MY oldest son is 13 years old and he’s underwhelmed by everything.
Armageddon could come to pass – with the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse setting the world on fire and God personally executing every sinner live on TV, including close members of our immediate family – and he would likely yawn and say: ‘Well, this is boring. When does the footy season start, Dad?’
He’s either full bore or not at all – in the arena or on the couch. But there are a few things that him excite him. And one is becoming a You Tube sensation. To those who know him, he’s called Dr Impossible.
His most creative work was a series of clips where he kicked his footy into bins and basketball hoops. It was set to the music from Rocky and showed him doing training before building toward a crescendo of clever tricks. It had earned him about 160 views before he quite temperamentally – he’s like a brilliant but fragile auteur when it comes to this stuff – took it down.
His newer works have included a pared back version of this original and a video of ping pong trick shots (balls casually tossed into cups). I take a starring role in one, sitting on the couch with a cup on my head as he nonchalantly tosses it in.
He assures me there’s an elite group of You Tube tricksters who get paid to roam around the world and record improbable trick videos in exotic locations. And maybe he’s right. I know if he could chuck in school now and devote himself to his craft, he would.
People have come up to me in the street and asked: ‘How’s Dr Impossible going? Loving his work.’
He hasn’t done anything that’s quite gone viral, but he’s a lot closer than me. And this, for me, is the problem. I’m living in the shadow of my teenage son. He could be ready to grab fame by the tail and my life is slipping into a cold and prolonged winter of discontent. I’m 41, fat (at least by medical estimates), bald and unpublished. I might have a book in me somewhere, but I certainly haven’t had much luck in dislodging it.
Now my son is taller than me, far better looking (quite honestly he’d be in for a troubled adolescence if he weren’t) and a potential You Tube sensation. In contrast, the only sensational aspect to me is my ability to eat sweet and sugary foods by the bucket load without feeling sick. But I’ve decided to fight back. If he can do it, why not me?
I’m cudgelling my brain for ideas of how I’ll take the cyber world by storm. No longer will I be blinded by the reflected glory of my son. Watch out world, here I come. The trouble with You Tube, though – like great book or film plots – is that everything has been done. Another stumbling block is that I have no discernible talent. I’ve been forced to think outside the square.
So if you see a man on You Tube (probably masked to protect my identity) doing banal things in the nude – vacuuming, doing dishes, paying bills – you’ll know who it is. It may not be as clever as my son’s work, but you never know what will go viral on You Tube. I may just have my day.