For the last two years I’ve joined in the #atozchallenge, namely to post every weekday in April using each letter of the alphabet in turn. In 2015 it was places I’d been to, in 2016 it was London themed. This year it is a dictionary of my family, recounting incidents small and large that have taught me lessons down the years, caused me consternation or generally seared themselves into my memory. I hope you enjoy them. To find other bloggers doing the challenge and maybe be inspired yourself, check out the A to Z Blogging Challenge Blog, here.
Is it me or are doors essentially failed comedians? As a child I’m pretty sure the first joke I didn’t ‘get’ was:
When is a door, not a door?
When it’s a jar.
My mother did her best to explain the play on words but such jokes are pitifully useless if you don’t know both meanings in the first place. And is there anything more unappealing than an explained joke, apart from dentistry in all its ghastly forms, mistaking grapefruit sorbet for pineapple and Russel Brand?
And it’s not just glass storage containers. What about preserves?. The door jamb. There’s a joke there, only there isn’t because when you’ve shut your fingers between the door and the jamb – truly jamming it in place – the joke dissolves. I might have understood
When do you find splinters on your toast?
When you spread it with door jamb.
But no one seems to have bothered trying to make it work.
And then there’s the door knob, a nudge nudge, wink wink opportunity if ever there was one. But again maybe some poor hard at work humorist had just crafted the perfect door knob joke when someone opened the door in question quickly reacquainting his scrotal sack with his long released testicles.
Why do you have to stand tall when you open the door?
Because the door knob works best when you’re erect.
As a new parent there are several things you need to bear in mind as your child begins to develop: the only control a child has is to refuse and/or regurgitate its food and it will use that negotiating ploy from early on; you will eat your body weight in secondhand food by the time they are two; baby poo is still poo; and you mustn’t pigeon-hole them.
I was pigeon-holed as clumsy from an early age. ‘You have heavy hands’ said one grandma – I knew this to be true because, if I relaxed, they headed towards the floor until my arms stopped them.
I did break things. I tried to kill myself in ways that the authors of the Darwin Awards might find too stupid to include. For instance, I was found sticking a small butter knife between the plug and the socket, creating a rather pretty flame which, had I not been holding the small bone handle would have electrocuted me. Here it is
and you can still see the small melt marks where the metal blade rested across the old two pin plugs we had back in the late 1950s.
However doors are a recurring theme when it comes to accidents. In no particular order
- I have shut my head in car doors on at least three occasions.
- Just last week I accidentally lent on the carboot close button of the key fob as I was changing out of my walking boots and floored myself with the boot lid as it shut.
- my right thumbnail is wrinkled from shutting it in a safe door on my second day at a new job as a trainee lawyer. ‘Are you alright?’ they said and maybe wondered why I didn’t speak for quite some while.
- My parents’ front door and I fought a long and arduous battle that ended in a stalemate; it’s job was to deny me entry or only on terms that involved me slamming into some part of it – I hated that door.
- Fed up with my increasingly successful destruction of her crockery my mother invested in the latest unbreakable cups and saucers – made of melamine – and was understandably furious when I managed to snap the handle off a cup by shutting the door on it; by this point she had learnt the error of asking ‘how did you do that?’ in case I showed her.
Perhaps my greatest failure with a door came when the Textiliste and I bought a run down Victorian house and set to to do it up ourselves. Yes we bought in a lot of help with stuff like plumbing and electrics but the basic stuff – decorating, re-carpeting, tiling – we did ourselves. Towards the end of this project, I laid a hard wearing cork flooring throughout the hallway but in so doing I found the increased height meant the small downstairs toilet door would not open. One Saturday afternoon, when the Textiliste was out I decided to plane a little off the bottom of the door to free it up; she was understandably rather fed up with the lack of a functioning toilet door.
I took the offending door out back and fixed it on the work bench I had. I planed off a cautious few millimetres and rehung it. Nope, more needed. I tried again without noticeable success. As I was rehanging it for the third time, the Textiliste returned.
‘What on earth are you *&^%$£()_*& doing?’ or something along those lines.
I was a bit put out. Surely it was obvious. I suspect I sounded a little petulant as I explained.
I came there.
I looked. The door, still failing to move, sat inside the frame. A slice of yellow light from the bulb inside the toilet stained the hall ceiling with the shame of
incontinence incompetence. I had shaved the top off the door.
We laugh about it nowadays. We also know a very good carpenter if you need one. These days, you see, the joke is not the door, but on me.