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Monday, September 06, 2010

The Miracle of Life

I’ve arrived back from Edinburgh, still in one piece (although I cut my nails just before leaving to see if it’d feel weird to have fresh bits of me 400 miles away from the rest of me: it doesn’t). After a gruelling month of festivities, I’m still alive.

I may only be a quarter of the way to my target but the fact that I haven’t died yet is, I think, incredible. Every single day of my life (that’s 11680 so far) I’ve managed to avoid the scythe of death despite that scythe looming on an almost continual looming cycle.

During my last hour in our rented flat I looked up (after clipping my nails) and saw for the first time the gas meter, a couple of feet above the sink. Slapped across the middle of the machine was a sign, framed by hazard symbols, warning me to call the emergency services if I ever suspected there was even a hint of a leak. As soon as I read that I suspected I could smell, if not gas, then a hint of gas. Should I call the emergency services? Was I in immediate peril?

Not prepared to take any personal risk but keen not to get bogged down in admin at this late stage of the festival, we jumped in the car and left the country.
Since that near-incident I see danger everywhere. I seem to be surrounded by potential death-traps. And I’m sorry to interrupt the flow but here are two quick points on ‘potential death-traps’.

1) I remember someone using that phrase as a comedy catchphrase in the 80s or 90s – anyone know who that was?
2) Is there such a thing as an ‘actual death-trap’? The ‘trap’ side of the phrase sounds too fun to be associated with the ‘death’ bit. Is the ‘death’ bit meant to refer to the Grim Reaper himself? Has ‘Death’ set the trap? Would immortality itself be an ‘actual death-trap’?

Enough meandering. Instead, here’s a quick look round my house (at night, so apologies for any gloom) to see just how dangerous my everyday life is. I’ve literally spent two minutes glancing around to see what things might kill m and the results, as you’ll see, are frankly terrifying.

And if any of these things do kill me in the next few days, I’m aware I’ll either look like a prat for not doing something about them, or a soothsayer (given the choice, I’d always pick the second option, even though someone who just say sooth also sounds like a bit of a prat).
So here are just some of the houseassins (my word) I’m having to avoid every single day:


TV – mounted precariously on a chest. It doesn’t quite fit. I could easily be crushed one day.


Radiator – I don’t understand these things. Is there gas in them? Is the gas the thing that’s hot? How does it get hot? Is there a flame near the gas somewhere? I’m an idiot, I know, but should I be worried, shouldn’t I?

Open fire – it suddenly seems ridiculous to me that I have a fire in my house. I often bring in a load of wood and set fire to it, then spend a whole evening trying to create more flames, bigger sparks and hotter heat. Inside my own house. Madness.

Steps – these are steep steps. I sometimes call them steeps. I often stumble on the steeps. And I sometimes sleepwalk. Surely just a matter of time before I steepsleepstumble.

Lights – our bathroom is located directly above these lights. There are gaps in the floorboards of the bathroom through which I can see these lights. So water must often drip onto these lights. As we know, I’m a fool, but doesn’t water plus electricity equal danger?

Peace lily – poisonous apparently. So an ironic name? Or does the peace refer to how I should rest?


Beanbag – I could easily choke on this.

I could go on. I’m surrounded by threats, my life is full of near-misses, I am a brave, brave, lucky, lucky man. So can I go on? Keep your fingers crossed and maybe send me on some sort of Home Economics refresher course.


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"I remember someone using that phrase as a comedy catchphrase in the 80s or 90s – anyone know who that was?"

Wasn't it Hugh Dennis? He was doing an impression of Lynn Faulds Wood, as I recall. Can't see anything on youtube to confirm this though.

It was definitely an impression of Lynn Faaulds Wood, and I think it was on the Mary Whitehouse Experience, so probably was Hugh Dennis.

Thanks for that - Hugh Dennis then. Good good!

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