They taught him how to make all kinds of smeared paint upon smeared paint effects that look really crap, because it was the late Eighties and smeared paint upon smeared paint effects that look really crap were totally in fashion with folks with money.
They liked it in their bathrooms because it helped them relax while they took a power-shower or power-bath or power-shit or something.
My Dad loved to come home and try out his newly learned skills. He still does. You haven't lived until you've wondered if it really is 2008 whilst marvelling at the audacious tackiness of a home made coffee table festooned in a brown, green and white rag-rolled paint job.
They also taught him how to Artex a ceiling. Because folks with (and without) money like that too.
This ruined my early teen solo sweaty hand fun for at least a year.
When religious types take random stimulus and interpret it into significant images they might, and have seen Jesus in the knots on a door or the Virgin Mary on a toasted sandwich or the word Muhammad (I'd wager the word rather than an image of his no doubt lovely beardy face for many of the reasons those clumsy Danish cartoons caused all that trouble the other year - but what do I know?) in a tomato. It's probably no wonder they see representations of their favourite significant dead people, or even that they think that their god has time to go around signing his name in their food just in case they want a tasty, yet perishable autograph.
We all do it all the time. That pesky theory of evolution is probably why it's hard wired into our awesome human brains. Maybe as some kind of defence mechanism.
But don't try telling that to some of those religious types.
Pareidolia is what they call it, but I didn't know that at the time. All I knew was that a significant dead person was watching me wait for my older brother (we shared a bedroom) to go out for long enough for me to have my sticky fingered imaginary way with girls I went to school with.
I never saw Jesus, I saw something much more sinister than him up there in the random Artex squiggles on the ceiling above my bed, I saw this:
Clamp your eyes shut as hard as you like (and doing what I was doing when I first noticed the Droopy look-a-like master of suspense up there on my bedroom ceiling, you probably will at some point ) but the sneaking suspicion that the dead might be peeping in at you at your most exposed, no matter how irrational, can really put the dampener on even the most "festive" of moods.
Don't believe me?
Try this then; next time you are getting it on with yourself imagine some dead movie director, or dead movie star, or dead dictator. Or better yet Jesus, or even better yet, Jesus if he looked just like your grandmother, yeah that's good, Jesus if he looked just like your grandmother, crucifix pose, palms exposed, stigmata weeping pus and blood while a single shameful tear rolls slowly, so slowly, like salty syrup, down the sagging cheek of the deity/post menopausal old bastard.
Imagine that looking at you next time you are wanking.
Have a really good think about that watching you.
Go on, really, really do your best to visualise her/him, all ashamed that the baby she/he/it made loving cooing noises at is all swollen and stretched out into an adult that is moving its hand like that while touching that. That the infant that she/He/your fucking nan held in her arms and doted on has grown into something that has that part of that person in their mouth/arse.
Make your best mental picture.
Still in the mood?
Well are you?
You sick little fucker.
So what have we all learned from all this?
I'm not sure really.
Maybe that the human brain is amazing in its capacity for interpretation and imagination. That we will all spot patterns in our lives that aren't there?
That we too readily make our own or buy into group superstitions? That we would all be a lot happier if we just rationally thought about the reasons we find patterns in the most random of things?
That your "aura" isn't all out of wob and the wrong colour?
That your Chi wasn't misaligned, you were sick and getting stabbed with some pins wasn't the thing that fixed it, you just convinced yourself it was?
That you aren't all full of bad Thetans, you're maybe just as messed up as everyone else is and those cunts aren't interested or capable of really helping you, they're just after your money?
That Alfred Hitchcock's ghost has no more seen my penis than you are being silently judged by some invisible fucknut that will see you tortured horribly for all eternity the most minor transgression?
That there is no pattern or design to it all and that's why it can be so frightening but also so much amazing fun to be alive and in possession of one of those awesome human brains?
I'm sure my writing isn't anywhere near being good enough to convey sentiments and ideas like that with any subtlety though.
Maybe all we've really learned from this ultimately shameful little piece is that crappy looking smeared paint upon smeared paint effects on walls and furniture have been unjustly overlooked in the recent comeback of eighties fashions. My old Dad could coin it in for sure.
Oh, and that I should avoid ever taking a Rorshach test, and you should probably never ask me if I want to borrow your Hitchcock boxset.
Or look after your elderly relatives.
Especially when I'm feeling "festive".