Victor Carroon, the British astronaut in the Quatermass Experiment, endured his painful transformation into a malign extraterrestrial carpet with silent, stoic anguish. I am bearing my steady evolution into my own father with less dignity.
Readers of this web blog will know that I've long lamented the failure of the Antient Order of the Dad to lead me along the Path of the Hush Puppy. It looks like this impertinence has earned me an Ovidian punishment.
In my bachelor days I used to spend a few weeks at my parents' house each summer while they tramped around Bavaria in search of the Spear of Destiny. One year my father had abandoned his opposition to the video recorder ("Satan's trouser-press!" was his initial judgment) and filled a bookshelf with tapes for me to plunder.
To my New Statesmanly chagrin his video collection (pronounced "vie-deo" in Wales, by the way) consisted entirely of grim Brit war flicks like "Ice-Cold in Alex" and a couple of staid thrillers. After a comprehensive audit I found two films worth watching - "The Day of the Jackal" and another copy of the same.
I'd brought a worn tape of "Betty Blue" with me in lieu of human female company, otherwise I was at the mercy of Houseburner's Choice on the S4C Welsh channel. There was nothing for it but to go out and get bat-punching drunk down the Llawes Goch tavern every night and challenge the town's leading Gypsy artist to smoking competitions. Country ways.
Now, however, my dvd rental list is choked with offerings from Dirk Bogarde's khaki hetero phase and "Tora! Tora!Tora!", which I realised is not about exuberant Hasidim. There's certainly more Frederick than Bill in my Forsyth selection.
I shall pass over the Venn intersection with my father on politics and clothing with little comment. It is as much a question of age and affluence as of genes. Yes, both Lord Tebbit and Mr Netanyahu make a lot more sense to me now than they did in the 1980s, and my IRA funeral party chic has long been decommissioned in favour of sludgy tweeds and a tendency for my head to keep growing through the top of my hair.
Of more concern are major divergences from my previous philosophical theses on weighty matters. Film choices are one. Motor vehicles are another.
Keen Boyovians will recall the touching combination of reluctance and incompetence with which I approached learning to drive, while Mrs Boyo's cadres may prefer her more dialectical accounts.
Once I'd wrenched the certificate from the cold, hairless palm of the driving examiner, I swore to Mrs Boyo that our car would do no more than ferry her good self to that airstrip where she meets her Colombian chums near Dunwich and take our daughter Arianrhod on trips to the vet.
A few weeks passed and I'd become a sparking plug of chauvinist velocity, my right arm lobstered large from cabbie's elbow, my flecked eyes set on sneer alert for any signs of non-reverse parking or adherence to rural speed limits:
- I have to be lured from the driving seat by offers of raw steak, rum and an evening's viewing of the Top Gear three-part special on Wankel engines;
- On my frequent exiles from the Boyo bedroom I find solace in running my sac up and down the fan belt, which is warmer and more legal than hanging around that nurses' training college in the early hours; and
- Mention the word "escort" and once I'd have obliged with my little black book of big black ladies. Now I whimper "The Mark III - why, Ford, why?!"
More precious pillars of my persona may now be bracing themselves for the blows of banality.
My taste in music is so exquisite that previous lady friends have cited it as unreasonable behaviour. So when will I buy my first brass band medley or compilation of "hits"? And is that Mireille Mathieu luring me onto the rocks - in German?
As Gyppo Byard has gallantly recalled, I like my ladies the way I like my lemons - bitter, jaundiced and unwaxed. So what signs of decay can I next expect? I think of my father's film collection, and the words "Joan Greenwood" toll like a leper's bell in my inner ear. A yearning for Felicity Kendal will mean I've got off lightly.
Like Dorian Gray, I peer queerly at the picture that hangs in my study. A pipe has appeared in the breast pocket, true, but is that a ballpoint pen that now nestles beside it? Has the hour struck when, like Zhatko before me, I murmur "mon semblable - mon père"?