The first born niece and I made an expotition last night to the Bennelong Point House of Vaudeville and High Culture. This inspired a pleasing feeling of auntliness and a general impression that the younger generation's company should be sought out more often. While we (at any rate, I) basked in the warmth of intergenerational theatre-going, the three artistes in whose honour we had ventured forth dived head first onto the stage floor and began an hour of anatomy-defying contortion that would change my entire Weltanschauung.* All my life, I've been content to abide by the conviction that I Cannot Touch the Small of My Back with My Nose (to say nothing of the conviction that I Cannot Stand on One Foot While Holding a Fully-Grown Chap Upside Down in the Palm of My Hand). But these three artistes, with their muscles and their triple jointed ankles and their magical spines, have planted the seeds of doubt and jealousy in my mind. Maybe I Should Be Able to Touch the Small of My Back with My Nose. Indeed, Why Can I Not? Am I, As I Suspect, Woefully Inadequate As a Nose-Manoeuverer and Human Being? It is eminently clear that I have frittered away a life in stamp-collecting and crossword-solving, a life that could have been spent learning how to hang by one toe three metres from the ground. Henceforth, and in the spirit of self-improvers across the known world, I will devote myself to the pursuit of acrobatics and perpendicular relations with vertical structures (like other people's torsoes).
Accountability is the first law of Self-Improvement, wherefore I herewith publish my preliminary training regime. Please feel free to monitor my progress.
Learn to do two consecutive push-ups.
Learn to hang from trapeze by toe.
Learn to hang from trapeze by toe while holding grown man by the left nostril (or right nostril, depending which of his nostrils is stronger).
Learn to do handstand.
Learn to do handstand resolving in quadruple aerial somersault with triple pike and cherry on top.
Learn to fly (this may require a high protein diet; eat lots of cashews and soy beans).
Learn to fly while bearing bodyweight of six inverted adults on one knee.
Learn to swallow entire body and then emerge from right ear, while on a trapeze.
Etc. (I have to google "acrobat" and "tricks" for some more ideas.)
* It is because I have been learning words like "Weltanschauung" that I have not had time to become an acrobat. Observe its use in the paragraph above and judge how much better my time would have been spent in learning to stand on my index finger.