Not many people can say they have as many regrets as I do. I was a wild one, that’s for sure, and I made a lot of mistakes that have influenced my life in the long term. I’ve got a criminal record for a misdemeanor that I committed as a teenager which has haunted my job opportunities and travel ambitions ever since, and I’ve experienced physical and emotional traumas that affect me to this day. These days I’m always preaching to the kids out there to stay safe and to ‘Do as I say, not as I did.’ So I thought I’d write about one of my misadventures here, to serve as further caution for the kids of today.
To be honest, times were different when I was growing up in Melbourne. We used to stay out and play and run around the whole neighbourhood well into the night, whereas my sister won’t even let her 10-year-old walk to school on her own. Not saying things were better back then, quite the opposite. There was as much danger and violence as today, probably just a lack of awareness.
So here’s what happened. When I was about my niece’s age, my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to go exploring at a construction site. It was late at night when we ascended the mobile scaffolding left there by the builders. I don’t know what they were building, a townhouse or apartment or something. You have to understand also that these were the days before fences. A few years later they built a fence around our school and everyone thought it was weird, these days they’re normal. Now, learning from my mistakes, I know that kids shouldn’t be climbing around and mucking around on work platforms. Melbourne is dangerous enough as is without adding trouble to the mix. I’m sure it’s not hard to guess what happened: I fell through the scaffolding, broke an arm, and it hasn’t been the same ever since. I still get spasms of shooting pain when I reach up in the pantry for my morning coffee, and I can’t put my arm around my wife without dislocating my shoulder. This is what my life has come – don’t let it happen to you!