One tough bloke
"My dad joined the Army at the age of 13 with a forged birth certificate. He was unusually tall for his age and being the Depression era, it was a way to get a roof over your head and three meals a day. Anyway, he ended up in a coastal artillery unit on the island of Corregidor in Manila Bay. He was there when the Japanese invaded the Philippines early in WWII. He survived the siege and fall of Corregidor, the Bataan death march and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war. He suffered from many health problems related to physical abuse, malnutrition and parasitic infection during that time. Most of his doctors told him he would likely not survive past 40. Still, he met and married my mum, raised three boys (of which I am the youngest), and worked until the last year of his life. He died at the age of 78. He was and will always be my greatest hero."
More true confessions
1. A while ago I inadvertently nicked a garlic bulb by accidentally not moving it from my trolley to the till, and only realising it was there when I got the trolley back to my car. It felt good so now I do it every time.
2. Took a pair of walkie-talkies to a music festival, ostensibly to keep in touch with friends. By chance, I found the security frequency and amused myself by sending them on wild goose chases instead.
3. In the 80s a friend and I created a poster saying a then-famous boy band were appearing at a local record shop. Photocopied several hundred copies and put them up around town. About 100 girls turned up, some of whom were in tears when they discovered it was a hoax.
4. I was struggling to sell an old Land Rover when a friend of a friend said he was interested but worried about the fuel economy. I let him borrow it for a week, but every night l sneaked up his driveway and poured a couple of litres of petrol into the tank. He bought it.
5. I once ate a whole block of cheese in the cinema.
Footnote to the story
Tales from the morgue
A reader writes: "I had an after-school job at an undertakers helping with pickups during the night. I was just a kid so I had to hold the feet while we put the body in a stretcher and then in the pickup wagon. The first one I picked up moaned as we transferred her on to the stretcher in the morgue as the air was forced out of her lungs. The next day I was in the back seat of a trolley bus going home from school and was demonstrating the noise to a mate. There was an elegant young lady sitting near us listening. She was absolutely horrified. I was a horrible child. Fun though. I got 10 shillings per pickup."