Last week saw every parent’s least favourite non-holiday. World book day, a day where children are forced to attend school dressed as characters loosely related to literature. The only reason I’m aware this was last week is that on my journey to work I spotted a small boy in a ‘Cat in the Hat’ hat and a small girl dressed as Cruella Deville (awesome choice).
For this week’s article, I thought I would regale you all with one of my more embarrassing anecdotes, focussing on a 12-year-old me and a world book day costume malfunction. Unfortunately, not an exciting Timberlake / Jackson super bowl style costume malfunction, but to be honest, if I could have just gone to school with one tit out that would have been preferable.
Picture the scene. A 12 year old Farrell, quite the class clown and rebel has decided that there is no better fictional ‘book’ character to represent him better than the world renowned boyhood rebel Bart Simpson. Admittedly Bart isn’t really a book character, given that the only Simpsons related literature is marketing trash spewed out by monkeys with typewriters, much like the shows later seasons. I don’t think my mother was overly concerned with the validity of my character choice and was more thankful that the extent of my costume would be blue shorts, a t-shirt and some yellow paint.
So on the morning of the event I took my seat in the lounge, ready for my Hollywood level prosthetics and watched as my mum unveiled her bag of tricks. A yellow bottle of hair dye and some yellow face paint both purchased from pound land, the most prestigious movie makeup retailer in the land. At first all was well, the hair dye was a spray on, quick and easy to apply and my mother being a childminder by profession was more adept at face painting than a roadie for the insane clown posse.
About halfway through the application of the face paint I began to suspect something was amiss. My mum kept pulling pained faces and gesturing for my older sister’s opinion. It wasn’t until all was finished that I learnt why.
The hair dye had started yellow, but as it dried it had formed a green tint, unfortunate but not the end of the world. The face paint however was a bigger problem, the yellow had dried orange. Not a little orange, but full on Scouse lass on the pull orange. Donald Trump’s concealer orange. The kind of orange that you get by mixing red and yellow. That orange.
So I sat there, looking at my reflection in the mirror, luminous green hair and bright orange face. Ridiculously contrasted by my Bart Simpson spikes and cowabunga clothing. Needless to say I was unimpressed. It wasn’t until I arrived at school that I realised what had happened. I had inadvertently attended world book day as an oompa loompa dressed as Bart Simpson. I came to this realisation after maybe the third or fourth child uttered the verse ‘oompa loompa loompadey doo’ in passing.
If this happened to me now then I like to think I would embrace the humiliation, after all a Bart Simpson oompa loompa is significantly more interesting a costume than a normal Bart Simpson, unfortunately I didn’t possess the levels of self confidence required to pull off such a pivot at the age of 12. So instead I ran away.
Petrified of facing my class mates I fled the school and climbed a tree in a nearby field. I don’t think I really thought much further than ‘run away / climb tree’ and I think I sat there bored for at least a couple hours.
I don’t know what I was expecting, for people to just forget about me until the end of the day was probably my hope, but it didn’t happen. It turns out that in North Wales if a small boy is dropped off at school and then randomly disappears they actually take it quite seriously.
Long story short, I was found, in a tree, by the police who had been called about a missing child. Not my finest moment.
There’s no greater walk of shame than being escorted back to class mid lesson by two policemen dressed as a Bart Simpson oompa loompa.