Action Man or GI Joe as he is known in the USA, was an action figure from my childhood. A boys doll basically. There are obvious comparisons to myself that I could make. But that isn’t the purpose of this blog. It would be a moot point.
The other day, as I was staring out at the rain bouncing on the paving slabs. I had a memory of my childhood.
Often on wet days as a child I would stay inside and send my Action Man outside. I guess I was practising delegation. Do you remember Thunderbirds? Of course you do. They have done a new version of it. Thunderbirds are GO! Well, every episode it seemed to be raining, actually a major storm. One of the Thunderbirds would be out, braving the storm, to rescue whoever. There would always be one crew member inside, manning the electronics console. That was me in my imagination. Then one crew member would be out in the storm, rescuing people.
There I was as a young lad imagining myself in the control room. OK, in the dry and warm. Sending my Action Man figure out on a rope. Well, bit of string. From my bedroom window down into the garden. Except, in my imagination they were heading into a volcano. Or across a bridge that was falling to bits. Or into a skyscraper that was barely holding together after an earthquake.
All these memories came flooding back as I looked out at the rain. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the Action Man figure I was holding on a piece of string. Some of you will believe that last sentence.
I’m in my early sixties now. If you’re shocked, think about it from my perspective. These memories are from when I was about ten or eleven. Yet they feel so recent. Time is an odd thing isn’t it? As we move forward it’s a bit like to rushing into the sea. You have left the beach and run headlong into the waves. As the waves reach your head height you push forward unaware of what lies ahead. You can guess what is before you, others have told you. You have a fair idea. But you don’t really know. There could be shingle or stones. A big drop. Maybe sea life. A dolphin, fish or a shark. Maybe there is just soft, flat sand and water. But you don’t know.
Our future is like that. We can look behind us and see where we have been. Memories show us that with varying degrees of clarity. But we cannot see ahead. The older we get, the further behind we see and the more aware we become of how blind we are to the future.
That’s why I can look out on a rainy day and see myself as a young lad playing with his toys. Thunderbirds are Go! Now where did I put my Action Man?
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