Once they realise that I’ve heard it all before and have no intention of deviating from my plan of getting them all sorted and heading downstairs to watch Alan Partridge, they give in and we can move on to the more enjoyable bedtime routine of inhalers, toothbrushes and daft questions.
The stuff they ask me never gets stale. It must be great being 7 and having a head so stuffed with magic, that you can just chuck out enquiries with no self-consciousness whatsoever. I never know what’s coming. In the last few weeks, I’ve had,
“Was Anne Frank married to Hitler?”
“What’s 247 add 283?”
“Can rabbits wear clothes?”
“Why do you always tell us the same jokes?”
You can see why I might get a bit distracted, whilst I’m sorting them out. The last thing I do before legging it, is put up the black-out blind. I know we’re not living through a blitz, but on these light nights, my kids aren’t content with closing their eyes or burying their heads under a pillow.
Whilst I was putting it up, I had the good fortune to bring my full weight down, bare-footed, on to an upturned plug.
The longest of the three pins buried itself just below the ball of my foot and generated my standard reaction to this level of pain. For a couple of seconds I just puffed my cheeks out and held my foot. The pain hadn’t actually arrived yet, so I just stared at the kids and they wondered what I was doing. When the pain did arrive, I ran through all the swear words I know and reassembled them in a random order, now holding the foot in both hands and hopping round the room.
After a couple of minutes, my sanity returned and I explained to the kids that I wasn’t possessed and asked them to kindly put away electrical items when they were finished with them if they wouldn’t mind, please.
What is it about the design of this thing? It looks pretty innocuous so why is it capable of inflicting such terrible agony on the sole of the foot?
I’ve had a dentist touch an unanesthetized nerve. I’ve been kicked in the balls. I’ve accidentally stuck a fork under my thumbnail when emptying a dishwasher. I had a squash ball hit me right in the eye, but nothing compares to standing on an upturned fucking plug.
I think last night was probably my fifth exposure to this particular treat and I’m glad to report that time hasn’t diminished its effect. Even that little bit in the middle was there, when you think, “Do you know what? This hurts so much I might do a little vom!!”
It has only recently emerged that the upturned plug played a part in the Nuremberg Trials. Herman Göring, Commander of the Luftwaffe had been a particularly hard nut to crack. Immune to all forms of interrogation, he was well versed in the techniques required to evade giving answers to any of the questions put to him by Richard Sonnenfeldt, Chief Interrogator.
It was a chance mishap in his hotel room that led to Sonnenfeldt employing a new technique. Stepping on the plug to his wireless, he bunny hopped round the room for a good ten minutes before he realized that he’d struck interrogative gold.
The next day, a resolutely stoic Göring turned up for his next bout of questioning, only to find his footwear being immediately removed. The door to his cell was then opened and he was presented with a floor covered with upturned plugs. With screams of ‘Nein! Nein!’ he was pushed into the rooms and the lights turned off.
The notorious Nazi food hoover, no stranger to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Wolf’s Lair, was in absolute bits after five minutes, begging through the door to reveal all to his captors.
History tells us that Göring committed suicide the night before his planned execution. Sonnenfeldt’s recently released notebooks present a different story. Determined that there was more intelligence to be extracted from Göring he threatened him with another session in the upturned plug room. Ever inventive, he’d put in some additional items and they were enough to tip Göring over the edge. They included:
3 metal bedsteads
5 skirting board corners
A handful of Lego
and a single drawing pin
Use of the Lego and drawing pin was outlawed by the Fourth Geneva Convention in 1949.