Monthly Archives: September 2003

I walk into the living room clutching a clutch of eggs in my hand.

I’m going to teach my grandmother to suck eggs. Now, I know what you’re going to say. The whole point is that this is something that you’re not supposed to do. But surely the only reason you’re not supposed to teach them this is because she’s supposed to know how to do it already. My grandmother doesn’t, at least… I don’t think she does.

Apparently albumen is good for arthritis. Now I don’t think she necessarily has this. She says her legs feel like balloons. But this sounds more like something soft than the kind of feeling you would normally associate with arthritis. Anyway they also say that the Albumen is good for keeping your dentures clean. My grandmother does have dentures. And she also has toothpaste problems. In fact this might explain them. (See past article for details: here)

I walk into the living room clutching a clutch of eggs in my hand.
“Grandma,” I say in a proud and happy voice, “I am about to teach you how to suck eggs.”

She sits there in a sort of stunned silence.

“What you do is make two tiny holes.” At this point I should mention that I have carefully placed all but one of the eggs on a side table. All of these eggs have rolled to their doom. I ignore them and continue. “You should make sure that the holes are far enough apart and then carefully apply one hole to your mouth leaving the other hole free to the open air. Then purse your lips and suck.”

My grandmother kindly asked “what are you trying to do kill me?”
“What?” I enquired.
“I’m diabetic. I can’t go about eating eggs, It would be the end for me for sure. And have you even considered Salmonella?”

I am sorry to say that I had not.

The answer is obvious the spy mastermind in Great Britain today is Boris Johnson.

I was just going past the MI5 headquarters in Vauxhall trying to find a cup of coffee. And I thought how strange it was that everyone now knew where the MI5 building is. Surely if you wanted to find out who the spies were you could just take lots of pictures of everyone who enters and exits and soon enough you’d know every spy in the country. Well all of the ones who were British and didn’t work from home.

But it led me to thinking about who the perfect spy would be. Surely you’d want somebody who nobody, no matter what, would expect.

The answer is obvious the spy mastermind in Great Britain today is Boris Johnson. He is a journalist, with a former brief to cover Germany at the time f the Berlin wall. He’s now an MP. He can go anywhere on a variety of pretext and nobody would ever suspect him. He could walk out of the MI5 building and my first thought would be, “oh he must have been interviewing someone,” not that he was getting his orders.

He should be the perfect spy but he cant be because I just guessed it was him. So therefore he isn’t the perfect spy after all.

My Grandmother has solid toothpaste.

My Grandmother has solid toothpaste. I don’t know why this should bother me so much but it does. I was visiting her the other day and went to brush my teeth. I pushed the tube and after some difficulty some paste came out. I added some water to the toothpaste as is my common practice. It’s been something that I’ve done ever since my earliest days of tooth brushing and is quite a common occurrence I believe.

It’s difficult to know what’s normal in the bathroom department as most people do the same things their entire life and deem that to be the normal approach. And people can often go through their entire lives not realising that there are alternative views. This is due to the generally solitary approach to bathrooms. You’re never confronted with the alternative.

I’m guessing that it’s a fifty : fifty split on wiping your backside. With half standing for this operation and half sitting. With both thinking that the alternative sounds completely alien.

I do a strange thing in relation to brushing my teeth which is that to get at the water to rinse out my mouth. I wet the brush again and again and then suck the water off the toothbrush. I know I could use my hand to get the water or lower my head but this is the method I’ve always used.

Anyway so I wet this toothpaste and nothing happens. It stays exactly the same texture. This is a bit weird, I think, and then when I put it in my mouth it’s so incredibly chewy. It actually stays as one lump all the tie. In the end I just had to spit it out and there it was still one lump. Most disturbing. IN the end I got some new stuff from my aunt. But the event lives with me to this day. Which is good considering it only happened 4 days ago and I’m not quite that forgetful. Not quite.

I’m slightly batty.

I’m slightly batty. Batty is an interesting word because it can mean at least two completely different things nowadays. If you say someone is “batty,” just by itself then you generally mean they are a little bit nuts. If you say that somebody is a “batty man” you are implying that they are gay.

