Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Horror of the Upturned Plug

I was putting the kids to bed last night. The routine is always the same. Casey (11) grumbles that it’s too early, Bryher (9) invents a medical condition that only occurs at bedtime and Caleb (7) just moans for Britain, about anything and everything.

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.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Vehicular Trumpage

Doing a blog causes me to occasionally think,

‘Do people really want to know about that aspect of your character, Charlie? Do people really want to read that about you? Will it change how they look at you from now on?’

I go round in a bit of a circle, then emerge at the same point as always.

Nothing I do or say is original. All the things I like/dislike/hate/love are liked/disliked/hated/loved by everyone I know, in less, equal or greater measures.

There are aspects of our characters that we’d prefer people not to know about. Not because we’re particularly ashamed of them, but because we’re not sure what other peoples’ reactions to them would be. You may be the sort of person who, when on their own, likes to have a good pick of your nose, sometimes going to the trouble of rolling it up into a little, algae-coloured ball and flicking it towards the bin. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’re never going to put that particular skill on your CV.

You might be the sort of person who likes to do a quick impression of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs whenever you get out of the shower.

I wouldn’t judge you for that, but it isn’t something you’d mention on a blind date, unless you wanted to get home early.
Which brings me neatly on to farting in the car.

There, I said it. When I’m on my own, on the way to work, I will take immense pleasure from having a good fart in my car. I see it as a bit of a treat. Of course I’ll eventually put the driver’s side window down, sometimes all four, depending on diet, but not before I’ve had the opportunity to conduct a thorough, aromatic examination.

Is this something I should be ashamed of? Well I’m not, so there! The reason I’ve come out about it today is that I met a kindred spirit this morning. It was nice to realise that I wasn’t alone in the world of trump-relishing. I was at the lights and had just got to the point where it was time to open the window, as my skin was becoming slightly jaundiced. I noticed a car on the other side of the road, with the driver’s side window down. He wasn’t having a smoke, it wasn’t a particularly warm morning and he wasn’t trying to get someone’s attention. There could only be one reason.

As the lights changed, we drove slowly past each other, exchanging a knowing expression, that simply said,

“I know, mate - me too!”

This unseemly practice does have a drawback. After I’ve parked up at work, I’ve perfected a bit of an elaborate walk from the car to reception, so that I can rid myself of any residue that might be clinging to my clothes, hair or shoes. I’m sure the security blokes must wonder what I’m up to. Usually there’s a bit of speeding up and slowing down, with the occasional pirouette or energetic wafting to increase dispersal.

However, if we’ve had the pleasure of an Indian takeaway the night before, the only way to get in to work without setting off the smoke alarms is to do a complete rendition of Michael Jackson’s dance routine from ‘Billie Jean.’