Sam and I usually take it in turns to pick a film to watch, as he likes noisy action and adventure stories with horrible men shouting and killing each other, and I like family orientated films with interesting and/or witty dialogue. This week I have the TV to myself, as he is away on business. Last night I watched a lovely film called ‘The Imitation Game’, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the eccentric mathematician Alan Turing, who broke the Enigma code during WWII.
Alan Turing came over as one of life’s oddballs. Even as a schoolboy in the English public school system he was ‘different’ from his classmates and was bullied mercilessly. Precociously talented at maths, he found his lessons too simple, and the film showed him only able to make one single friend during his school years. He was also gay during a time when homosexuality was illegal, and had to undergo horrific chemical castration treatment using female hormones when an adult.
The film started me thinking of some ‘odd’ schoolgirls I knew as a teenager back in South East London, not precociously talented unfortunately, but just odd. I remember one girl who only ever ate bacon and potatoes, and could not go anywhere in the evenings because of piles and piles of ironing that never seemed to decrease, even though it was just her and her mother in the house. Another girl was an elective mute, and there were two identical twins that were eerily just like one person, both speaking and moving in unison. Nobody could tell them apart, and so we just called each one ‘Twin’.
In each class there always seems to be one who is ‘different’. Sometimes that person can be extremely talented, as Mr Turing was, but they can be introverted and may have a problem fitting in to society. It might be that these people are for example our future entrepreneurs, blockbuster novelists, or scientists. They stand out because they just do not think like the rest of the crowd.
We need these oddballs in life. Without them the world would be a much duller place.