Before becoming the diarist and biographer of Samuel Johnson we all know and love, James Boswell was a young man seemingly destined to follow his father in the legal profession. In Edinburgh, Boswell fell in love with a Catholic actress, and his pissed-off father sent him away to Glasgow. Then, of course, the 30-odd miles between the two cities would have been more of a problem. Boswell, however, determined to engage in teenage rebellion, and intended to run away to London, convert to Catholicism, and become a monk.
And that's where I come in. This, dear reader, is not teenage rebellion. Teenage rebellion should be something wild, like getting drunk and running down someone's grandmother, or maybe growing opium poppies in a basement and making heroin, before injecting it into puppies. Becoming a monk is not an act of rebellion. No-one looks at monks and mutters rebel under their breath. Monks rarely, for example, form a motorcycle gang and terrorise shop owners.
So my message is, James Boswell - while otherwise well-grounded in his beliefs (See, for example, his splendid poem 'No Abolition of Slavery; or the Universal Empire of Love') - was a rather stupid teenager. I mean, stupider (I know) than the rest of us.
Or was he? Perhaps Boswell was in fact playing the long game of teenage rebellion. Perhaps, after securing a place of trust in the largely anti-Catholic community, he would systematically abuse some children. Of course, this is another example of misunderstanding teenage rebellion. Boswell was clearly a man who liked to take things to extremes, one way or the other.
Why, you ask, am I telling you this? The answer is simple: I should be doing an essay on European Tourism History. As such, do any of you have sinks that need cleaning? I'm willing to travel....