‘Out of Control’: Oliver Twist Child

There’s always something distinctly awkward in the air when someone reveals to you that they believe themselves to be a famous historical character. Especially when said figure is in fact fictional. And you’re not entirely sure they’ve read the original source material.

I’m sure there’s a lot of information to be gleaned from a film or a musical (especially when there happens to be an exclamation mark in the title) but they’re simply not the same as the powerfully raw nature of the initial text. Even if Dickens does insist on scrawling out painfully long sentences with little to no consideration lent to the comforts of the reader, almost as if he doesn’t care about their reading pleasure or perhaps he feels such fancies pales into insignificance compared to his oratory magnificence. Who can tell?

Anyway, there just so happens to be a tiny scrap of humanity on the loose doing his level best to impersonate the literary creation. When someone’s got it into their head that they’re an orphan from the 1800s whose destiny is to enter a ragtag gang of pickpocket miscreants but be ultimately rescued from a life of crime by a kindly gentleman who will turn out to be a long lost relative it’s surprisingly difficult to disabuse them of this notion. Trust me, I gave it a very hearty go indeed.

So what do you do when someone is plainly and simply off their tiny head? How precisely is one supposed to force them to see any kind of sense? Do you leave them to their wholly plagiarised but surprisingly satisfying daydream? What do you do when they keep pestering you for more gruel (it’s hardly worth pointing out that the porridge they had in the first place was of infinitely superior quality)? Consider them a lost cause? Would you do anything? It’s something of an Oom-pah-pah, I can tell you that.

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