A is for Arrival
1996 was a fine year.
It was the year that brought us movies such as Trainspotting, Star Trek: First Contact, Space Jam, From Dusk till Dawn and The Rock. If you were into gaming (I mean, you should be), you’d have been playing Quake, Tomb Raider or Mario Cart 64. In music, Michael Jackson was singing to the Earth, Oasis were angry and looking all over the place and the Spice Girls were… spicing?
1996 also happened to be the year I was born, conveniently pretty much slap bang in the middle of it, June 12th (I guess I only just missed out on being part of the second-gen 1996 babies). Fun fact, if I’d have been born in neighboring France, the number 1 song in the week of my birth would have been a bizarre remix of The X Files theme, damn.
So yes, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Bradford West Yorkshire was the place and 1:30pm was the time (the number of times I woke up on the morning of my birthday only to be told “No, you can’t open your gifts until after after 1” was too just many to count, p.s, I opened them anyway). Unsurprisingly, I don’t remember much apart from being dragged kicking and screaming into the light, looking back and thinking ‘Well, that’s probably the last time I’m gonna be anywhere near one of those’.
I was the first child for my dad, and the second for my mum. I was joining an older half-sister, born 1990, 6 years and 6 days older than me (and if I find out it was 6 hours as well, I may need suggestions for a double exorcism). I later found out that up until the 11th hour, my name was intended to be ‘Kelvin’ (as requested by my great-grandmother, who we’re pretty sure was trying to say ‘Calvin’) which was quite a bit rarer to say the least. So when I finally arrived what did they do? Turn to the book of baby names and pick one of the most popular names of the 1996, Jack.
Moving on into playschool and nursery, it became apparent that I had issues sharing and playing nicely with other children. A time that I vividly remember was playing with a group of other kids with large hollow wooden bricks, building a fort or castle of some kind. Naturally I had my idea (the best idea I might add, not that I’m still bitter at all) of how it should be built and another kid had the audacity to challenge my leadership, so I threw one of the surprisingly heavy wooden bricks at him and carried on, because that’s a thing normal children do. Around the same time, I commandeered the toy kitchen and refused to allow anyone else to play, if only my culinary skills could have developed the same way (I would like to point out I make a bangin’ Pot Noodle).
Throughout this time, I remember preferring to stick to myself and creating my own games as opposed to playing with others (the incident with the wooden brick just proved to me that I’d always struggle getting my views across, inevitably leading to further frustration). I was very good at picking up the cheapest play set in the room, grabbing a completely unrelated action figure (think a weathered Medieval castle and a futuristic Action-Man) and acting out a story that could go on for hours, full of the expected twists and turns and surprise Dalek cameos. I look back on this now and it seems a little sad. While I was doing this the others in my group were playing together, potentially forming the early seeds of confidence that helps carry you through life. Oh well, did your Action-Man ever time travel and slay Dragons and Daleks with RoboCop? Didn’t think so.
Even from such an early age, I believe my mold was already forming. Doesn’t work well with others, shy, quiet and reserved but creative and quirky nonetheless (if I do say so myself). I wouldn’t say I have a mantra, or life motto, but if I did the essence of it would be that I shouldn’t ever wish for things to be any different to how they were. We could all think about our lives wishing we could go back in time and change something that would have made them “better”, but those experiences make us what we are today. Do I believe my life would be better if I was more confident, if I was more sociable and could gel with people easier? Probably, but I would never know that feeling if so. Who knows what kind of douchbag I could have turned out like if everything in my life went “right”.