Benji Hanwell, a 12 year old from Hackney, has had a mid-life crisis.
The change first occurred when Benji noticed he was starting to grow facial hair, a classic sign of becoming aged in Hackney. Then, on his father’s 21st birthday, he visited the old man at Hackney O.A.P home, mates saying what he saw was too grim for words.
“No one ought to see their old man last that long” they say, “it does things to you to see that sort o’ decay.”
Since then, they claim, Benji has been shirking his fatherly responsibilities. Other reports suggest that last week Hanwell impulsively stole a ludicrously expensive sports car, has lost any interest in starting fights during football matches, and has begun trying to sleep with girls half his age.
“He’s started to resent all of his fuck buddies” friends say, “not sure if ever even wanted them just for sex.”
Hanwell has reportedly stopped taking any drugs, saying he wants to "experiment with his consciousness." He has become obsessed with his health, perpetually worrying he hasn’t got the right amount of blood, and trying to get fit, using nicotine patches to cut down on his smoking and chasing almost twice as many old ladies as before, now purely for the exercise.
Class mates say he spends all of break-time peering with a mixture of nostalgia and resentment at the primary school across the road, occasionally muttering to himself about things he’s never even stolen and people he’s never had fights with. One passerby claims to have heard him nervously shuddering and repeating ‘I’m not ready to be a granddad’ over and over.
They say too that lessons have become a "nightmare", as Hanwell sits obsessively comparing his appearance to other boys of his age, refusing to cause any serious problems for the teacher. Friends, lamenting this point, say "he’s just lost any sense of what’s fun." He even is said to have begun learning about Christianity in his R.E class, outraging friends who expected him to help them bootleg DVDs of a recent Jason Statham film during the lesson.
In response, Hanwell blankly told our reporter "I did so little last year that I literally watched the seasons change. What’s the point? I mean, I found a hair on my chest the other day! Before I know it I’m gonna be in my early twenties and that’ll be it for me. The old ticker ain’t gonna last forever. So I get to cause trouble and upset people really well for a few years, then what? You can’t take that stuff with you, you know?"
One enthusiastic contemporary of Hanwell's says he tried to perk the kid up, cheerfully telling him "Come on, mate, you won't always feel like this." To which Hanwell dryly replied "Yes. And neither will you."
Nothing, it appears, can be done.
Despite the hoopla however, teachers have come out in support of Mr. Hanwell, one saying "Good on the kid! Never thought he was intelligent enough to be miserable. Well done!"