I recently completed a written application that asked me for details of my “life to date”. When I found my initial response to be too long I felt it necessary to remove the summary of my childhood years to focus solely on my adulthood, for which I suspected the reviewer might find to be slightly more relevant. I copy that removed extract here, in the name of posterity.
The pieces of the puzzle of my formative years are difficult to piece together with accuracy. From what I can gather, in an attempt to save me from a visiting cannibalistic Belgian circus, my parents placed me in a large plastic egg and left me to drift down the Zambezi River not long after I was born. Days later, a bold, lost mandrill plucked me out of the river, saving me from almost certain death as I watched the egg that had become my home topple over the edge of Victoria Falls and plummet to its destruction. After a tearful farewell, my colourful saviour left me with a kind family of pangolins, who raised me as one of their own. Although not the most intellectually stimulating of upbringings, my early childhood was a happy one.
I forget what age I was when a Brazilian Scientology missionary spotted me foraging for termites in the Zambian bush. He adopted me and instilled a sense of great wonder in ridiculous science fiction although I didn’t get to know him too well because the flight returning to his home country, on which I joined him, never reached its intended destination. The pilot, it transpired, had an unfortunate predilection towards psychedelic drugs and after announcing that he wanted to “go out and check that the wings are still there”, the emergency exit door flung open, the pilot disappeared, cabin pressure dropped and the plane span out of control. A remarkably calm pteromerhanophobic elderly dwarf gifted me his emergency parachute and after leaping out of the plane, I watched as it exploded into a ball of flames in the mountains of Azerbaijan. To this day I have no idea why the flight from Zambia was taking such a peculiar route to Brazil.
After a goat herder alerted them to my presence, I was collected by, and quickly became a mascot of, Azerbaijan’s fledgling secret space programme. The team and I became very close very quickly and I was frequently allowed to take part in their testing programme. When I apparently showed great promise I was put on a fast track to becoming the world’s youngest astronaut and on only their second manned mission I became the first child in space. This is, of course, revealed in the strictest confidence.
Aided by a combination of raging teenage hormones and, I suspect, exposure to huge levels of radiation on my space travels, I underwent a massive physical and emotional transformation…
All of the staff truly loved me and I remember that family with great fondness but, as they struggled to operate with a terribly limited budget, they had little choice but to sell their most valuable assets. And their most valuable asset of all was me. The enthusiastic buyer was a mysterious consortium of small Alaskan businesses and although their demeanour was initially friendly, the toothless smile of a big buxom bald bruiser of a nun being especially memorable, they didn’t take too kindly to my hesitation in taking part in their somewhat sadistic cosmetic trials. Their attempts at restraining me failed when, aided by a combination of raging teenage hormones and, I suspect, exposure to huge levels of radiation on my space travels, I underwent a massive physical and emotional transformation, burst out of my shackles, overpowered my captors, and escaped from their Arctic testing facility.
For 57 days and nights I marched eastwards, braving blizzards, admiring tundra, crawling through forests, waving at muskoxen, dancing with meadow mice, and doing my best to avoid human contact across the entire width of Canada until, eventually, I reached Quebec City. With a poetic nod to my earliest memory, I dived into the Saint Lawrence River, swam into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and from there into the Atlantic Ocean. With a rugged pair of boxer shorts as my only source of warmth and fistfuls of kelp my only source of sustenance, following fights with gargantuan angry killer whales, battles with violent, blood-hungry pirates, and a minor quarrel with a rather ordinary man named Keith, I arrived on the shores of the United Kingdom 33 days later, marking the beginning of the new, relatively mundane chapters of my adult life.
Written by Patrick Griffiths on .