Where do these meanings come from? Perhaps the mad definition is the most obvious one. It sounds like it probably comes from having bats in your belfry. But where did that come from? Well who do we know from the annuls of literature who lived in a belfry? There was the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Maybe it has something to do with him? He wasn’t really crazy, just deformed, and I’m guessing here, probably a little deaf. So this doesn’t really seem to be leading us anywhere.

I guess the belfry is in the head position of a church, if we are comparing a church to a person. It sounds like the beginning of a joke. “How is a church like a person? In no way at all”. This is why it sounds like a joke, rather than actually being one. So, back to the point. It could be anything living in the belfry but bats sound better than owls, vicars, or the Hunchback of Notre Dame for that matter.

So what about being gay? What possible link could there be? Well how about this leap? It’s all to do with cricket. You’re playing for the other team, it’s not cricket – which is exactly why it is cricket for the purposes of this argument, and so while I’m fielding the question and you’re playing for the other team you must be batting, but because we are into the brevity thing it becomes “batty”.

In other words I don’t know.

Even his beard was drunk!

“So when are you going to grow a beard?” said a drunk bearded man at a party. No really even his beard was drunk!
“Oh I tried last week,” I ventured.
“Tried? What’s to try? Beards are clearly the way forward.”
“I can’t grow one. It just doesn’t work for me. You remember the other week when my father had his wisdom tooth out?”
“No?”
“Well he did.”
“Was it painful?”
“Yes.”
“Oh dear.”
“Right. So he couldn’t shave because of the pressing on the mouth area would have hurt him.”
“That makes sense.”
“So. In solidarity with him I stopped shaving too. On the last day I was still visiting with him he had a full beard. And he said to me ‘so did you not shave today?'”
“And?”
“Well, I hadn’t shaved in a week and it only looked to him like one day’s growth.”
“Ah.”
“Exactly.”
“So don’t grow a beard then.”
“I won’t.” I sat back thinking that the conversation might have come to an end. But then suddenly he started talking again.
“Have you ever thought about a moustache?”

Well it works in my car.

The driver came out of his… Is it a cabin or a cockpit or what is it on a train? I think it’s almost certainly a cabin. But then when we’re on aeroplanes we don’t end up with the pilot sitting in the cockpit driving his aeroplane, and us all sitting in the cabin driving trains. I mean, for one, your incredibly unlikely to get them all to want ot go the same way. Everyone would be leaving Gatwick wanting the plane to fly over their house so they could take a picture out the window. And despite repeated requests, whenever there is turbulence on an aeroplane, the air hostess (or steward – why not air host?) has refused to tell me where the winder for the window is. I only need a little air and I’ll feel much better. Well it works in my car.

Have you ever stuck your head out of the window to see where you were going in your car because your windscreen was too dirty? Well, I haven’t obviously because I’m a decent upstanding citizen.

Anyway, so the driver comes out and asks if any of us want to get out of the train. We all say no and he looks very relieved. Unfortunately, he tells us, the doors aren’t working in our carriage because of a minor electrical problem. As if to emphasise his point as he’s talking to us somebody walks up to our carriage presses the button, the door opens an they get onboard. “Oh”, he says, and buggers off to wherever he came from.

Right, I suggested

My brother has invited an Italian to move into the flat. I was standing on Waterloo East train station on the phone to him when he broke the news.

“Oh yeah,” he said, “I forgot to tell you that we’re going to have an Italian student living with us for a bit.”
“Right,” I suggested.
“I’m going on a foreign exchange so he’s got to come here. It’ll only be for a couple of days. And don’t worry I go to their house after they come to ours so if they mess anything up then when I get there I’ll trash the place.”
“Okay,” I add, “that sounds good.”
“Yeah and they might even be fit, or a bloke.”

