I shall admit right off the bat that I have never read A Tale of Two Cities* and to be honest, I probably never will. However my literary inadequacies aside, I am going to assume that ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…‘ was written about the trials and tribulations of travelling and visiting family and friends with small children in tow? Children under 3 years old. Children who, as loved as they are (and as cute as they are) (when they’re asleep) can incite riot and muster thoughts of a murderous nature.
Am I right? Surely I am?
Surely Dickens penned those very words after his bedraggled return from visiting relatives in Leeds? After driving his Vauxhall Zafira up and down the M1 with Armageddon running amok on the back seat? Surely he felt impelled to ink his quill after being forced to tolerate the musical misery of a toy piano with a demo track that will, at the push of a button, spew out it’s plinky-plonky bile, for the endless amusement of the nappy wearers. Nappy wearers who will happily SCREAM with delight for hours and HOURS on end, seemingly never tiring and seemingly never becoming aware that at least one of the adults in the vehicle is contemplating their demise.
Surely it is the case that Charles scribbled away by candlelight as a direct result of watching his son EXPLODE all over the freshly decorated guest room of this brother. Surely that experience helped inspire those famous words? The event of watching his wife remove a nappy from one of his children at 3 O’clock in the morning, whilst his other child pulled a catalogue of funny faces and omitted a cacophony of new sounds, enrapturing the bare bottomed one to the point of relinquishing all ownership of all liquids within his body at the very point that his nappy was removed. An unexpected early morning cascade made all the worse as the ‘sprinkler system’ was held aloft and carried frantically around the room by his Father, who in an attempt to stem the flow and lessen the damage, inadvertently demonstrated that the guest bedroom could in no way double up as a wet room. Too much electrical equipment. Too many soft furnishings.
I am assuming that watching his children pirouette, roll, crawl and crash all around his best friend’s flat inspired Mr Dickens to muse so eloquently? Surely he found inspiration in the beautiful irony that his best friend’s flat is full of toys, FULL OF TOYS, but none of the toys, NONE OF THE TOYS, are allowed to be touched (or heaven forbid played with) as they are collectable toys? Surely being able to see the whites of his best friend’s eyes and hear the sound of his rectum tighten to the point of risking spontaneous human inside-outness must have helped him write? Surely sensing the shift of his best friend’s girlfriend’s biological clock switching itself into reverse and her body preparing to spit out her womb in disgust, as his children roamed freely, completely ignoring their Father’s requests to ‘PUT THAT DOWN’, must have helped him scribe those fateful lines?
As I said at the beginning, one can only assume, and to assume is to make an ass out of you and me huh?
One can also note that the above ramblings ponder only the ‘worst of times’ (dependant on perspective) and touch not upon the ‘best of times’. Well. Everyone, I am sure, survived. No-one was bumped off. No-one, as far as I am aware, filed for divorce or sought out adoption papers. No-one, to the best of my knowledge, attempted to gain power of attorney and no-one rang those nice 118-118 men to ascertain Childline’s contact details. And somebody got to write something down for his own personal posterity.
Result I’d say. Nice one Charlie.
*A Tale of Two Cities is the now well-known and published title. I believe the working title was: A Tale of The Journey Between Two Cities and the Hell Betwixt.