Fork Off! Fork Off
A Shaggy Dog Story
In 1978, l was a mere 15 years of age, don’t get me wrong, ‘mere’ in this particular story is just a word describing supposedly tender, trifling and meagre and not anything else, however mere l was!
To be more precise, and l had a fancy for it then, l was actually 15 and a half! The half isn’t really special, but what l mean is l was nearly 16, albeit bar that magical six months missing, so l was in a limbo, l was neither 15 nor 16, l was merely 15.5 years of age!
It was all important to me back then to not be simply seen as some 15 year old, no! I was nearly 16! But age apart from the fact is quite irrelevant here also! What is relevant is the uncanny resemblance between the terms fork off and another favourite of mine, that needs no further introduction. Yes, you guessed it … Fork in!
It was November and l was living in the family residence in Woking, in Surrey. Now our house was in a somewhat spacious garden, surrounded by trees. What happens to trees in winter?
They lose leaves; l mean l could be especially Aspergian about it or to others be read as overly pedantic, l mean the trees had been losing their leaves that particular year from early October, but that is schematics! Well it isn’t, not really, there was nothing specifically technical about the forking of the day, or was there?
However, atypical to my verbosity l have once more [to the breach] digressed!
This particular day in November, not October, my charming [me being sarcastic here] Sister and l had the joyous and wonderful task of sweeping the garden. Because of all the trees and their insistence upon dropping practically every leaf off their branches, the garden was awash with golden russets, cantankerous coppers and dirty smudgy looking things and these needed addressing.
My Sister five years my junior was not happy about this one iota and in truth l was not the happiest about it either. Not through laziness, but l had homework, and l had a pile of ironing that needed to be done [l ran my business back then] and considered this activity a tiresome chore!
Our parents were insistent upon it being done on the premise of ‘pocket money’ which l found particularly rich and ironic considering that l hadn’t received pocket money for well over a year since commencing JusPrest, and believed rather foolishly that l was exempt from these activities?
We were dressed to the nine’s as it was cold and blustery – another snippet that seemingly escaped my parents’ logic l feel. I couldn’t fathom why on earth anyone in their right mind would try and sweep up garden leaves on a day when the slightest of wind was causing the greatest of annoyances. One minute a small pile was in situ, fwoof came a small blast and low and behold, that little pile was now twenty feet behind you!?
This further ignited a series of expletives similar to fork off admittedly, but not quite! My Sister herself a known profanity antagonist [yes even at ten!!] – was in fact giving it what not and buggers. She went through a phase at the age of ten when ‘bugger’ was her favourite word. So all l could hear was bugger, bugger and even more buggers, which when intermingled with my fork offs sounded a bit like this ..
“Oh bugger, buggery, fork off, fork off, buggery, bugger and buggered!”
So l feel sure you can imagine what a right little pair of overly happy leaf sweepers we were!
However, she was armed with a terrifying rake, whilst l, supposedly the responsible one was beset with a garden fork. Yes, you know, fork in, fork off?
After what seemed like forever surrounded by a volcanic leaf eruption and attacked frequently by leaf tsunami’s we finally managed to secure a hefty and impressive looking leaf pile which would be ideal for the Master of the house, who would promptly arrive to do his pompous bit of ‘firing’. This is when he came into his own, and year’s later l am always remembering that scene from the film Castaway starring Tom hanks when he boldly struts the statement off of “I have made fire!”
That particular scene is a classic ‘My Father Thing!’ The same man who could make an absolute meal out of simply cleaning the ‘Kitchen’ his thing, his way, irrelevant that the rest of the house being cleaned by my Mother was done in a quarter of the overall time it took him to clean the kitchen his special way!
But he would boldly arrive at the magical moment with all the leaves swept up, with his trusty can of petrol, a box of matches and a wry somewhat sickening ‘fork you’ smile! “Done then is it? Took you both long enough!”
This particular afternoon however was a little different, my Sister the notorious Daddy’s girl, wanted to make an even bigger impact. Just as the last pile was swept up, she wanted to be the holding the fork for whatever reason and made a grab for it … now sibling rivalry being what it is between most Brothers and Sisters and my own relationship with my Sister being no different – l refused to award her said fork, and held on to it. A tussle of sorts followed over my fork, fork off, my fork and fork off followed! As it would, and in her fit of anger and seeing she wasn’t winning took action another way, and that was to force the fork back to me and shove it down to the ground, through the pile of leaves and promptly into my ….
…. Now did l say l wasn’t wearing boots? No? Well l was wearing the old fashioned 70’s style of sneakers …
… right foot!!!! Notably my toes!!
Have you ever seen a young child running around all playful like in a playgroup and should he/she fall, they tend to look around and see if anyone spotted the fall? If no one did most times, they get up and recommence playing, but if someone is there they tend to make one hell of a ruckus! Have you seen that type of thing before?
My Father having seen the hullabaloo going on between his loving doting children came flying out with my Mother in tow [quite apt really as in, in toe!] A took me a few seconds to realise that the garden tool, now a ‘fork in’ was actually in reality truly forking in! So much so, l knew it had gone through the sneaker and apparently my foot and was now in the ground beneath!!
