From the outset this Kilroy must not be confused by UK residents with his latter day namesake of television and immodest but third-string political fame, who was in the news a few years ago. History tells us that a bronzed giant is fated to become a brief super nova followed by implosion, a status of red faced dwarf, and then extinction. An occurrence not unknown in the media and sporting world.
However the original Kilroy still lives on and may well for ever. Kilroy was the 'in' joke of the fifties, especially in the armed services, and probably started his career much earlier. Most likely brought over by the American troops, he entered into my little world a dozen years after the famous wartime and immediate postwar 'Chad', that little bald headed cartoon face which looked over a wall and commented on the lack of just about anything, in the stylised form of 'Wot no xxx?' But unlike Chad, the face of Kilroy was never seen.
So how did we know that he existed? Well he left an indication of his previous presence by scrawling a little dated graffiti tag which always read 'Kilroy was here'. One was likely to encounter those words just about anywhere, but Kilroy's forte was to leave his mark in the most unlikely and inaccessible of places. In cupboards or containers that had been sealed for years perhaps, on the ceilings of very high rooms, on mountain sheer rockfaces, carved into the bark at the top of very high trees, or any such near impossible location. Of course we all added to the joke whenever we found ourselves in any suitably dangerous or remote position.
The more daring of the modern graffiti artists carry on the joke but not in such a subtle or throwaway manner. They want their work to be seen, whereas Kilroy had discretion: he wanted the best examples of his tag to be discovered only by someone as equally ingenious, brave or foolhardy as himself. Thus it is quite reasonable to expect his tag to be found near the top of Mount Everest and if Kilroy was indeed born in the United States, then I would not be at all surprised to learn that it is scrawled somewhere up there on the moon.
Text © 2005 D.C.Adams Rev250311
Text © 2005 D.C.Adams