My partner Suze is a practical person, way more practical than l am, and has been a practical person for most of her life. I am more academic and it’s not that l don’t have a single practical bone in mybody, it’s more like l only have a single practical bone in my body as in one! I am so clumsy, l have always been clumsy and not even slightly, seriously!!
I was not taught any kind of practicality by my Father, he disciplined me into academics because that is what he wanted, but also because my Father was always in competition with his Son and didn’t want to think that l could ever do anything better than him. My creativity came from my Mother’s side, because my Father sadly has very little imagination.
All the way through my years, l have been clumsy, accident prone and heavy handed, any word you choose to describe inept and l am there – ponderous, all thumbs, stumbling or just technically unskilled.
In the past l have hammered nails into body parts, angle grinded away at kneecaps, nearly jigsawed my manhood away once. I have electrocuted myself, fallen off rooves whilst tiling, painted myself blue with gloss paint, staplegunned chicken wire to my arm, bricked myself up in holes and the list goes on. Now l know my limits and boundaries so as l have aged, l have albeit slowly acquired some skills. But, l limit myself – hell Suze doesn’t even like me mowing the grass now as we have an electric mower and l have had accidents running over cables before, thank goodness l wear my hair short these days if you know what l mean. The afro just doesn’t suit my face!
I am slightly better these days, supervised, l can do certain unsupervised, but l know that Suze is usually not far away. I can dig my compost, when l have both arms working, but hey if you have read my stories, you will recall Fork off Fork off!
Now my Father wasn’t that practical either, but he had special interest jobs that he would proudly boast like Tom Hanks did so when he made fire on Cast Away.
Every time he decorated a room, he would call us all in to proudly show off his handymanship and stand there gloating like some kind of high platformed deity! In 1978, as was the case every two years from that point on, Dad would decorate the house, it didn’t need decorating every two years, but he felt that was his matrimonial duty to perform to show that he was the man of the house.
That year he decided that the dining room, needed wallpapering and he decided to jungleise it slightly. we had bamboo growing in a lot of our back garden, and he may have been recollecting our time in Malaysia where we saw a lot of bamboo, and figured that a nice print would look good in that room.
Now l am pretty sure you know what bamboo is…yes? Just in case you don’t look below …
As was Dad’s way, NO ONE was allowed into the dining room when he was decorating, which was annoying as the kitchen was connected to the room itself, so it meant you couldn’t make a cup of tea, coffee, get a drink anything for hours. He shut the room’s door at 10am, and then proudly demanded we all come and check his handiwork at 2pm.
So we all walked in, and we did the usual ooohs and aaahs and wowee Dad’s. Except l was standing there looking at it and something wasn’t clicking with me as right.
“What are you looking at Rory??” Dad challenged me.
“Well, it’s a nice wallpaper, but there is something not right about it Dad?”
“Well what is it, come on spit it out, it’s not like you can do a better job!”
“In truth Dad, l think a panda might be able to do a better job than yours actually.”I answered.
Well that was the wrong thing to say and whilst he was about to come charging over to give me a quick belt, l stopped and pointed out into the garden “Before you do that, here’s some advice oh great one, take a look at the walls and then take a look at our own bamboo patches in the garden, why don’t you?”
He stopped dead at that, and after several glances, all hell broke loose, and he became very red faced and promptly threw us out of the dining room, and when the door shut all we could hear was grunts, cusses and ripping sounds as the wallpaper was literally wrenched off the wall!
“Did you have to tell him Rory??” My Sister demanded of me.
“You know l did, otherwise somewhere down the line, he would noticed and he would blame us all for his own mistake!”
Well we should n’t have laughed, but at least we held off till we were outside the front of the house!
It’s an easy mistake to make .. l guess?