Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soon to be famous last words

I was amazed by a news report about a young sky diver who cheated death after both his parachutes failed. The fortunate fellow landed in a blackberry bush and miraculously escaped serious injury. Every terrifying minute of the fall was recorded on his ‘head cam’. Being a keen wordsmith I was intrigued by the five words the poor lad uttered just before he hit the ground. They reminded me of those immortal words that appeared in the Times obituary column on the death of John Le Mesurier (Dad’s Army). I quote ‘Today I conked out’. What a marvelous exit.
Many will recall the famous last words of Admiral Lord Nelson just before he ‘conked out’ on H.M.S Victory’s deck at the battle of Trafalgar. A cannon ball had smashed onto the deck a mere two feet from the Admiral,
‘Missed me Hardy’ exclaimed Nelson to his second in command. Deafened by the roar of battle, Hardy mistook ‘Missed me’ for ‘Kiss me’ and responded to the request with considerable fervor. The shock was too much for the Admiral’s, British stiff upper lip and the rest is history.
Dr James Dobson related the story of his dear mother’s demise. Apparently she wrote her own epitaph, the words can be seen on her grave stone in Louisiana. ‘I told you I was sick’.
Young parents should keep a record of the things their children say. Kids logic and comments can be hilarious. One of ours, at a very young age, picked up an empty envelope, peered inside and boldly stated that,
‘There is something not in it’. This statement has become our family catch phrase which, most will agree, is appropriate for my column.
Speaking of ‘out of the mouths of babes’ and continuing the theme of death and distraction, I must tell you a true story about a very unique burial service. Living adjacent to a cemetery sounds grave but to a certain young mother it was dead funny. This lady witnessed many internments, as did all the children in the district. The Minister’s words wafted over the neighbourhood so often that many of the local kids knew the burial service off by heart. Pottering in her garden, one day, the young lady was amused to see a drama unfold just a few yards from her back fence. Half a dozen children were gathered around a small mound of earth. The dear departed was a, ‘loved to death’, Barbie doll. (incidentally I have never heard of ‘dead Barbie’, conjures up a bonanza of ‘Barbie accessories’) The poor doll was lying in a shoe box, mourners had obviously studied the real thing and were playing their parts with much sobbing and reverence. The appointed, six year old Minister, could be heard reciting the committal word for word. The Mother was impressed with the performance from one so young and listened intently to catch the final prayer… ‘In the name of the Father and the Son, in the hole ’e goes’.
Meanwhile you are probably wondering about those immortal words uttered by our parachuting friend. What, I ask, would you or I say as we plummeted to earth at alarming speed. A prayer maybe, a meaningful statement that would guarantee your place in history. Recorded for the whole world, by our sky diving hero just before imminent death
‘Oh shit, I’m dead, bye!!’

Monday, October 26, 2009

Toad Code

Said the Toad to the Hare
‘Do you think that you dare
Cross over this road?’
“Of course I can ,Toad’
said the Hare, and with that
He sped off the pavement and got knocked flat.

The Hedgehog was having a talk with the Toad
‘Do you think’ said the Frog ‘you can walk on the road
And not get harmed in any way?’
‘Of course’ said the Hedgehog ‘ I’ll do it today.’
He stepped off the sidewalk, ignoring the rule
Got hit by a car, whilst rolled in a ball.

The Possum, at night, said ‘Hi’ to the Toad
‘I’ll show you just how to cross over this road.’
So off went the Possum, without any care
Saw a car’s lights and just stopped to stare.
He should have kept going, but dallied instead
His hesitation has left him quite dead.

Along came the Cat, who said to the Toad
‘I know the best way to cross over this road.’
She looked left and right and right again
Nothing was coming along either lane.
So off went the Cat with her head in the air
Got safely passed Hedgehog, Possum and Hare.
‘There!’ said the Cat, with a voice full of pride
‘I’ve done it, I’ve made it, the opposite side.’

