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Friday, 24 May 2013

Seventeen.

                                                                 SEVENTEEN
                                                                                                                                                                 The beautiful girl is seventeen today. She stands five foot ten in her stocking feet, her skin glows, her eyes shine, her head is full of schemes and dreams of celebrity. She is armed and dangerous with  good vegetarian food,  a permanent iron supplement, height, and  a very good singing voice. What could go wrong? And she is clever, studious, disciplined, an  A student, but that's beside the point as far as she is concerned. She's going to be a rock star.

She is a determined girl. She told us, on her fourteenth birthday that she would from that day forth be  vegetarian  to the hilarity of the extended family, devoted meat eaters all from one generation to the next. . "Oh hey, that 'll never last. I mean just waft some steaming meat  under her nose,eh discretely, at dinner time " my thoroughly  carnivorous  entirely  kindly first son  advised.  "And" a little more alarmed as he considered a meatless existence, " if that doesn't work you can't allow.....I mean you'll have to...to..  put your foot down".  Hmmm.  She had wanted this for years at that point,  and I had stipulated a cooling off period, until her  fourteenth birthday. It seemed a long way off when she was ten.  She bided her time and this was it.

"How about the Law, or.. or.. Accountancy,  Science maybe , like um Engineering!", she looks at me blankly, as we discuss her CAO College  choices, to be made at the end of the year. "Arts! You might do a good Arts Degree, combine you know  maths and like  english"   I warm to the task but  her interest is merely polite.   What does that have to do with her or she with it? I think of how I saw a college degree as a way into a life, a source of cash to allow you do all the rest., when I stood in her shoes.  Admittedly It took me a while to get there. But neither I nor any other teenage hopeful I knew  saw celebrity, rock stardom as an option. Well there was the occasional boy who fancied himself as a guitar player, considered it only a  matter of time before he was discovered,  but hey he was for fun. You knew it if he didn't.

 "Darling girl," I want to say "  celebrity's cheap, stardom fleeting. And unlikely. A profession with attendant piece of paper though will actually sustain you in your life. And when your babies come, you will not be consumed by them, or consume them either, you will  mange to keep a piece of you for yourself, a tricky thing that. Go get your ticket to make your way in the world, have some stuff  of your own, when you come to wanting it,  to get it for yourself.  And whether the children come to you  or not, you will be somebody, a contender, dependant on no man or woman either  to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food in your mouth  And you will know that you can give a two finger salute to anyone who's asking for it, if that's your pleasure. Now that's so worth having in your head..

But I don't. I too am biding my time. I hope to lead her to it  in slow  time with much cunning. I know the way.