1986 was a notable year for a number of reasons...
I had a fairly new job in IT, as a Trainee Systems Programmer...I was married, with a car, a house and a cat.
The cat was a stray my mum had adopted, then become wary of after it bit her. I took him on, and he was so awesome I didn't even have to name him - he was simply The Cat.
He behaved like a dog in many ways. If I walked to the petrol station 100m up the road to buy a pack of cigarettes, he'd walk up with me, and sit outside, waiting patiently for me to walk back home with him.
Whenever I arrived home, I would whistle and within 5 or 10 minutes he'd be home, poking the letterbox in the front door, knowing this would prompt us to let him in.
We lived on a dual carriageway, and for reasons I can't now fathom, I wasn't at all worried that he'd get run over...I think I just thought he was too cool to be anything other than immortal...
Alas, one day (8th June, as I recall), I whistled him upon arriving home, and 5 minutes later there was a (human) knock on the door...I answered it to find a worried looking lady asked me if I had a black and white cat...
He'd been hit crossing the road to come home to my whistle, and his back was broken.
I carried him home, and within another 5 minutes he died in my arms...I was gutted, and writing this, I realise I still am, to some degree.
How I loved that Cat.
The same year, continuing the practical module of my ongoing education in mortality, a colleague died on my arm at work one day.
He was a Kenyan named Subash, and he'd been overseeing my technical development...these days we'd call it mentoring or some such, I guess. Despite being African, Subash spoke with a markedly eastern accent, similar to Indian...I liked him a lot.
He was in his mid 40's I suppose, and he'd long been ill with heart issues of some kind.
One day he wasn't feeling well and we decided to take him to hospital...I walked him out of the office and along the corridor towards the exit, when he suddenly grabbed my arm tight and went down on one knee. I realised he was collapsing, and lowered him to the ground.
I ran to get my boss, who tried to revive him, but he died there and then, of a heart attack. I had the strongest sense that he was tired of struggling and suffering with ill health, and he didn't even fight it.
When Death came calling, Subash just opened up the door and invited him right in.
It seemed to me then, and still seems now, an entirely reasonable choice under the circumstances.
It was, however, quite a shock to my system - seeing human death so up close and personal.
Those two dramatic and traumatic experiences left my world somewhat reeling...
Yet unbeknownst to me, a little later that year, a doomed experiment to create a Jedi Ninja was initiated by our Evil Alien Overlords...
It's not clear exactly what went wrong, but rumours suggest that the Jedi mind tricks were simply too powerful a force for his lithe Ninja physique to contain.
Nobody knows whether the mind broke the body, or the body broke the mind...
But in any case, all that remains is the Raving Matt Man, entrapped in an urban cage...unable to go out for fear of the devastation his Jedi mind tricks could cause, and refusing to be photographed for fear of coming to the attention of the Evil Alien Overlords, thus reminding them of the need to terminate their failed experiment.
This evening, we went to visit the Matt Man to collect the latest data samples, exactly 28 years after inception...but as imprisoned as he is, his Jedi Ninja skills still help him evade our every attempt.
Reasoned questions invariably run into the brick wall of the just because argument...
And just try to photograph him...somehow his Ninja speed enables him to blur the light around his hands and face, thus obscuring his visage and rendering his image unidentifiable and untraceable.
Nice moves, Matt...