COLM O'REGAN: Missing the opportunity to become a prodigy in any field

I could have been inventing the internet. Or a Dyson, (or an O’Regan as it would be called), writes Colm O’Regan

IT’LL be over soon; the European football Championships at which I would be the third oldest player. Being thirty-something — actually thirty-lots of something — should be a happy enough age. One is supposed to be at ease, comfortable in one’s own skin. But still I have qualms about this age. I’m too young to be wise, too young to sit in the village square, walking stick at my side making pronouncements about the follies of the young .

On the other side, I’ll never be precocious again unless I decide to become a pope or a wizard. I was precocious once. When I started school, around the age of four, I was the youngest in my class by about a month. That huge timespan, combined with my ability, at the time, to spell a word as difficult as electricity — e-l-e-c-t-r-i-c-i-t-y — before anyone else, convinced me I was a prodigy. I anticipated a life of rich reward, a certain amount of isolation from my peers but grudging admiration from all. A beautiful mind, too far ahead of this world, but one day the world would catch up.

But somewhere along the line, the opportunity was squandered. I got distracted. Maybe I wasted time playing with teddies or putting purple marker on cupboard doors. Whatever I was doing, I wasn’t focussing enough on the important things.

I blame my parents. They simply didn’t put in the 10,000 hours required. Why did my father not practice golf with me from the age of three when all the important muscle memory should be learned? That’s what Tiger Woods’ father did. Obviously it was much later in life that Tiger learned how to be prodigious at other things but that early will to succeed at golf, that early drive, came from… those early drives.

My brain was never given the chance. Mozart’s father was a devoted music teacher to his son. Mr Zuckerberg’s paid for Mark to take private lessons in computer programming. My father would bring me for spins on his bicycle up to Mullinahassig Waterfall to look at the beauty of nature. It’s practically neglect! I could have been inventing the Internet. Or a Dyson, (or an O’Regan as it would be called)

I should have been sequestered away from distractions right from the off. Yes I’m sure I would have resented my parents but you can always have a second childhood later on when you’re rich.

Whatever the reasons for my lack of world domination, now I fear it may be too late for me. At this stage, I can achieve true greatness through someone else: The next generation

I’m not sure yet how I’m going to go about it but I fully intend to be the father of a genius. She will invent/hit/run/invade something so well that it will bring me — I mean them — fame and fortune.

She just needs the right training from a very early age. The only problem is in what? I hate golf, I am as musical as a stoat, And Facebook has already been done. Unless there’s going to be millions to be made from writing whimsical columns, then maybe I mightn’t be the one to pass on the key skills to them.

But I’ve been gigging at industry awards ceremonies a lot recently and there is huge buzz around ‘renewable’ so maybe that’s where she’ll make my, I mean her, fortune.

So now the plan is: Just leave some leaflets on the exciting world in renewable energy, space travel or whatever is all the rage at that stage, and just let her work the rest of it out for herself. After all she’s the genius. I’ll be planning my retirement. Retired in my 50s? That’s precocious.


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