It doesn't happen very often that I am tempted to quote almost a full page of a book, but this funny, sad, hilarious, witty, wise, tragic - you name it - description of growing up is so great that I just have to. Even if it might also be a bit too fatalistic. It is only on page 25 of "Skippy Dies" by Paul Murray (I might - yet again - not be keeping up with the trend as this is already a multinational bestseller, but who cares) and has made me fall in love with the book, even if the rest of it would be utter shit. Which isn't the case, I can reassure you. So without further ado, this is it:
"You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone 'Give me the gun', etc. Then you start secondary school, and suddenly everyone's asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals, and by goals they don't mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg - that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you'd imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of 'life'. Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN, or FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until as the weeks go bay and the doors - GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE - keep closing, you begin to hear the sound as a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn't necessarily need to be closed... [...] the barrel of this grim de-dreamification, which, even more than hyperactive glands and the discovery of girls, seems to be the actual stuff of growing up [...]."