The first sign of trouble was when the Six Million Dollar Man appeared in Jason’s cubicle at work.
“Is that the one with the bionic eye?”
This is Phil, Jason’s best friend. Phil is still married.
“Yeah,” said Jason.
Phil looked around. “Tell me bud, what the hell are you going to do with a Six Million Dollar Man doll? At work?”
Phil had a point; Jason was 41.
“I don’t know. Mum had a clean out and sent me a box of stuff,” replied Jason.
“What are you, twelve?”
“Let me show you something else that was in the box,” said Jason. He produced a 1980’s Scalextric toy catalogue.
“I remember this stuff. Slot cars right?” asked Phil.
“Yeah, but look at the pictures. Look at these kids. Look how happy they are. I never had any of this stuff.”
“You realise that child is an actor? And this document is produced by the kind of people who work in our marketing department, right? You’ve met them, they make people want insurance.”
“I know, but,” said Jason.
“I mean look at this,” Phil indicated a page in the catalogue where a nuclear family was racing on an enormous slot car track, “nobody’s mum ever played slot cars with her kids.”
“Don’t you ever think about childhood?” asked Jason.
“I have three kids under 10,” replied Phil, “I’m consumed by childhood.”
“I mean your childhood.”
“It was the ‘70s, I’m not sure my parents put much thought into it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well they were drinking a lot of cask-wine as I recall. For example, my mum used to let me ride in the parcel shelf of her Volkswagen. Forget airbags, there weren’t even seatbelts in that heap of shit.”