by Gordon Dioxide

This is a bicycle about my life. I'm sorry, did I say bicycle? I meant to say "story", but sometimes I get my words mixed up. Anyway, as I was saying, this is story about my life. It's called "My Life Bicycle".

I am now 104 years old, but when I was born I was zero. I was just a baby in those days, and I couldn't walk, talk or fold maps. Now I can walk and talk, but I'm still learning how to fold maps.

I'm old now, but when I was young I wasn't old at all.

During my first year, I did a lot of crying and a lot of unpleasant things in my nappies. By the way, nappies are called diapers in America and something else in Norway, Belgium, Italy and Bolivia.

Exactly 12 months after birth, I had my first birthday. And 52 weeks after that, I had my second. My third came 365 days later, my fourth 8,760 hours later, my fifth 525,600 minutes later and my sixth 31.536 million seconds later.

By the way again, if you are 5 you have been alive for more than 157 million seconds. This handy cut-out-and-keep chart shows how long you have been alive:

5 years = 157,000,000 seconds
6 years = 189,000,000 seconds
7 years = 220,000,000 seconds
8 years = 252,000,000 seconds
9 years = 283,000,000 seconds
10 years = 315,000,000 seconds

If you are more than 10, you can either work it out for yourself or go and do something more interesting.

Anyway, back to the story of my life. After I was 6, I became 7. Then I became 8, then 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 13, then 14, then 15, then 16, then 17, then 18, then 19, then 20. I missed out 21 because I forgot my birthday, so, after two years at 20, I became 22.

I used to have an imaginary friend. He was imaginary because only I knew about him. Nobody else could see him, hear him, smell him or stamp on his foot. He used to go everywhere with me, but one morning I woke up to find that he had disappeared. I haven't seen him since.

After 22, I was 23, then 24, then 25, then 26, then 27, then 28, then 29, then 30.

Every birthday I had to go out and buy one extra candle for my cake, except on my 22nd birthday when I had to buy two.

I got married when I was 31. My wife was two years younger than me and still is. She always uses my candles on her birthday cake, as we share everything except her lipstick.

Did you know that lipstick is called "rossetto" in Italy, "lippenstift" in Holland, "batom" in Portugal and "lipstick" in Scotland? No? Well, you do now.

When I was 32 I got a job at a fire extinguisher factory, but it burnt down.

When I was 33 I got a job at a map factory, but soon got the sack.

Then I got the sack at a sack factory.

Then I got fired at a gun factory.

When I was 34 I joined the Navy because I like flying. This was a terrible experience because they put me on a plane that sailed on water. I hate everything to do with the sea: I hate waves, I hate salt water, I hate fish and I hate all three letters "s", "e" and "a".

When I was 35 I became a doctor, but had to give that up when I got a mystery illness.

At 36 I got a job at an alarm clock factory, but kept being late for work after oversleeping at home.

Then I got a job at a bed factory, but kept being late to go home after oversleeping at work.

On September 15th 1937, my wife and I decided to move to Alaska to start a new life. The following day we moved back as it was too cold.

We also tried moving to Nigeria, but that was too hot. Eventually, we found a nice place just down the road, where the temperature was perfect.

We were very happy, but my career was going nowhere. I needed to find a job that I was good at.

I tried bricklaying, dentistry and professional tennis but it was difficult trying to hold down three jobs at the same time.

I became an astronaut, but once you've seen one planet you've seen them all.

Working in a bank was more interesting. That went well until the day I put all the money in the safe and accidentally dropped the key down an old well shaft.

I applied to become a check-out girl at the local supermarket but they said I had filled in the wrong form.

My next job was a complete disaster and I don't want to talk about it.

It would soon be time to retire and I hadn't even started work yet!

I tried to get someone to sponsor me to see how many cakes I could eat in 4 days. I was sure that this would bring me fame and fortune, as well as a mention in the Book of World Records. Nobody sponsored me but I went ahead with the record attempt anyway. I ate 79 cakes on the first day, but then spent the next three days in hospital.

Soon after that, I decided to go to University. For three years I studied books and wrote essays. When I went to hand all my work in I found out that I was supposed to have sent in an application form before starting university.

We weren't short of money as my wife had quite a good career. She had worked her way up from being a tea lady to become the Prime Minister. This meant there was a vacancy in the government for a new tea lady. So I went to the interview wearing a dress and lipstick, but didn't get the job as I have no idea how to make tea.

I also went for an interview at a door factory, but couldn't find the way in.

I joined a pop group and they asked me to be the singer as I can't play any instruments. They kicked me out when they realised that I can't sing either.

After two days as a helicopter pilot and six days swimming back to shore, I finally found my dream job. It involved counting the number of books in our local library. I completed the task in less than a week, but they refused to pay me as they said that nobody had asked me to do it. This made me quite angry, so I decided to use my library ticket to borrow all 740,000 books. Cycling home with all these books wasn't easy, and I had to make three trips.

I spent the next ten years reading all the books, and thus became the cleverest person in the whole wide world. This really was my big break. I worked out how to solve world hunger, discovered a cure for all known diseases and won some great prizes on TV quiz shows.

I wrote a book that included all the information that I'd read about. The book was bigger than a small city (but smaller than a big city). Sherwood Forest had to be cut down to provide enough paper for the book. Unfortunately there were no book shops large enough to stock the book, so it was a bit of a waste of time really.

As this is the story of my life, I suppose I should tell you my name. It's Jonathan Dolphin, not ideal for someone who doesn't like the s-e-a. My middle name is Grmbhhyfrw, a word with no vowels and completely impossible to pronounce.

My motto in life always used to be "You will find that everybody is good if you take time to get to know them". To test this theory, I invited the Devil to our wedding. I'm sorry to say that he yawned during the Best Man's speech, so now my motto is "You will find that everybody is good, except for the Devil who can be very rude at weddings."

My wife is still the Prime Minister, I am still the cleverest man in the whole wide world and we still have plenty of money left over from my success on "Who Wants to be a Zillionaire". But when I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in any way. Now I need a butler, a gardener, a cook and somebody to put the toothpaste on my brush.

There are three things that irritate me: empty staplers, umbrellas on a windy day and smug-looking cats that think they know everything. If these cats were really that clever, they wouldn't spend all their time chasing mice while being chased by dogs. They would get out of the way and let the dogs chase the mice.

Anyway, I'd better stop writing this story now as I've got another job interview in a minute.

Now you know all about my life, you will be able to go on "Mastermind" with the specialist subject of "The Life and Times of Jonathan Dolphin". Here are some questions to help you revise:

1. What happened to my imaginary friend?
2. Which birthday did I forget?
3. What happened to the fire extinguisher factory?
4. Why did I have to give up being a doctor?
5. Why was I unlucky not to beat the world cake-eating record?
6. Why didn't they give me a job as a tea lady?
7. What is unusual about my middle name?
8. And finally, an easy question: what is your name?