Monday, 13 March 2017


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 enthusiasm 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 talk in my sleep?"  "Dunno," I replied, unwilling to be a straight-man to his performance of the grief-stricken son, so devoted 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 soGordon?" 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 a bereft 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. 


Anonymous said...

My father died in 1999 and soon after I was lying in bed, half asleep, and I heard him call "Colin !" from downstairs. I was obviously dreaming but it seemed so real it was unnerving. I can believe your friend also heard his father calling him. Perhaps he was milking his parents' deaths a bit for sympathy but that doesn't mean he didn't feel genuine grief.

Kid said...

Except you didn't know this guy, CJ - although you should by now, 'cos I've written about him often enough. First of all, he wasn't asleep. I knew this because I wasn't asleep, and I could tell by his breathing, even 'though I was on the other side of the room. What's more, he knew I wasn't asleep for the same reason. Also, his 'cry out' was delivered in a very self-conscious, theatrical manner - just the way a person would do if they wanted to give the impression they were talking in their sleep. Plus, his asking me if he talked in his sleep (as I'd anticipated he'd ask) was him fishing for a reaction so that he could tell me how much he missed his dad, to the extent that he thought he was still alive and could hear him talking to him. Trust me, I'd known the guy for most of my life at that point, so I knew what he was about. Incidentally, I also believe he DID feel some genuine grief (just not as much as he made out), but he also viewed, in a calculated way not normally part of a typical teenager's reaction, both his parents' deaths as opportunities to be exploited in pursuit of eliciting attention and sympathy.

paul Mcscotty said...

Even although this guy sound a bit of a pima donna he was only a teenager and maybe his family were not giving him the sympathy he was looking for , losing someone so close can affect people in all sorts of ways even if it was more of the same - he sounds a bit of a sad person is he still the same?.

That’s strange Colin my mum passed away in 2013 and whilst I never heard my name being called, 3 days after my mum was cremated my house lights etc started flashing on and off erratically for quite some time. Obviously thinking it was no more than an electrical issue I called Scottish Power to come look and showed them the video I took of it (it was so bad the guy switched off all my electric immediately and called the board to come dig up the road that very day) they worked on this for over a full week and said they couldn’t find anything (luckily for me it happened when they were in my house) nothing has happened since then - Im not saying it was spiritual or paranormal but a few months later I swore I saw a female figure (probably not my mum to be hoenst) at the end of my bed( I will admit that like Colin I hadn’t been sleeping well for weeks so was probably overly tired with an overactive mind) BUt I am still amazed by it all I mean, Scottish Power coming out the same day to do a repair ............spooky or what.

Kid said...

If you wake up and see a female figure at the end of your bed, PM, it more than likely means you never put your slippers on and walked the burd you picked up at the dancin' to the bus stop before going to sleep. (And she's probably going through your trouser pockets looking for loose change.) And yes, the Scottish Power aspect of that story is astonishing. It's obviously a once-in-a-lifetime event, never likely to be repeated. As for Billy Liar, I haven't spoken to him since 1981, but going by his Facebook page (which me and another pal looked up about three-odd years ago for a laugh) and comments he's left on School friend sites, he's still as full of sh*t as he ever was - if not more so.

John Pitt said...

We all SHOULD, if we were perfect people ourselves feel sorry for an individual with such mixed-up problems, but these are so extreme that it would exasperate the best of us! I think that humouring him would probably be the approach that I would have taken, rather than being truthful, which would probably have hurt his feelings.
Anyway, he's out of your life now ( "Thank goodness!", I hear you cry! )
As for Colin's and McScotty's experiences, well, all I can say is, "You never know?" Stranger things have happened!
As for my own "Billy Liar", he is rather tame in comparison to yours. He used to be like this:- he would brag to Tom about his heroism in the army and along comes Dick and Billy then proceeds to tell Dick ( whilst Tom is still stood there! ) about how he got sunk in the Navy and rescued everyone, single-handed! Then along comes Harry and Billy tells Harry, in front of Tom and Dick about the planes he used to fly in the RAF! All this and he was only 20!!

John Pitt said...

Ha ha, lovely last sentence, McS!

Kid said...

He sounds a total plonker, JP. The guy I knew claims today that he was fast-tracked through the Navy and became an officer on HMS Sheffield and other ships, and is a Falklands war veteran. However, in 1981, he was a porter in Haslar Hospital in Gosport, having been given a 'landlubber' job because he wasn't fit enough to continue as a sailor. And, before that, he used to carry a crash helmet and visit bars where bikers hung out, even 'though he didn't yet have a bike. Told them he had 'though, but that it was in for repair or some such nonsense.

John Pitt said...

Whereas my billy had previously been the president of a chapter of hells angels!!
Some people used to hum the tune to Jackanory once he started!
"NO,NO! It's bloody TRUE!", he would angrily protest!

Anonymous said...

My Billy Liar friend was called Roy and he was only a few months older than you, Kid. He joined the army in 1978 and left in 1981 (I met him in 1988). He had a medal for serving in Northern Ireland, which they all got, but that wasn't good enough so he bought a couple of second-hand medals and put them on display pretending they were his !

Kid said...

What gets me, JP, is that everybody laughs at these guys, but it doesn't seem to make any difference to them. You'd think that, after a while, it would sink in that people only see them as figures of ridicule and scorn, and that nobody believes anything they ever say. Then the saddos convince themselves that the lies they tell ARE true, and just can't understand why nobody believes them.


Everybody wants to be a hero I suppose, CJ, even if it's only in their own mind. It's definitely some sort of psychological disorder these people suffer from, but the trouble is that they sap the life from people with their ridiculous fantasies, until no one wants to be near them, never mind listen to their dreary p*sh.

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