I’ve heard talk of a world where the old were revered and respected: living in the homes of their children and grandchildren, and enjoying the attention years of hard work and accumulated wisdom had earned them. Where smoke rose in lazy whisps from houses filled with a gentle and soothing contentment. Disturbingly, I’ve also heard rumours of a place where Grandma might spend her whole time telling everyone how the country has gone to the dogs and everything was better in her day, including the fruit scones, but no problem. We’ve shipped large quantities of the aged into ‘spot the care homes’ so we can get on with our tennis coaching and ferrying the children to talent contests.
Now the pendulum has swung the other way and young children, who used to climb up those chimneys to clean them, are now the treasured symbols; almost the last bastions, of sweet innocence and their delicate sensibilities must be protected from any and every suggestion of bad influence.
With that in mind we take you to a hospital ward where mothers are recovering from child birth and their babies rest in a nearby crèche while they sleep. It so happens that the names of these babies are Stalin, Hitler, Goebbels, Khengis Khan, Mao, Jack the Ripper and that guy who ended up selling slightly ‘off’ fruit whose name I forget. He never amounted to anything anyway. LOSER
At regular intervals, some well-meaning personage stops by and, bending over this unique and amazing collection of mass murderers, psychopaths and deviants says “Coochie cooochie coo. Who’s a lovely boy then. WHOOOOSE A LOVELY BOY”. In fairness, none of them answer because none of them are, but Nurse World Peace doesn’t realise that. She’s lost in her dreams of sweetness and delight. The big question is, are these babies already nutcases of the first rank or does the sour and distressing quality of their childhood turn them into monsters?
I’ve no idea really. It all depends on whether you think we are all innately good but are thrown off track by a lack of chocolate and sausages, or that some people are just parcels of evil which the world unwraps at it’s peril.
That was the opinion of Dr J Guttleburg, originally destined for another solar system and with gifts different to ours, but sent here through a postal error. Now a would be astronomer, ( understandably ) and part time librarian, who possessed, for us, a unique and unprovable ability to see the future life of a baby just by looking at his cradle. This was not normally a problem. Little Alfred, the joy of his mother’s heart, morphs before Guttleburg’s eyes into his future as a beer swilling second rate tyre changer. Alright, not the best a man can be, but there are many worse careers. “I should know” he added darkly.
Anyway, returning to the point, imagine his horror as he passes this crèche and finds it packed full of ranters, frothers, mass murderers and psychopaths: all screaming at each other to follow ‘the’ chosen, if differing, paths. What would you do? He does what any sane man would in the circumstances and reaches for the fire axe before plunging through the door to commence a world saving cull of these monstrosities. Unfortunately he is tackled by some misguided security guard and carted off to jail while our little monsters are played a soothing passage from Wagner’s opera ‘Gotterdammerung’ to settle them down. Only Hitler is affected enough to mark the composer as his favourite during a subsequent and glittering career in politics.