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The Ginger-Haired Lad - A Parody
by Joanna Jordan

Once upon a time there was a middle-aged woman and a middle-aged man. They lived together in a mid-terraced house in middle England. They didn’t have any children. They approached an adoption agency, who were eager to off-load their most challenging and disturbed children on the na´ve and ill-prepared.

One day, their adoption worker presented them with a 7 year old ginger-haired lad who had been moved around the care system since he was two. The middle-aged man and woman were delighted with their son. At first, the ginger-haired lad seemed delighted with his new parents, but soon his previous anxieties and fears of rejection returned. He ran out of the front door and down the garden path shouting, “Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the ginger-haired lad.”

The middle-aged man and woman ran after him, but they couldn’t catch him, so they rang Social Services. A Social Worker was assigned to the boy, and arranged to meet with the family to conduct an initial assessment. The lad had been through this process several times before, and knew it would take an age, so he said, “I have run away from a middle-aged woman and a middle-aged man, and I can run away from you I can. Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the ginger-haired lad.”

The Social Worker couldn’t catch him, and she was worried about his deviant behaviour, so she called a Youth Crime Prevention Officer. The Youth Crime Prevention Officer took the ginger-haired lad out for an ice-cream ice-breaker. The ginger-haired lad sat very politely and ate his, but as soon as it was finished he said, “I have run away from a middle-aged woman, a middle-aged man, and a Social Worker and I can run away from you I can. Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the ginger-haired lad.”

The Youth Crime Prevention Officer knew that dealing with runaways was outside of his remit, so he called a psychiatrist from CAMHS. The psychiatrist took the ginger-haired lad to hospital. He felt an in-depth study via a residential stay would be most helpful. The psychiatric ward was on the ground floor, and so the ginger-haired lad leaped through the window shouting, “I have run away from a middle-aged woman, a middle-aged man, a Social Worker and a Youth Crime Prevention Officer and I can run away from you I can. Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me . . .”

The psychiatrist referred the ginger-haired lad to a therapist. The therapist was extremely fit and active and so was able to jog alongside rather than chase the ginger-haired lad. As they jogged, the therapist encouraged the boy to talk about himself and his feelings. The process took a long time, but eventually the ginger-haired lad could look back at his old self and declare, “Oh, I’m a quarter gone!” A little time later, “I’m half gone already.” Then, “I’m three quarters gone,” and then the old ginger-haired lad was all gone. The therapist was able to withdraw, leaving the ginger-aired boy with his parents. And they all lived happily ever after.