fit inside a phone box, but it seems that no one has tried it for ages – at least not in Ireland.

A few quick Google searches and I see the record is currently held by a group of London contortionists, who fitted in an impressive seven bodies while adhering to the Guinness Book of Records official guidelines (must be over 18 and over five feet high). Plus they must hold their position for over five seconds.

This year, therefore, my goal is to break the record for the number of Irish people fitted into a phone box. Hopefully, by 2014, we will have earned a place in the most famous record book of all time. All I need now are eight volunteers – though regular Guinness drinkers need not apply.

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