Sometimes realizations take years to creep up on you and sometimes they just suddenly leap out of the cupboard and punch you in the face in what Twitterers and Texters would describe as an "OMG!!!" moment.
This morning as I was putting on my shoes for the morning dog walk, I remembered in time that the path by the railway track was starting to become overgrown with nettles. A quick rummage under the stairs and I found a suitable walking stick with which to attack the undergrowth and keep the North-West Passage to Wibbly open.
Five minutes later there I was, striding purposefully down the grassy track swinging my walking stick and (just about) restraining a cute but extremely dippy mutt on the end of a lead when ....POW!!! Yes it suddenly struck me! That mysterious alchemy of Darwinism and Pavlovian conditioning had finally worked its magic and the impossible had happened! The Old English Sheepdog had shrunk to a heeby-jeeby but yes.....
I'd turned into my Dad!
The awfulness of this thought left me so perturbed that on my return to the house I had to compile a list of differences to console myself:
Things I do now that my Dad would never have done in a million years :
1. Wear shorts - his knees disappeared in Palestine in 1948 never to be seen again.
2. Grow a beard. "Trying to hide something, Johnny Beardy!".
3. Swim. Fear of water, even in his whisky.
4. Give up a Salaried Job to "go it alone". Dad hung on to a salary until he was way past retirement age.
5. Give up Smoking. I find it difficult to recall a single picture of him without a brier pipe in his mouth.
6. Written down intimate details about his Dad on the Internet.
At this point I remembered that his father had died when my father was just 5 years old and his subsequent struggle through childhood poverty probably produced most of his quirkiness and character. I also remembered his kindliness and humour, dedication and steadfast support.
I tore my list up. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing after all.