“Gitte, and you’ve now spent hundreds of marks on this?” My Grandma Lore has often cried in her life, but that evening many years ago it particularly affected her. After many hours of boring lessons, I sat with my concert guitar on the first floor with my grandmother and wanted to present my successes. Grandma and Mom expected little – and I managed to beat even that! Yes, it may have been the excitement (critical audience). But rather it was the pure incompetence that made this performance so miserable. For my mother, the atonal plucking of “Hänschen kleine” was like a declaration of artistic bankruptcy, a – yes, Grandma Lore was right – a wry “Look at what supposed talent the money was being sunk into again”. A chimpanzee with tetanus would have worked brilliantly against me.

I was eleven years old and it became clear to my mother that the child would no longer be gifted. Sports? None: I was registered at TuS Henrichenburg when I was seven, assuming I could follow in my talented big brother’s cleated footsteps. After the first training session – in 1984 it was thought to be a good idea to let children who wanted to play run countless laps around the pitch – I lost interest in football. In the first few days after the early end of my football career, whenever the doorbell rang downstairs, I asked my grandma not to open the door because: “That’s the coach coming to get me!”

My name is Micky Beisenherz. In Castrop-Rauxel I am a world star. Elsewhere I have to pay for everything myself. I am a multimedia (single) general store. Author (Extra3, Jungle Camp), presenter (ZDF, NDR, ProSieben, ntv), podcast host (“Apocalypse and Filter Coffee”), occasional cartoonist. There are things that stand out to me. Sometimes even upset me. And since their impulse control is constantly stuck, they probably have to get out. My religious symbol is the crosshairs. The razor blade is my dance floor. And my feet are itching again.

In order to counteract my not insignificant Nutella and chip consumption, Mom left no stone unturned. So after football I ended up in the tennis club. Serve, forehand, backhand: I was as talented on the court as Boris Becker is talented in everything off the court. I was talkative, though. So talkative that after a few hours, in the presence of the other four tennis students, my coach offered to pay me a whole D-Mark if I would just keep my mouth shut for the entire 45 minutes. I didn’t come anywhere near the mark. At least I managed a spectacular serve in which the ball shot straight up vertically and disappeared through the skylight of the tennis hall about ten meters above us.

Guitar, soccer shoes, tennis racket: time and time again my family invested in me, firmly believing that I had a talent, a gift, or at least a solid interest. It was all in vain.

And while, almost 40 years later, the keyboard and tennis gear are halfway to my daughter, I am in danger of repeating my parents’ story: with a child who seems to lack virtuosity in some disciplines. Which doesn’t seem suitable for bragging rights on Rotary nights. Which instead lives out music, sports and drawings in its own creative cosmos and, from what I can tell, is happy. And a pleasant, funny person who increasingly annoys the old man. What does he think of!

To be on the safe side, I’ll give her one euro for her first tennis lesson soon. If she, in turn, were encouraged to earn one by keeping her mouth shut for an hour, she would come away empty-handed like her dad did back then. But the chattering was definitely worth it later.