Has anyone seen the triple CD Status Quo box set that I got for Christmas?"
The question was half-formed in my brain but, before I had time to say it out loud, it was answered by the sound of "Rockin' All Over the World"
pounding from my teenage daughter's bedroom. I was chuffed.
This wasn't the way it was supposed to happen. Stereotypically, I should have been borrowing her CDs because I had heard one of the tracks on an advert. Then, doing the embarrassing Dad bit, I would twitch with all the rhythm and poise of a car assembly line robot, announcing: "Hey, I like that! It's got a good beat!" (This phrase copyright of comedians Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt.) If she liked my music, then perhaps I wasn't such a boring mid-40s fart after all.
At the time, I was more concerned about my younger child. I had been asked to do a demo "Thinking Science" lesson with his class. Class teacher and I approached him. If he had any qualms at all, we would abandon the gig. No concerns were expressed at the time, so the booking was made. As the day drew near, however, an ever-growing code of conduct developed.
This came from my son, not me.
1) Don't try to be funny.
2) Don't pick on me.
3) Don't tell stories about me.
I made no such demands of my own.
The day of the lesson arrived. I did not pick on him. I told no stories. I made no (well, very few) attempts to be funny. I thought that my strategy of not referring to him by name, at least until I had done so with other class members, was a tactical masterstroke. When it was all over and I was heading back to base to take part in an enterprise twilight course, I hummed along to the BBC's Tom Morton Show, feeling that it had all gone rather well.
Arriving home that evening, I asked my wife what my son had said about the experience. She filled me in. Apparently, he had came home and said: "Huh! You're the most important thing in someone's life for eleven-and-a- half years, then all of a sudden you're nobody."
I have searched fruitlessly through the lyrics of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt to find something there that describes how I feel about this.
Instead, I find myself turning to another Christmas present, a combined Oor Wullie and Broons annual. Picture me, then, at the end of this piece, sitting on a bucket with "ye cannae win!" inked above my head.
Gregor Steele hasn't let on to his son that he has written about him in The TES Scotland. So don't tell him.