It is time to make a stand against Grannies. Or at least, a certain sort of Granny. There are too many of them, and government statistics reveal that they will form the majority of the British population by 2025. So like it or not, we are all turning into Grannies, or something like them. Some would say this is not a bad thing. After all, Grannies give you hugs, they bring you treats, and sometimes they even let you stay up late when they’re babysitting because Mummy's gone out ram-raiding.
There is, however, one place where they are becoming a menace, and that is the school play. Let’s be specific about this – we are talking about the primary school play. Grannies tend to keep a low profile at events organised with school pupils, but there is something about the primary school production that sparks a cruel gleam in the eyes of Grannies everywhere. This is the place, you see, where they can show off.
At the cinema, audiences are encouraged to be quiet. In the theatre, you can be ejected for disturbing the actors. At school, however, all civilised behaviour disappears, because that is our Cheryl up on that stage, which means the certain sort of Granny has the right to tell everyone about it LOUDLY, and then demand ‘a little wave’ from Cheryl.
Such an innocuous phrase, isn’t it – ‘a little wave’? Never mind that the teachers have been rehearsing the children for weeks to make this the best performance of their lives so far. This Granny wants our Cheryl to give her ‘a little wave’ in the middle of the performance. Why? Does Granny ask Cheryl to wave to her over the tea-table on family visits? Do they indulge in ‘a little waving’ when they go shopping together? No. Granny wants everyone else to know that Cheryl is her grand-daughter and that she loves her Granny enough to mess up the school show. (Note: There are certain sorts of Grandads who are slightly different, who try to video everything on their mobile phones instead of watching it in real time. The results of these efforts are always bad, but no matter. Video Ergo Sum)
Cheryl, you see, has become a trophy to be paraded past the community in the same way that the Emperors used to parade their captives through the streets of Rome. Cheryl may be a ‘Wind Dancer’, a ‘Wise Man’ or even a ‘Dinosaur’ in the school play, but that is not the point. She has been commanded to give a little wave – and on cue, the poor child does, destroying the illusion. We might have been transported in our minds to the walls of Troy, the Garden of Eden, or the Pyramids of Egypt. Instead, we are whisked back to contemplate Cheryl and her certain sort of Granny sitting in the third row - again. Thanks a lot, dear.