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Monday, 13 March 2017
TEENAGE TALES: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY...
Just because I'm starting on a new Teenage Tales,
it doesn't mean I've finished with the last one. As you'll
recall, I was telling you about a guy called Adam Cowie,
who was a sad fantasist totally disconnected from reality.
In the previous instalment, I recounted the story of the
night his mother died, but there's a bizarre incident
concerning her death that demands to be told.
Adam's blind parents attended a local Baptist
Church, which, among its members, was a contingent
of - well, let's be honest - nut-jobs, who were into things
like speaking in tongues and modern-day miracles. Some
folk - usually highly-strung, socially inadequate oddballs -
need to feel closer to God than 'ordinary' churchgoers,
and you'll find them in most places of worship, always
smiling and praying and hugging and frightening
normal people away from attending.
Anyway, one of this group was convinced that
God had revealed to him that, though ill, Mrs. Cowie
would make a full recovery. He must have misheard, as
Mrs. Cowie died and exposed him as the deluded diddy he
was, but he wasn't easily deterred. This was clearly a test of
faith designed to reveal the 'handiwork of the Lord', so this
small group of 'neo-pentecostalists' gathered around the
bed of the dead woman, held hands, and prayed to the
Almighty for the miracle He'd clearly intended to
follow Mrs. Cowie's 'temporary' expiration.
Mr. Cowie wasn't really into all this sort of stuff,
but, from what I heard afterwards, he found himself
unable to quell the group's determination and enthusi-
asm to 'glorify God' by restoring life to the inert body of
his deceased wife. Also, there was probably a small part
of him that hoped against hope that this band of zealots
might accomplish what they were all convinced they
could do. Sadly, it was not to be, and Mrs. Cowie
remained lifeless in her bed.
Quite a horror story, eh? Don't get me wrong, it's
not my intention to knock religious people, but when
a group's so-called beliefs inflict such a level of pain on
someone at the point of bereavement, then I'd suggest it's
past time for them to take a long hard look at themselves.
However, that's not the main story I intended to tell, so
permit me to get back on track before you all decide
to bail out over to 'Steve Does Comics'. (Hey,
whaddya mean, too late!?)
Around two years or so later, having moved to a
small flat, old Mr. Cowie went to be with his departed
wife. I didn't live too far from what was now Adam's flat,
and sometimes I'd stay overnight and we'd watch films on
TV, read comics, and talk the nonsense that all teenagers
do. Anyway, one morning, in the small hours, as I dozed
in one chair and Adam dozed in another, he suddenly
(and loudly) blurted out "Right, dad, I'll make you
a cup of tea in a minute."
Neither of us were actually asleep, just dozing,
and I could tell that Adam was indulging in a bit of
theatre for my benefit, intended to 'set the stage' for
some coming denouement. I was correct, as a few hours
afterwards when we were both up and about, he enquired
(trying far too hard to sound casual), "Gordon, do I talk in
my sleep?" "Dunno," I replied, unwilling to be a straight-
man to his performance of the grief-stricken son, so de-
voted to his father that he spoke to him in his sleep.
And performance it was, to be sure.
This was confirmed a day or two later, when we
were in a pub (I was on Cokes), and he was telling an
acquaintance that his father had not long passed away.
"Me and my dad were really, really close - isn't that so,
Gordon?" he asked, looking for my support in his role as
the devastated mourner. Now, truth be told, I didn't have
a clue if they were or not, but he obviously believed that
the closer his stated relationship between himself and his
father, the greater his grief would be assumed to be by
people because of it. "Yeah," I said, resignedly
and with no great conviction.
Who knows, maybe we all fall into playing the
roles that fate seems to expect from us in any given
situation, but you'd think we'd be able to put it on hold
in the face of bereavement. It seemed to me that Adam
was mostly going through the motions of being abereft
son, and that his folks' deaths had provided him with
an opportunity to stand centre-stage for a while
and bask in a captive audience's attention.
I'd better call it quits now before you accuse me
of being too cynical. Another Teenage Tales episode
coming soon, about a man who claimed that God told
him to take a bath. Intrigued? Then don't forget
to remember to drop in again.