PROBABLY the single bitterest utterance ever to be come spewing and mewing from my disagreeable cakehole arrived on Monday as I watched Nick D’Aloisio being interviewed on BBC News.
You’ve heard of the kid, right?
He’s the 17-year-old who, this week, sold a phone app he invented in his Wimbledon bedroom to global internet giant Yahoo. It made him one of the world’s youngest self-made millionaires.
And on that Beeb couch, he was charming, he was self-effacing and he was generous. He was quick-witted, articulate and intelligent. He was also making no effort to disguise the fact he was flirting with presenter Jane Hill, a woman not only 27 years his senior but also a lesbian with long-term partner to boot.
Neither made any odds to our Nick.
In short the lad came across as a thoroughly likable, sensible and well-grounded young man with a head full of admirable ambition.
You know, exactly like you want your own teenager to be, instead of the semi-human, incommunicative Xbox obsessive he actually is.
And so, taking all this into account, I watched the interview unfold, then turned to her and declared what I’m sure most right-minded people would have been thinking: “what a jumped-up little plonker – put the cricket highlights on, duck.”
And so we did.
Where we watched a group of other young Englishmen do what young Englishmen do best. That is to say, we watched them show no grounding, no sense and not much likability as they were put to the sword by a supposedly inferior New Zealand side. I forgot about Nick.
That is until next morning when there he was, smiling his young success all over the papers.
His app – called Summly and designed to condense news stories for Generation Instant – had not only made him a multimillionaire, it turned out. It had also got him a job with Yahoo, made him friends with Ashton Kutcher and got him taking conference calls from Rupert Murdoch.
He’d also had to meet Stephen Fry – but, then, we all have our crosses to bear for work, don’t we?
And so I sat reading about this youngster, fully aware that when I said he was a ‘plonker’, what I actually meant was ‘I’m the twerp’.
Because quite obviously such a reaction – natural perhaps to any proud under-achieving Brit – was driven by jaded jealousy.
For here am I, positively middle aged by comparison, and I can barely even say ‘logarithm’ let alone use one to design a piece of kit which changes the way the world consumes news.
Young Nick has, in essence, already trumped anything I will ever achieve and earned more money than I’ll ever have, all while still having a full head of hair. Good on him. Because this schoolboy is also surely a lesson to us all: that anything might just be possible if we want it well enough.
The other thing that happened Tuesday morning? It turned out, overnight down under, the England cricket team had batted their way to a heroic, historic draw.