Essay

The Single Object At Home Edition: Tin Car

When I was two I was diagnosed with glue ear after going deaf and losing all speech development. It was a critical time for a child to lose the ability to speak, one that worried my mother. Fortunately, even miraculously,  there was a woman studying in Christchurch at the time called Dorothy specifically completing her PHD on speech therapy for children with glue ear. She offered free tuition as a way to test her thesis. I have no firm memories of the experience, but I do recall goldfish, bubbles and a warm kind spirit of a woman whose face I can't recall. Needless to say it was successful. A few years after Dorothy returned home from wherever she came from (Kansas? Oz?) a small tin car was sent in the mail for my 3rd birthday, it was from Dorothy.

Shortly after getting it we went to the mall and I (classically) was dancing around with my tin car. It fell out of my hands and hit the tiles of Merivale Mall breaking one of the wheels. Mum lost it at me, furious at how I would be so careless with something so precious. It’s not until later in my adult life I understood what she was speaking to. The car was an emblem of the generosity given to us by Dorothy. Her kindness, compassion and skills which gave me back my speech. The car has stayed with me everywhere I’ve gone. Proudly displayed with its broken wheel in every flat I live in. A gentle reminder to share your talents and be kind to strangers. 

--

Chris Parker grew up in Christchurch with dancing aspirations, before attending drama school Toi Whakaari in Wellington. Heading to Auckland, he joined improv group Snort in its embryonic stages, which led to being cast as David Halls in hit stage play Hudson and Halls Live. Parker’s screen work includes writing and appearing in both Funny Girls and Jono And Ben; the latter featured his segment Chris Out Of Water. He's also acted in sitcom Golden Boy, co-hosted podcast turned web series The Male Gayz, and won the Fred Award for Best Show at the 2018 NZ International Comedy Festival. Chris Parker performs stand-up comedy and featured in the 2019 TV series Funny As: The Story of New Zealand Comedy.

Chris Parker's tin car