Taking Stock with Rob Stocks - July 18, 2011

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THERE are many big questions which will never be answered.

What’s the meaning of life? What are wasps for? Why is there toothpaste in my hair?

The last one might seem a little out of left field, but it’s one I had to ask myself after one particularly early start at Gazette Towers this week.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the best at early mornings, but even for me, the discovery of a minty substance lurking in my unkempt locks was a new low – compounded by the fact I was wearing My Good Wife’s deodorant, having run out of the man variety some days earlier. I’d like to put it down to the pressures of moving house, or having two young children, but the truth is I’ve always been a little bit disorganised when it comes to grooming.

Even at my school Prom (actually it was a leavers’ ball and rather than arrive by stretch Hummer or chopper, I got the number two bus) I wasn’t able to completely ditch the dishevelled me.

Perhaps that explains why, while other boys were busy getting to know the Girls Grammar contingent a little better than might be socially acceptable, I was still sinking lagers and throwing myself around to Blur’s Song 2.

I can’t help but think that, for all the effort I didn’t make – youngsters these days might be pushing the boat out a little too far.

Just look at the frocks, and the expensive transport arrangements and the venues.

These days, the school Prom is far more than a bit of a knees-up in the back room of a Morecambe boozer.

I blame the Americans – after all, the Prom is most definitely an import from across the Pond.

But, I can’t help but think, among the sequined gowns, limousines and exclusive hotels, the real meaning of the event has got a bit lost.

As much as my leavers do, some dozen and more years ago, was a fantastic party, it was also a chance to say goodbye – before we all went our separate ways. The most important thing on that summer night was being with old friends – the mates you grew up with.

I’m still in touch with a few today, mostly through Facetwit, but that was the last night we all had a drink together.

Hopefully, in 15 years’ time, when today’s youngsters remember their Prom, they won’t just recall the night they rode in a limousine – but the day they celebrated years of friendship.

And hopefully, in 15 years time, when I remember writing this column, I’ll be able to recall just why I had toothpaste in my hair.