SHE WROTE HER FIRST BESTSELLER AT 76

My teachers always told my parents: “Er, he’s probably a late developer.”

Years later, I’m beginning to ask how late is late, exactly? Could it kindly be THIS side of the after-life, please?

***

Don’t you just hate people who seem destined for early success?

Reader Anita Chau sent me a report about pregnant UK woman Amanda Collins who entered an ultrasound scan of HER FETUS into a baby beauty contest.

Contest officials accepted the entry, although waited until after birth to give the baby her prize certificate.

They could have rolled it up really tightly, I suppose. “Hello, fetus. Sending something up for you.”)

*** But her actions raise the parenting bar to a worryingly high level for the rest of us.

School admissions officer: “Mr Vittachi, can you list your child’s achievements before birth?”

Me: “Er, well, she kicked a lot, probably, and practiced, er, breathing, no, wait, there’s no air in there, well, she kicked a lot, probably.”

Like that’s going to get her into a decent school.

***

Can you actually change your fate by sheer determination?

Maybe.

A deaf thief robbed a house recently, taking his sign-language interpreter with him to facilitate the intimidation of the householder, says a report forwarded to me from a news site in Scotland.

Now you have to admire that guy for not letting his disability limit his ambition.

***

But more common are news reports like the one about the one-legged teenager in Malaysia some years back who joined a snatch-and-run gang, and got caught by police on his first job as he hopped away.

Why did his school careers advisor not warn him?

*** Yet those experts can be wrong.

When my school careers officer asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said: “A member of the British royal family.”

She told me that there were limited openings for small Asian people in that line of work, so I ditched the plan.

You can imagine my fury when in 1995 Princess Diana fell madly in love with a handsome south Asian guy (Hasnat Khan) and started dressing in sari blouses to court him.

That could have been me! I could have been married to a dangerous scheming woman who slept with her bodyguards and ruined her husband’s life.

***

Still, I continue to HATE the phrase “follow your dream”.

This may have something to do with the fact that my most common dream is being naked in the supermarket.

A psychologist told me this is an extremely common dream which signifies that you feel inadequate as a human being.

I told her, no, it signifies that my local supermarket chain (Parknshop) is run by an ORGANIZED CRIMINAL GANG which takes everything customers (“victims”) have.

*** So late bloomers, don’t despair.

Novelist Jean Rhys wrote her first bestseller at 76, and Indian polymath Nirad Chaudhuri wrote a book at the age of 100.

No need to rush.

*** Meanwhile, there’s another baby beauty contest coming up.

My kids are too old to enter, but I may follow Amanda Collins’ lead and send in an x-ray of my reproductive system.

This may be an arrestable offence, but at least I’ll get some headlines and finally prove my teachers right.