Then everything changed and it is easy to spot the very minute when it changed.
It changed when you said your first word. From that very moment on you were supposed to know things, and you were expected to know them whether anyone taught you them or not.
Of course, it didn’t stop there. There are a million things that are good for you to do and another million that it’s bad for you to do, but people only tell you the ones they think are important; the ones that might get you killed if you don’t know them. The rest you have to find out for yourself, usually the hard way. And then there’s all the other learning you have to do.
You can learn on the job for minimum wage, you can do an apprenticeship, or you can go to university, but whatever path you choose you’ve got a lot to learn before you’ll be let loose on any sort of work that provides any sense of satisfaction or a half decent wage. No one tells you this while you’re actually at school. It’s assumed that you’ll work it out for yourself.
But if you’re the sort of person that didn’t pay much attention at school anyway, it comes as something of a shock to find that there is only one job you are qualified to do: Member of Parliament.
It isn’t guaranteed, of course. There’s a whole load of background stuff, like party manifestoes and national campaigns and local electoral demographics, none of which you have any control over, but hey – you’ve got a shot and you didn’t have to pass any exams to get your chance. It certainly accounts for the quality of some of our elected representatives.
It's either that House or the Big Brother House!
This is a triangle of vested interests that have formed an unholy alliance in order to extract the maximum amount of money from the smallest possible group of people: the house buyer and the house seller.
Oh sure, in theory you can do it all yourself, if you have private funds and the determination to learn how to do all your own conveyancing, but in the end they’ll get you, one way or another. The amount of jargon that has to be overcome is enormous, and no one prepared you for the shark like smile that should have told you to run for your life.
One of the biggest ironies is that you can’t even sue your solicitor if they fail to discover that the route of HS2 is going to pass through what will become your spare bedroom! It’s in their terms and conditions. You could hire another solicitor to sue the first solicitor for you, but that way madness lies.
Ask where they want to go on a date and they’ll smile coyly and say "I don’t mind". It’s a trap; they do mind. Settle on something safe, like the cinema, and you still have problems, because if you ask what film they want to see they’ll smile coyly again and say "I don’t mind, you choose". Do not, under any circumstances, choose; you are bound to get it wrong. Enter the cinema, look up at the programme board and um and ah for a bit. Eventually your date will make a suggestion, if only by looking constantly at the one title. Follow her eyeline if you want to get it right.
Even the most ardent radical feminist will take this same approach. It’s a test, you see. Pass the test and you might be granted a second date. Get it wrong and, in her eyes, you will cease to exist.
Fast food is definitely out – even if she says she likes it you’ll just look like a cheapskate. Choose a fish restaurant and she may be allergic to fish. Choose a spicy type of food and she may not like spicy food. Choose something safe and traditional, such as a carvery or steakhouse, well, she’ll turn out to be vegan, but just forgot to mention it.
This is everything you need to know about dating. You can’t win, you can only hope to make a lucky guess.
And when the date is over, can you move in for a goodnight kiss, or will that make you appear like a sex pest? You’ll get no helpful hints, I can assure you.
The rules aren’t even consistent. You may find yourself out on a date with a girl who’s all over you, but the next date, with a different girl, sometimes even with the same girl, and the rules have all changed but no one told you. It’s like being thrown blindfold into a room full of sports equipment and trying to work out what sport you’re supposed to be playing. Oh, and no touching the equipment until you’ve got the right answer!
You would think that as you get older there would be nothing much left to learn. You would be wrong.
Your child, the parent of said grandchild, will try to help. They’ll compile a timetable of activities that covers every eventuality from sunrise to bedtime; they’ll tell you all about favourite foods, toys, activities and clothes. As soon as the door has shut behind the parent and you are on your own – just tear up the list. It has become meaningless.
Favourite foods are spat out, favourite toys are thrown away in disgust and the child will rip the house apart looking for a toy that has never even been mentioned. That favourite tee-shirt will now bring on a crying fit and the child will only want to dress in wellington boots and a sun hat (and that's all - nothing else, no matter how much you try to persuade them to put on underwear). A trip to the park is now a gamble, as apparently, he/she doesn’t like the slide anymore and will burst into tears if you attempt to go anywhere near a swing.
There is, however, a happy ending. Pretty soon you’ll be back where you started. Cry and someone will feed you; cry and you’ll get your nappy changed and maybe, you’ll finally get to stop watching Eastenders and get to watch The Big Bang Theory instead.
The only thing that will really change is that now, when you really know stuff, no one will want to hear what it is that you know.
What goes around, comes around, as they say.