Lawrence Stephenson? Sorry

“So have you always been blind?”
“Oh no. I used to see thing, it’s just now I can’t.”
“that’s a shame. About teh4 now stuff not the havening been able to see of course>”
“Well I don’t know about that. Now I can’t see and I can remember what stuff used to look like and log for it. Which isn’t very nice but at least I’ll never have to see Lawrence Stevenson again”.
“Lawrence Stephenson?”
“Yeah he was this guy I knew. He used to be my best friend and then he double crossed me. Right before I lost my sight, which happened very rapidly. I said to him, by way of a parting gesture, ‘I’ll be happy if I never see your face again Stephenson’. And I never have”.
“That’s quite weird.”
“But good! I had many an argument with my wife about old Larry Stephenson. She argued that if I hadn’t said what I ‘d said about seeing his fat ugly face I’d still be able to see. Which you and I both know is rubbish. But she believed it. She called me a damn fool. And then I didn’t see her any more.”
“What she left you over it?”
“No. I was blind by then. Do try and keep up.”
“I see.”
“Well I bloody well don’t and that’s the point.”
“Sorry.”
“So you see even though I’m blind I can be happy about it because it means I will never have to see Larry Stephenson again.”
“But wait a minute., you said that you could remember what things look like.”
“Yes.”
“Well then surely you can remember what he looked like.”
“Of course. The vision of him turning away from me on that very day is burned in my mind.”
“Well I can hardly remember anything I see, especially people I don’t care about. Mainly because I can always go and look at new things. Whereas I would have thought now that you can’t see you’ll spend a lot more time ‘seeing’ this man than you would have otherwise”.
“Great now you’re just depressing me.”

The problem wasn’t bitch Brenda though

She had the word “love” written eighteen times on her t-shirt but she didn’t know what it meant. She’d had enough of it damn it she had been trampled on enough, too much. It wasn’t fair when Malcolm had done it but she had been too hurt then. She had just rolled over. And now her kids just kicked her every day. They assumed she could drive them home after their parties. They assumed she’d walk their dog. They assumed she would make them their tea. They assumed she had nothing better to do.

The problem wasn’t their assumptions, and she knew it, it was that they were right. She hadn’t had a man since Malcolm. She hadn’t wanted to at first, and then there was Simon which she had known was a mistake before anything happened. She had no regrets about Simon. His hair had smelt of smoke but she’d never seen him smoking. He was obviously a liar she deduced and so she let him pay for dinner and then never returned his calls. Then there had been nothing for a while. And that had been fine really. Until Malcom invited them all to dinner. He had been banging that bitch Brenda for years of course, but he didn’t have to parade her. Didn’t have to rub her nose init. The problem wasn’t bitch Brenda though. I t was her kids. Everyone had someone but her. They all had partners. Except her. The problem was that there was an odd number of people at the dinner table.

That night she’d gone home and made a vow to change a few things. She pulled out all of her old clothes she had gone up two sizes since then and she wanted them back. The old clothes that flattered her. To be thin again. To be wanted. To feel good enough that you wouldn’t just feel contempt for someone who wanted you.

And a month and four days later she had done it. She’d lost the weight and now she was wearing the shirt. As she looked in the mirror she recognised her 22 year old self. She had the word “love” written eighteen times on her t-shirt but she still didn’t know what it meant.

Aha! Granddad. Nonsense.

He was determined to show this lad something exciting. Something to show him that he still mattered. He was probably down there right now mutter into his merlot about how damn boring his grandfather was. She’d been kind enough to come though, he had to remember that. Aha! There it was. He pulled the grey painted metal microscope out of its box. It felt incredibly cold through his skin. There were some slides in a shoebox which he took into his jacked pocket.

He’d laughed when his grandfather had put his jacket on to go upstairs. But later when he was sleeping up there he’d curse his grandfather for not simply turning the heat up. He appeared in the study and suddenly the space seemed smaller, cooler but cosier. His grandfather was tall, thin, blue and clutching a microscope with a sense of purpose.

“Right, give me some of your hair.”
“What?”
“Your hair. Pull it out.”
“Why?”
“Well we’re going to look at some of the bacteria that’s on it.”
“And then?”
“Well, I was thinking that we could put the cover on the slide. You get to see them explode. It’s quite exciting.”
“Granddad. We did that at school. I’m too old for all of that now.”
“Nonsense. You can never be too old.”
“Yes you can Granddad. Actually that’s part of why I came up here today. Jane and I… Well we feel you might be getting a bit too old to be here all on your own. We’re going to arrange for you to go into a home.”