|There's an old poem by
Chesterton called "The Donkey" it always crops up about Easter time
it's a poem about an ass. I sometimes think I have a lot in common with
that animal. "The Devil's walking parody on all four footed things..."
so it goes. If there is a devil I think he takes great pleasure in
giving one or two people specific attention making sure that the law of
"sod it" works on every level. My life seems speckled with little
incidents that must have made him chuckle. If there is such a thing as
"the gift 'o the gab" I seem to be cursed with the antithesis. Any
conversation I have seems to end in disaster. after half an hour of
talking to a blind man once he informed me that I'd used the words
"see" and "look" and various references to that faculty more times than
any other person he'd encountered in his life. I told him "that was
only his point of view" and left him swinging his stick around his head
in a strange manner.
The words "You can't take him anywhere" spring to mind. Tell me you've recently split up with your partner and I seem to launch in to a conversation that to hinges upon that very subject. Say you've just stopped smoking and I automatically light up and offer you one. When they say the art of conversation is dead I think it's probably down to me. When commiserating with a friend who was sad that he was leaving for Australia I tried to cheer him with "It's not the end of the world ..." My life is littered with lead balloons like that. "Cheer up anyone would think someone had just died".. they had... his mother.
Life wouldn't be so bad if my faux pas remained in the field of verbal communication, sadly the devil has seen fit to extend my abilities and I can confess to a whole host of strange happenings that have dogged me.
It was midnight, he was pulling the starter on his old Ford Anglia so much that the battery was wearing down. I was waiting for a bus. It was a hill, I shouted, "I'll push you off the kerb and you can jump start it". The car rumbled down the hill and smacked into the back of a mini that was waiting at the lights! When they dragged him out of his car the driver was so drunk he couldn't even stand up. The mini driver shouted, "How the hell did he get here the engine's cold?" I quietly caught the bus home.
Driving in to Withernsea many years ago I saw a body lying at the edge of the road half way down Little England Hill. Obviously the man was a victim of a hit-and-run. He was lying on his side with his back to the road probably in an attempt to stop his left lung filling with blood. Completely disregarding any first aid I had been taught I leapt out of my car and ran to his aid. It was as I was trying to lay him flat on his back that he informed me he was trying to clear a drain and I was breaking his right arm which was in the drain, hence the groaning noises he kept making when I tried to turn him over.
"The fifth screw"
I was intent upon fitting my latest security light while there was still time to see. The garage roof seemed a good place to fix it and I had already done the standard Laurel and Hardy trick of running up and down the ladder with one tool at at time when I hit upon the idea of putting all the tools and the screws on the flat roof of the garage. After this brilliant move I found I could could then reach for the items needed and save my legs. I even excelled myself by putting the screws in my mouth, as I had seen my father do on several occasions. By this method I could not only centre the holes with a bradawl but could then also place the screws straight in.It was at this point that I noticed I had five screws in my mouth. This didn't strike me a strange as most modern packages seem to include an extra item in the event of a loss. When I had finished securing the light I became curious about the extra screw that I had in my mouth as it seemed to be dissolving. Dried pigeon droppings look very similar to little black screws and tend to dissolve as you roll them around in your mouth! Needless to say I spent the rest of the evening gargling and spitting as I walked around the garden trying out my new light.