Last evening I was reminded that there was once a young man named Colin, aged fourteen and a half, that got into his little head that it was a necessary thing for any young man to own a pack of condoms.

You know, just in case the young man was lucky.

That set in motion a cascade of logical, reasoned, well-considered thoughts that would lead the young man utterly astray into the land of madness and silliness. Therefore, like the last time I told this story, the only suitable piece of music that should accompany this retelling is Yakety Sax, the theme song from Benny Hill.

The cascade of decisions started with the kiosk that lay about 200 yards from the house which sold these suddenly imagined necessaries for about €12 for a dozen. This kiosk was the one where my father bought his evening paper, or to which he would send me to buy the evening paper. The proprietor knew exactly who I was was, and whose boy I was.

Obviously I couldn’t buy any condoms there.

The next likely place was the local pharmacy, but there was the problem that one of my friends worked there that summer, and my paternal aunt is a pharmacist who worked…. you know where. The grocery stores? Uh uh, I knew plenty of people there. The gas station? Nope, one of my friends parents operated it. In a small town where everyone knew everyone else, I quickly ran out of options.

In all cases it was highly likely that as soon as the door slapped shut behind my arse, the telephones would be buzzing at my house and either of the women would inform my parents about my strange purchase. A fourteen year old boy, buying that? Obviously I was up to no good. I mean, did I even have a girl-friend? Nobody had ever seen me with one. So what would I want with those things? Was I hiding something?

In the end the cascade of decisions would make me take the bus into the Big Town not far away (about 20 km), and there I would spend about half my monthly allowance on things, and there I would still not dare to utter the words “and a packet of condoms, please” to the lady in the cash registry.

I was reminded again today when Mark and I was off doing the weekly shopping, we went to Boots and ended up standing in the aisle comparing lubricants aloud while people pressed past us. Silicon or water-based? Silicon is nice, but it’s a bitch on the sheets. Water-based doesn’t last that long. What should we take?

I guess the age of innocence is lost, forever. Maybe it died when I got into my head three years ago that condoms was a required part of any man’s possessions. But then again, the age of innocence is an illusion.

There was nothing innocent about my imagination even when I was fourteen.