CHILDHOOD ends at 40 now. I must have missed that memo. Well past 40 and still acting like a big bairn.

But the memo isn’t directed at the immature mature like your anti-hero here but at folk who still rely on their parents till that age. They’re calling them “the Peter Pan generation”. Brenna Hassett, an anthropologist at that University College London, says folk only grow up when they invest resources in others rather than themselves, particularly when they become parents.

Our long childhoods may have helped us compete with Neanderthals, says Dr Hassett, as staying with – and learning from – adults longer helped us survive. Then again, back in those days, no one lived much beyond 12, so it’s all relative, so to say.

Today, however, by the standards of other animals, our long childhoods suit a lifespan of 300 years. Chimps don’t muck about like us: one or two years of adolescence then they’re parents. The schmucks. No wonder they’re our inferiors. Every morning, I wake up and think: ‘Thank God I’m not a chimp.’

Then I reach for my breakfast banana and throw my faeces about: column-writing I think they call it.

By inference, parenting follows finding a partner, and I don’t know how younger persons do that nowadays. Much seems to happen by text and, while the number of avenues appear plentiful, the difficulties seem greater than when we were young and our only option was to go down the pub and hope that an invitation to play darts might lead to a lasting romance.

You also have to find a house. When I left home in my teens I fetched up in bedsits, but I don’t think they even have these now. Today, everyone wants on the property market from the age of 11. Ruddy Thatcher.

The mental prices for a hoose mean more people are still staying with their parents because they can’t afford anything. Good. It’s interesting – no, it is – how foreign people coming to live in this country find the Angle-Saxon property obsession so alien.

But, that said, you’ll be less marriageable if you’re still living with your mum at 40. Still, maybe it’s worth it for the security. Why would you want to be out there having a good time?

You say: “Do you have advice for us, Rab, that we can write down and keep by our beds?” Yes, as it happens, I do. Don’t leave home till you have to. Don’t cut yourself adrift. I did at the first opportunity. And look at me now: still lost.

It doesn’t matter that you’re a burden to your parents. Once you are gone, their lives will be empty. They’ll call it freedom, but that’s all freedom is: emptiness. It’s a great featureless void out of which you’re supposed to choose an invisible path.

You say: “That sounds like a lot of specious tripe. Do you not have anything more useful to suggest?”

Yes, as it happens, I do. Prolong your childhood for as long as you can, folks. Don’t grow up. I tried it once, and I think I got away with it. But I wouldn’t like to try it again.

Get something done

IT’S been a year since we were promised that, as part of “getting Brexit done”, we’d no longer have to thole those awful “Allow cookies” options that come up on nearly every website.

I say “options”, but who chooses to “manage cookies”? No one. We just click “allow” to get on with it and without even properly understanding what’s going on.

Like the nutty and irritating light bulb revolution, this was all supposedly the work of the European Union, but now that we’re oot of yon palaver nothing has changed.

Who’s the Prime Minister? Why doesn’t she do something? This time next year, we’ll probably still be working with those wretched metres and kilograms as well. It’s disgraceful.

Take us out of it

A PSYCHOLOGY professor has advocated giving psychedelic drugs to people in palliative care towards the end of their lives.

Dr David Luke, associate professor of psychology at Greenwich University, says they can reduce depression, open minds in an epiphany to a sense of meaning in life, reduce fear of death, and encourage belief in an afterlife. Hell’s bells, start dishing them out to everyone now, man!

In the newspaper report that I read, magic mushrooms were adduced, so perhaps you could ingest them with your morning bacon and eggs. But, from what I can remember of folk who dabbled in such things – psychedelics, not bacon and eggs – they can also drive you off your onion.

Then again, what would that matter in your dotage? Imagine having all your marbles then. Who wants that? Marbles: they’re so over-rated.

If doctors won’t discreetly give us something to help us slip away, like they used to do in the old days when they had morals, and as vets do now in a kindness to dogs, then at least let them give us something to take us out of our heads – the seat of all our problems.

Two fish is two too many

Unbelievable. After years of being tellt to eat two portions of fish a week, we’re now tellt that doing so could cause skin cancer. That was the conclusion of a US study of half a million folk, with pollutants blamed for the health risk. Only good news was that fried fish seemed OK. Everyone to the chippie!

Sticky ends

Shakespeare’s Cleopatra wouldn’t have died quickly from an asp bite, says scientist Dr Kathryn Harkup. And Hamlet’s father couldn’t have died from poison in the ear because wax would have blocked it. But it was drama, ken? You couldn’t have audiences looking at their sundials waiting for Cleo to die. And surely Shaky was allowed to wax lyrical?

Flake news

Stylist Suzi Ronson used an old ladies’ anti-dandruff treatment to give David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust character his distinctive “screwed down” hairdo. Educated readers will recall that, making love with his ego, the leper messiah took it all too far. Perhaps he should have stuck to Head & Shoulders.

Flexible friends

Females who go to yoga are the most likely to cheat on their partners. Research for dubious dating website Illicit Encounters found 52% of those cheating on their partner regularly did the downward doggie. Surprisingly, given their irresponsibility, only 2% of cyclists were love rats. This was because they were “not sexy”.

Pain in the bot

UFO speculation continues wildly, with British astronaut Tim Peake suggesting the craft could be uncrewed, “robotic-type” objects from the future, while Lord Rees, an Astronomer Royal, said advanced aliens in ooter space will already have been superseded by their own robots – the same fate that awaits us. The future’s not bright. The future’s mechanical.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.