You may have read last week about how becoming a father has made me soft. How it’s turned me in to a man who will let his heart strings be plucked willy nilly. A man who will use the phrase willy nilly. A man who will go out of his way to give homeless men with frozen beards money to buy food, drink or a delicious hit of crack. A man who is now less of an all round heartless swine than pre-baby Gareth was. But what I previously failed to mention, is that I am now also Spider-Man. I know this may come as a shock to you as you had no idea that I was, in fact, Spider-Man. So I’ll pause for a minute here to let you catch your breath. Go grab a camomile tea or something.
Are we good? Then I’ll continue…
So I’ve actually suspected for some years now that I was a superhero, ever since I was involved in a car crash with a lorry on the M25 and my world momentarily clicked in to slow motion. Well now, eight odd years later my suspicions have been confirmed. Since the birth of our baby I’ve been blessed with super reflexes to help compensate for my calamitous Dadding. Only last weekend in fact, I was carrying Mila in a Baby Björn baby carrier. We got back to our dwelling and I pressed both of the release buttons on the carrier simultaneously. Somewhat surprisingly, the build up of tension and then its sudden release propelled Mila through the air like some kind of kamikaze baby rocket, hurtling head first towards the ground. But then my super-Dad-reflexes kicked in and I calmly reached out and grabbed her little legs mid-air, saving her before impact.
I’ve also developed a fully fledged, Dad fuelled, spidey-sense. When danger’s around I start to tingle. Rabid dog around the corner, sink hole up ahead, runaway train? No problem as Spider-Man here sees it before it happens. I’ll give you an example. We went snowboarding a couple of days ago. We arrive at the ski resort and I’m debating internally whether or not to try and take Mila on a button lift with me. But then my spidey-sense kicks in. I’m tingling as my brain reminds me that I’m an absolute twat on button lifts. I just can’t do them! They’re my Everest! So I decide to not take Mila on a button lift, thereby preventing her from snowballing down a mountain when I inevitably fall. Astonishing foresight I’m sure you’ll agree, and it’s all due to my incredible spidey-sense.
Of course its not all about me. Zsuzsa has a super power of her own as well, as she has developed an innate ability to survive without sleep. Granted she often has an expression like a smacked arse as a result, but she gets by. But Super Zsuzsa is a tale for another day. Let’s get back to me being Spider-Man and a tale about me taking my new found powers to the streets so that others outside of my little family can get a slice of my super pie.
It’s Tuesday. I’ve been working all day and I’m now on my way home to my beloved ladies. I’m listening to the La La Land soundtrack on full volume. Yeah! What a fucking rebel! I rise out of the illuminated Budapest Metro in to a dark, cold and snowy evening. It must be about -15 celsius so I pop my hat on and then cover that with the hood of my parker jacket and zip it up as far as it will go. I wander through the snowy streets looking like Kurt Russell from The Thing. I arrive at a crossing. It’s here that my spidey-sense goes in to overdrive as the only other person at the crossing is a small boy. I look around for his parents, but there’s nobody near. I’m concerned for the child’s safety. I mean of course I am! I’m Spider-Man! I stand there, wondering what to do whilst I wait for the green man. A few cars approach. I’m nervous as the small boy appears to be itching to cross the road. But what if he isn’t yet skilled in the green cross code! Like all good super heroes I decide to act.
I take a step forward and hold out my arm to stop the little boy running across the road to his certain doom. The small boy looks down at my arm.
“Fear not young child!” I want to say, “For I am The Fucking Spider-Man!”. But I don’t as I don’t swear in front of young, impressionable minds and "The Fudging Spider-Man" sounds weird.
But then the small boy turns to face me, his saviour, and my jaw drops. He’s not a small boy. He’s a tiny adult man. Possibly a dwarf. He says something to me. I’m wearing headphones and have two further layers blocking my ear drums, but I get the jist. He's angry. If he had six other little fellas with him it would be easy to tell which one he was.
The green man appears and I hurriedly cross the road, whilst wishing that I could have been Batman instead.