Archive for December, 2011

Ignominious Injuries

There are many adjectives that could be used to describe me, but graceful is not one.  Nor is slick or well-coordinated.  Anyone who spoke of me as being nimble or gazelle-like could certainly be sued under the Trades Descriptions Act.  I am a bit of a klutz.   You are doubtless shocked at this revelation.  It may take you a while to accept it as true.  Unfortunately, this is no idle hyperbole on my part.  I am not even a bit of a klutz, but quite an accomplished klutz.  As we head towards the end of another year, I thought I would impress you with a list of some of the real injuries I have inflicted on myself in the last twelve months.

1. I hurt my arm from catching my sleeve on my kitchen door handle.

2. I’ve done this several times.

3. I bashed into my shopping trolley because I caught a button of my coat in a part of the metal.

4. I put my back out while putting recycling into the green bin one Sunday afternoon.  (This just goes to show you the evils of recycling.   I’ve never been injured by anything going into landfill.)

5. As a result of this injury, I found it very hard to get up from a sitting position, therefore I mostly stood upright for the next few days.  This left me with incredibly sore feet.

6. I limped for hours last week from the pain of nicking off skin while clipping my little toenail.

7. I regularly turn my ankle walking down stairs.  No, I don’t know how I do that.

As an aside, I think it’s clear that in addition to being a klutz, I also have whatever is the opposite of a foot fetish.  I seem to despise my own feet and everything they stand for (sorry, couldn’t help that pun, no more than I could help the falling).  I seem to wish them no end of pain and indignity.  But more likely, I suppose, is that my feet have latent masochistic tendencies.  That would certainly explain how they ended up adhered to me.)

8. I regularly fall up flights of stairs.  No, I don’t know how I do that either.

Let’s pause at this juncture to restore my dignity by watching someone more awkward and unfortunate.  This adds nothing by way of content.  It just to make me feel better about myself.

So, back to me.

9. I gingerly negotiated a patch of ice at the end of my road in the recent bad weather and then slipped on a stretch of path where there was none at all.

10. I closed a laptop on my fingers.  In my defence, I mostly did that to give my feet a break.

11. I broke a kitchen chair from tilting backwards just a smidge too far.  For the uninitiated, “a smidge” is a unit of measurement equal to the distance from your home to the nearest IKEA. You can never have too many Ingolf kitchen chairs.  And if you tilt backwards too far on enough of them, you can’t even have any.

12. In the midst of ranting at my kids over the encroachment of their trains and tracks into the living room, I slid on one of the trains and landed knee-first on the self-same track.

Why am I like this?  Nature, nurture, who knows?  I feel it’s most likely rooted in my generous nature.  I like to give amusement.  So I do these things for the sheer cartoonish, Home Alone quality.  (It would take stunt coordinators on a movie set weeks to set up what I can improvise in seconds.)  Sometimes I do it because I feel a desire to enrich my children’s vocabularies with the addition of some judicious profanities.  The first time I heard my then two-year-old saying “Cheeses Crites” was a moment that will stay with me forever.  Often, I am trying to figure out what ludicrous contortion I have to get myself into to stop my Present Husband laughing at the time I managed to stumble, double myself in two and hit my head off a mattress. So far, nothing has topped it but I’m ever the optimist.

Mostly, however, I think I would love to go viral on YouTube.  I could be an internet sensation in 2012 if I put my mind to it – or not, as the case may be.  I could easily go toe-to-toe (battered ones, in my case) with a clip of a cat singing “My Way” or a montage of babies eating lemons.  Who knows what might be captured on film? Me walking into an eye level cupboard, maybe me going head first off my bike or possibly me walking down the stairs carrying laundry and not noticing the toy cars on the step below.  All with hilarious consequences.  I think I’d love that.  All of me would.  Especially my feet.  They would love nothing more than a bit of pain and humiliation.    Oooh, bring it on! 


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Coping with Christmas

How complicated is the process of changing one’s name by Deed Poll?  Because I’d like to change my middle name from – plain, uninspiring and not remotely descriptive of me – “Teresa”  to  – what is that sound?  Why, it’s the nail being hit on the head!  – “Helpful.”

The festive season is upon us and so too is the stress that inevitably accompanies enforced contact with one’s nearest and dearest.  If it’s not possible to avoid this and to spend time instead with one’s furthest and cheapest, then here are some hints to help you navigate this fraught period.

First of all, frugality is your friend.  And the kind of frugality that is above and beyond the demands of any mere recession.  To begin with, appalling standards of hospitality – half a stale Ferrero Roche, anyone? – are a must.  So too are miserly gifts.  Should you choose to have one, your Christmas soiree should include guests who have outrageous and inflammatory opinions coupled with poor personal hygiene norms.  Your entertainment for this event should incorporate slides from your holiday touring the factories of Citywest and also showing off your collection of Nazi memorabilia.  (Accumulating a collection of Nazi memorabilia at short notice will probably take up all of your time over the next week and a half but it’s the gift that keeps on giving)  All of this should be accompanied by the aroma from your backyard meat rendering operation.

If this is too much of a long-range solution – and I’m not sure about the meat rendering plant, viz a viz health and safety – you will have to consider more extreme measures.  Fall out with your relatives.  Become a Jehovah’s Witness.  You’ll lose out on your birthday too, but you could just convert back then.  You are probably not the kind of person who likes to stick with things, so it probably won’t last.

If you are not a commitment kind of person, explore nudism, Satanism or telling people you work for the NAMA.   However, nudism at Christmas is really more of a southern hemisphere option.  There are those dreaded health and safety implications to starting fires in a pentangle, so Satanism might not be for you.  Check your house insurance before you try this.  And again afterwards if you can find the policy documents in the charred remains of your house. Bear in mind that burning your house to the ground at Christmas will cause your obliging friends and family to invite you to spend the whole season with them.  Strategic thinkers like myself would call that “Square One.”

As far as telling people you work for NAMA, this might work too well.  What you are going for is an Amish-style shunning, not a Biblical-style stoning.   You just want to spend Christmas alone, not in traction.

There is the ever-popular option of vegetarianism, which at Christmas is regarded as a mental illness.  The downside to this is that people may just ignore it.  Worse, if you go through with it, you may end up with that scourge of modern medicine, low cholesterol.  I am still on a cheese toasties and Dorritos diet.  Good God, when will it end?

Finally, you might have to go for the nuclear option of telling your children the truth.  It’s a brutal but unerring ploy.  It will horrify your children and everyone else to such an extent that they will run from your presence never to return.  Telling the truth is always a very serious step, not to be taken lightly – sometimes not to be taken at all.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  And there is no time more desperate than Christmas.  So tell your children the truth.  It will do them good in the long run to get over the fantasies and you will be liberated from the burden of maintaining an absurb, infantile charade.

Don’t sugarcoat it.  Just say it straight out.

“Kids, we are potless.  There’s going to be no college and there’s no inheritance.  This is as good as it  gets!” 

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