Sunday, 27 June 2010

When Tarzan passed me by

Curiously I do not aspire to be someone else. This of course has not always been the case. Many years ago when Johnny Weismuller was Tarzan at the flicks I desperately wanted to be him. He was everything that a ten year old boy aspired to. His skills at handing animals, the jungle and Jane were a terrible obsession for me.

What more could a young boy want to be but a man for all seasons, battling foes, deadly creatures and best of all being admired by the nubile Jane.

Apart from taking the dog for a walk at home or avoiding the cat swinging a clawed paw at me life was pretty dull. Where we lived in the outskirts of a small town not 40 miles from London the wildest animals seen would be the squirrels in the trees or a wily fox slinking along in the half light.

Just to make matters worse at that time I couldn't even swim. Tarzan swam with enormous energy at an amazing speed, as of course he could in real life, having been an Olympic champion.

My brother and I often attempted to build a tree house, filching our father's tools, nails and pieces of wood to construct a miserable platform that fell to bits because we were just not competent enough. We competed of course as to whom was actually Tarzan and I being the smaller, weaker one never had a chance.

Generally, our efforts were doomed because we had no sense of quiet. Everything we did was noisily performed. Wild animals kept very clear of us and so did all the potential Janes who hearing our whooping calls would certainly make off in the opposite direction.

As adolescence came so the need to climb trees and fashion bows and arrows left me and even my other aspiration of being a steam train driver waned when a friendly driver invited us up onto the foot plate of his engine one day when we admiring his fire breathing monster. Exciting it was but dirty, so dirty in fact that even a grub like me shrank back in horror at his greasy black hands and his face covered in soot.

So as the years pass I am glad that my time has not been spent wishing I was someone else. However, I should be glad to be remembered as a character, hero and villain in my own life that my children and grandchildren can look back upon with awe and respect as I jumped over the logs in the river of life.


  1. I love anecdotes of childhood. 'Tarzan' was very muscular. I'm sure his muscles would have turned to flab by your age. And you look very trim! So you're better off as you are.

  2. I am sure you will be a kind of 'Tarzan' to those who matter..(I always wanted to be 'boy' -Jane was too dependant..'boy' gave things a go!)..not sure what that says about a person! Jae

  3. thanks for the trip down memory lane..those days as a boy growing up and idolizing heroes. we obviously grew up together on different continents but in the same world and same mind. great post.

  4. I wanted to be all kinds of things as I grew up - every new interest. There are things I regret not doing but never being who I am :) I can imagine that young boy in the theater, dreaming of swinging through trees and talking to lions!

  5. Great sentiments at the end. As for me, I was certain I was going to be James Bond.

  6. I am still smiling from ear to ear...hating to admit I am old enough to completely relate to each Tarzan movie. Remembering Tarzan as the only body builder I'd ever seen until my twelve year old brother started lifting weights. At 49 he's maintained a Tarzan type body, but better!Even managed a few Jane's in his life!Oops I almost forgot Jack Lalanne, another man who dates me!

    Your writing is mesmerizing, beautiful with such a sage ending. Thanks for sharing... I loved it!!

    Cheers Giggles

  7. Yes, my dear father you are my very own Tarzan of sorts. Less villain more character, definite hero. Like Tarzan, always kind to small creatures and animals, even beasts like that cat.

  8. I so enjoy these types of anecdotes. Those old Tarzan movies were shown on weekend morning TV when I was a kid in the 1970s. I'm not a natural in the water, so anyone who can swim with ease leaves me in awe. Now, of course, a different style of swimming is popular and someone like Weismuller who could swim comfortably with his head out of the water seems especially amazing.