Wednesday, May 19, 2010

inpenetrable packaging

Let me first introduce you to my Uncle Ernie, not a true uncle, just a friend uncle. He’s one of those family friends, you know the sort, too much of a friend for the kids to call Mister and of an age, where it would be disrespectful to call him just plain Ernie.
His neighbour called me on a cell phone, ‘It’s Ernie,’ she said, ‘E’s gone to the ‘ospital’.
The line was bad. What followed next, sounded like, ‘E ’s ’ad a fight with a tooth brush!’
I told her I would go and see him but first needed to know if his best friend was okay.
‘What about Mrs. Williams?’ I queried,
‘She’s right as rain’ came the reply, ‘But Ernie says she needs feeding’.
Mrs Williams, has been Uncle Ernie’s closest companion for many years. She is very obese and bereft of large clumps of ginger fur which she leaves behind every time she squeezes through the cat door.
He was sitting in a small room at A and E. The right side of his face was bandaged, his hand covered in thick gauze and apparently, although thankfully hidden from human eyes, a giant band aid covered his upper thigh, a mere two millimetres south of his particulars.
‘What happened?’, I sympathised, Uncle Ernie beckoned me to come closer, not because of any secret squirrel stuff, more due to his total embarrassment. I suppressed a smile.
He was going to lodge a complaint, was determined to make a stink. He would write to Fair Go, contact Paul Henry and send a text message to Helen Clark. I tactfully informed him that Ms Clark was no longer Prime minister. ‘I know that’, he muttered, ‘the U.N should be told’.
Uncle Ernie was in a bad way, of that there was no doubt. The culprit was something we have all encountered; ‘Impenetrable Packaging’.
He had purchased a new tooth brush. He could not get to it, it was hidden in an extra strength, moulded synthetic clamshell packet. Ernie attacked the seams with a pair of scissors. It seems the seams were double thick, super, child and adult proof, nuclear devastation resistant, reinforced plastic.
The tooth brush grinned at him. He put the package on a chopping board and stabbed it with the scissors. The handle broke. He grabbed the carving knife, the sharp one. Forgetting his old carpentry teacher’s advise, ‘Both hands behind the cutting edge’. … the blade rebounded off the package, into the floppy piece of skin between his thumb and index finger.
Thankfully the tooth brush, safe and sound inside its force field, was not splashed with blood. Uncle Ernie hurled the packet across the kitchen and watched, horrified as it bounced off the wall and connected with Mrs. Williams’ tail as she hurtled through the cat door. ‘Me…Ow!’ She exclaimed.
With his left hand wrapped in a tea towel, the determined man placed the package into the vice on his garage work bench and cranked the handle. He was now suffering from ’Wrap Rage’. He smashed the package end with a claw hammer. Thankfully the razor sharp piece of plastic, moving faster than the speed of light, narrowly missed his eye ball. Uncle Ernie’s face was now bleeding.
He wondered why they did not use plastic packaging as a heat shield around the space shuttle.
He grabbed the large pruning shears and sliced the packet in the wrong place. The contents spilled out, in two pieces. Wounded and bleeding the old chap conceded defeat by letting the open pruning shears slip from his hand straight into his left thigh.
Poor Uncle Ernie, his neighbour was right, he certainly did have a fight with a tooth brush and sad to say, he lost!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Listen to the whisper, don't wait for the brick.

‘Listen to the whisper, don’t wait for the brick’ …..
Have you ever had a feeling that something or someone was giving you a message, it was for your ears only and you sort of sensed it rather than heard it. Not necessarily something bad. It could have been as simple as a sudden change of mind.
When driving your car, you have suddenly slowed down for no particular reason. Then right around the next bend you are confronted by a large herd of cows, or there is a dog in the road. If you can recall a similar incident then you have definitely heard a whisper. You may believe that angels are talking to you, children may think they are hearing from an imaginary friend. Christians know the whisper as the promised helper, the Holy Spirit. You may simply call it intuition. One thing is undeniable, there is a whisper that prompts us to stop, look and listen. What we need to do is listen to the whisper, don’t wait for the brick. In other words if you miss the prompting you may regret it later. This whisper is not terrifying, it is a gentle nudge. It is not an audible voice but unless you get into the practice of listening for it you will be missing out on one of life’s wonderful resources.
We have all at some time or other said, ‘I heard that but I just did not listen’. Some people talk about a ‘gut feeling’, this is the whisper. Do apply for that job, do phone that friend, do get a check up.. etcetera… Let’s not bring in the word ‘premonition’ because this often means foreboding, it usually comes in the form of a dream or vision. What I am talking about a still small voice that guides the human spirit. It is a good, well meaning whisper. If you remember our Edgecumbe earthquake in ‘87 you will be aware that there was only one death. Sad as this was, the deceased actually died of a heart attack and not as a direct result of quake damage. A true story regarding that disaster has always stayed in my memory. A devout Christian phoned his Pastor on Saturday night to say that he would not be in Church on Sunday. He explained that he had been told (the whisper) there was going to be an earthquake and that he was to set aside a day of prayer, specifically to pray that there would be no loss of life. The quake struck on the afternoon of March 2nd. Seven minutes prior to the major shake something quite unusual happened. The district was hit by a substantial, pre-jolt. School children and factory employees evacuated to safety just before the main shock. Miraculously no one was killed. Just a coincidence, or had someone listened to the whisper. What I am talking about is a feeling in the heart, deep down in your very soul. You cannot explain it but it has caught your attention. Not really your conscience, that is more of a moral reminder or maybe a guilt trip. This whisper tells you to open the door slightly and if it opens wider, go on through.
A farmer will hear the whisper and in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason , get up and go check that his stock are all right. A mother will settle her infant into bed and then hear a whisper that says I had better check again.
However you recognize the whisper, know this, it is on your side. It is yours and yours alone. You can share the benefits of it but it is a blessing just for you. If you do not know what on earth I am talking about then you need to find a quiet place and just listen. Listen to the whisper don’t wait for the brick.