To say that l felt alarmed would have been an understatement! I was forking not impressed at all, and promptly yelled out in anguish “Oh forking hell, the forks in my foot!!” Would l have cried out quite the same way if no one had been on the scene? Probably not, although l would have said “Oh fork it!” Without a shadow of a doubt!
The realisation of what had happened made my Sister squeal ………. In delight! Yes l kid you not, she swept back the offending leaves and there for all to see was the fork with the outer prong proudly boasting its entry into my sneaker with the other three prongs outside the shoe and firmly embedded into the ground by a good couple of inches!
Upon seeing it, panic set in, l tried to move my foot, but nope, it was not shifting. My Mother was aghast, my Father was stunned, my Sister – well she was rolling around on the ground laughing! Me, you ask?
I was wondering why there was no real serious pain. Would a fork in one’s foot, quite possibly through the main toe, with perhaps even a broken bone, be in more pain? Was l in shock of seeing the offending fork sticking into my shoe? Where was the pain? I think it was the missing pain that caused me to become more alarmed. Had the fork severed my toe and the inside of my sneaker was filled with blood? That wouldn’t be the first time that had happened. It wouldn’t be the first time that my toe had not experienced pain when it should have. I only had to cast my mind back to 1969, when l was paralysed by the stinging fish in Malaysia. The doctors at the time said the long term effect was that l might lose the sense in that foot.
Is that is what had happened? Was my foot, notably my big toe in automatic shock paralysis shut down???
Now l was really panicking, as all my family looked on wondering what TO DO?? In the milliseconds that were passing, l had now convinced myself that l was going to die through the loss of blood from my big severed toe! That if it wasn’t actually cut off, it was dangling there [well you know what l mean, dangling as in dangling on a flat surface, rather than dangling over the edge of a flat surface] but was it, was l developing a horrible foot disease right now, in the three minutes of this dirty rotten fork prong inserting itself so violently and without permission into my right foot and my right foot big toe?
How would this affect my ability to walk? Could l have a prosthetic big toe made specially? How would that look? Would l have to take my toe off in the shower? Would l need one shoe bigger than the other? Would l have to wear a special sock?
In this moment of fast moving momentum of terror, l could hear in the distance my Mother demanding that my Father do something!! His nervous answers of “What exactly should l do dear?” Didn’t help the situation! Lord l thought to myself, now they don’t what to do! And damnations to my Sister who is still laughing uncontrollably!
Then the pain settled in, aah finally here is the pain l thought. Just to make matters worse, now l ‘think’ l have this excruciating pain in my severed right foot big toe!
It was sister who actually resolved the nagging question of what should be done! For she recovered herself sufficiently from her fits of giggles, took two strides in atypical ten year old mannerisms , took hold of the fork in, and forced the fork to fork off position! I let out a yelp!
“Oh grief, now what?” I yelled in horror, half expecting an enormous spurt of bright crimson blood to gush out of the exit hole! Still nothing appeared! I was both mortified and mystified!
Both my parents and my Sister were somewhat agog at this revelation, now fork in was fork off and still none the wiser.
My Mother suddenly sprang into action and was all for calling an ambulance fearing the very worse, whatever the very worse could possibly be? “Geraldine! Stop!” My Father said, “We should investigate this further to see what the problem is?”
Finally some fork in logic!!
Now in truth, l have to concede to not feeling any pain what so ever in my foot, none, not a dickey bird! There was a gaping sneaker type exit wound in the shoe, the canvas was apart displaying a perfectly prong like looking hole and in the darkness of the hole, nothing was present?
“I think we should take the shoe off.” My father simply said, “That way we can see the extent of the damage first hand, then we can make logical decisions based upon facts!”
“Oh no Brian,” my Mother said, “What if the shoe is the ONLY thing holding the toe in place?”
“It’s a risk we will have to take, the toe is either going to be severed or hanging by a thread, if however we are lucky we may only be dealing with a hole directly through the toe and a broken bone!”
“ONLY!!” I yelled, “What do you mean only? I don’t think having a hole in my big toe is an only type of situation!”
The shoe laces were untied, the shoe gently prised apart, slowly and surely, my right foot was eased out – l couldn’t feel a thing, for all l knew my foot was intact and unholy! Inch by agonising inch the foot was extracted from the shoe, now we were mid foot, still no terrible red stains visible and the foot was out!
There was a perfectly beautiful little hole in my sock between my toes!!
My sister well, what can l say? She burst into laughter again, my Mother just looked, l don’t quite know how to describe that expression … my Father..
“There is no blood Rory, there is no injury, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your bloody foot!!!”
Admittedly, as my foot had been easing out, l had already come to this conclusion, that the truth of fork in was that there was nothing wrong with my foot. Upon closer inspection, once the sock was off, it had been an incredibly lucky escape! The prong had actually travelled between my big toe and the next toe along, and the only damage was slight. Two small grazes that had taken the skin off, and only once out of the sock did they start to bleed!
“No Dad, but there could have been!”
My Sister who was ten at the time was quite content to retell this story constantly some ten years later for the meagre price of a drink at the pub!
The moral of this story is quite plain, always ensure you have the right protection on when Fork In!
Guy or Bloke, Your Choice