No sooner had words left the Cat’s mouth
She was hit by a skateboarder, heading due south.
‘That’s it!’ said the Toad as it started to rain
‘I’ll go under the road.’ Then he hopped in the drain.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kiwis fully blogged and ready for inaugural flight

Greetings from New Zealand.
This is us, a couple of fossils, John and Maureen Glasse,
Once we were Poms now we are Kiwis, and we are about to share a few thoughts, facts and a lot of stuff verging on the ridiculous.
I thoroughly enjoy people watching.
When my better half is invading ladies clothing stores, I like nothing better than to sit at a café table and absorb the diverse assortment of passing pedestrians.
I am allowed to do this because as with most hunter gatherers a walk around ladies shoe shops and clothing stores sends me into a zombie like trance. As I shuffle from shop to shop the only sound I make is a sort of grunt of sympathy to the other walking dead. Not a pretty sight, hence the ever fascinating people watching.
This rewarding pastime is further enhanced by the gathering of conversation snippets, a kind of pedestrian eves dropping.
I especially like the various forms of greeting. The traditional, ‘Gooday, howya going’, followed by the stock Kiwi reply, ‘Good thanks’. I have noticed that this word ‘good,’ seems to cover every contingency.
‘How are you?’…‘Good’... ‘How’s your wife?’…‘Good’. ‘How’s business?’ …‘Good’.
The dictionary describes the meaning of the word as, commendable; proper; suitable; honest; just and adequate. ‘How’s your wife?’ ‘Adequate, thank you’. Doesn’t quite fit the bill, does it.
I did a bit of research, suddenly this much used ‘good’ word made a lot of sense. The Greek word for ‘good’ is kalos which translates to mean, ‘in a good place’.
People watching in a Doctor’s waiting room can be a lot of fun. I went in for a warrant of fitness the other day and was quite intrigued by the human drama of it all.
For a start, have you noticed that, on arrival, most folk try to avoid eye contact. One usually has to report to the receptionist, she invariably asks in very hushed tones, ‘Who are you seeing?’, you whisper the name of your physician. No one is listening, all have eyes glued to a 1964 Time magazine or the very fine 1955 National Geographic full colour feature of the half naked Yubabuba tribal women washing their loin cloths by the banks of the Lesser Dunnapiddle.
Just as a refreshing sense of invisibility envelopes you, the said receptionist bellows at six decibels, ‘WHAT ’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?’
‘Well it’s me… you know…er..’
You are now the centre of attraction, you could not have been more conspicuous had you leaped onto the counter and sung a chorus of ‘Knees Up Mother Brown‘.
On my recent visit I found a seat next to a gentleman who was wearing one of those neck brace things. A very pregnant (triplets at least) lady was on my right. Unable to unearth a magazine that was priced post decimal currency, I glanced up and to my horror, sitting just past the large one with child, was someone who’s name I should have known. Our eyes met across that crowded womb and the traditional, doctors waiting room, conversation began.
‘Oh… fancy seeing you here, how are you?’
‘Good thanks !!’ Mercifully the acquaintance had also misplaced my name. There it was, that ‘good’ word. He was definitely not ‘in a good place'.
What would happen, I wondered, if they put up another one of those information posters that adorn the walls of Doctors’ surgeries. You know the sort, ’Do not smack your children’ and ‘You may now smack your children’ and soon to be changed to, ‘Permission required from your children before smacking’.
This new poster would read, ‘Patients must tell the truth.’
Imagine how exciting and entertaining the waiting room experience would become. The question, ‘How are you?’ would be followed by a wonderful organ recital. ’Oh it’s me kidney’.. ’My Liver’s playing up’.. ‘Bad lungs’.. ‘The old ticker won’t tock’.
My organs are just fine, I muttered to myself as I entered my doctor’s rooms. His greeting was short and to the point. ‘I need to check yer prostate’.
‘I’d rather stand, if you don’t mind’.
‘Not prostrate…oh ..never mind’, he seemed annoyed.
‘How’s your Flo?’. Silly old fool, he has forgotten my wife’s name is Mo not Flo.
‘Good thanks’.