My best friend when I was growing up was Tony Bennett (Not the famous warbler) Tony lived with his Grandfather 10 doors away from my house but I was never allowed to call for him because his Grandfather didn’t want anybody knocking at his door, so I didn’t!
We were inseparable between the ages of 9 and 14 and I think that our friendship was cultivated because of our combined fascination with The Six Million Dollar man. The Lee Majors eye brow became our secret greeting combined with the sound effect … duuu. Du du du du Du dudu du du… which indicated our artificial supersonic eyes were zooming in on a target several hundred miles away!!
He was 2 years my senior so whilst he was the semi-mature brains in our operation I was the gullible but fiercely loyal companion. Tony played a cunning trick on me once and it had me captivated for a couple of hours until he revealed his mystery. Tony came running onto the street one Saturday morning limping a little bit and slightly out of breath. After the aforementioned eye brow raise he held his arm out in front of him and informed me that he was losing power in his body, especially in his legs. I looked at his arm and saw 2 red and blue wires hanging from underneath his sleeve. He had already managed to convince me he was ‘Bionic’ but called the mechanical parts of his body biotronical, and I fell for it hook, line and sinker!!
So, there was I, staring at wires hanging from my best friends arm and believing he was done for!!
Bearing in mind I had never beaten him at running, you can imagine my elation when we began to run side by side after his revelation of ‘Losing power’ and I was leaving him eating my dust!! For a second I actually believed I had inherited his power until I looked behind me. He grinned at me, pulled the wires from his sleeve, threw them away and put on the afterburners! He flew past me calling me a dick-head, laughing as he said it. The Bastard!!
Even though the joke was on me, we laughed about it for a long time afterwords. However, I always extracted a little bit of revenge because I was stronger than him in the arm. So I would challenge him to an arm wrestle, which despite his red in the face efforts, I always genuinely won.
Then came the day he left. His grandfather became ill so couldn’t look after his grandson. The time came for Tony to go and live 15 miles away with a dad who he had never seen before. I watched him being driven away in his fathers car with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I never saw Tony again but on days like today I wonder what kind of man he turned out to be!
So here’s to you Tony, I hope your life has been filled with fun and frolics to rival the time when we were best friends.