Monday, 27 February 2012

It does exactly what it says on the tin

I don't consider myself accident prone. But then on Sunday morning, whilst getting ready to face the day of sitting on the sofa watching football, I ripped a big chunk out from my left index finger, which then bled all over the bathroom floor.

That's not completely absurd; people cut their fingers all the time, perhaps on a sharp kitchen knife. Or a vicious piece of paper.

But I cut my finger on a bottle of mouthwash. A bastard bottle of Listerine. There wasn't even anything sharp on it. I have no idea how it happened. But, after a bit of shouting and running under the cold tap (carefully avoiding getting blood on the carpet), I spent the rest of the day with a plaster on my finger, unable to clean out my ears or pick my nose. Two great weekend pleasures, gone.

Generally, I don't consider myself particularly accident prone. Not even after the time during my first week at university when I fell over and snapped my cruciate ligament with such force that several large chunks of my kneecap were ripped off which meant I was rushed to hospital and had immediate surgery to remove the shards of bone from the rest of my leg.

Annoyingly, Mouthwash-gate wasn't the only accident from this weekend just passed. In fact, it was the thinnest end of an enormous wedge. And remember, I'm not even accident prone.

On Saturday I was extremely hungover. I was also excited to take advantage of the opportunity to print out some lovely photos of Mrs Webby and I looking typically lovely together, generally taken at various friends' weddings. Well, she always looks lovely. After a frenetic session of solo dancing in a sweaty marquee at the arse-end of a wedding reception, I generally look like Great Uncle Gimpy. But acceptable examples do exist, and I was going to print them out, and then put them in a frame. I'd bought some special photographic paper for my printer to ensure that they looked lovely. And I'd got some spray varnish to make sure that the pictures were saved for posterity. Like our love, this would ensure they would never fade. It was a touching thought, guaranteed to provide instant kudos and provoke an enormous outpouring of love and affection. Probably even tears of joy. It was a bloody brilliant plan; a superb gift, and essentially free (once I'd taken into account the cost of the can of spray varnish).

In the ordinary course of business, I don't consider myself accident prone. Not in the slightest. Not even after that time I leaned against a metal gate with my hands behind my back and the gate swing open and I lopped off the top of my thumb in the hinges. The nurse stitched it back on perfectly happily.

Spray varnish is a dangerous product. The can is printed with dire warnings. Highly flammable. Skin irritant. Do not pour down the drains. This product will kill your pet fish (terribly prone to aerosols, fish). But there was no warning about wearing eye protection. Absolutely no surprise at all then, when - attempting to unblock the nozzle with a screwdriver - I sprayed a stream of it into both of my eyes.

I don't reckon I'm accident prone, least not more than most people. Even after that time I fell over playing football and my ruined ankle swelled up like a balloon and I had to use a golf club as a crutch and it still hurts on cold nights.

The rest of the story writes itself. Lots of screaming and shouting (from me). Lots of radio silence from Mrs Webby, who was selfishly performing her usual Saturday function of returning overpriced and unsuitable lampshades to OKA. I pointlessly shouted "where's the Optrex?" for a few minutes, ran around a bit, then hopped into the shower. My burning eyes were varnished, and stuck wide open. I stood under a stream of water for 20 minutes, attempting to wash it out.

Compared to the figurative man on the Clapham omnibus, I'm not very accident prone. Not even after the time I got into the car and smashed my rugby-ball of a head into the rear-view mirror (which is now held on with gaffer tape), an action which caused one of my absurdly expensive Cheryl Cole-style tooth veneers to snap off and vanish behind the dashboard.

It wasn't just my eyes which were now giving me hell. Essentially, I'd also partaken in a bit of glue sniffing. I'd squirted propellant and butane and whatever else you find in non-removable Windsor & Newton Matt Spray Varnish into my face, right up my snout. I had a pounding head, and a ringing in my ears. It wasn't that deeply unpleasant; I felt surprisingly mellow. Even though I was a bit short of breath (although that was probably the running around). At least I wasn't hallucinating - it turns out I genuinely had sprayed varnish into my own eyes.

Seriously, I'm really not accident prone. If you need proof, consider the time when I really connected with a nine iron from the bottom of my grandparents' garden and rifled a ball through a window, missing my dozing grandmother's head by an inch and a half. Would that happen to someone prone to accidents? Prone to amazingly good luck, I'd say.

3pm, Saturday afternoon. You've got a face full of varnish, your eyes feel like boiling hot marbles. Time for A&E. Off we went, Mrs Webby in tow to make sure I didn't accidentally fall under the wheels of a bus or walk onto the Tube tracks en route. Luckily it's a quiet time of the day at St George's. So just a quick couple of hours of me secretly enjoying both the attention and the opportunity to stare open-mouthed at people covered with blood, like there'd been a shark attack on the River Wandle. The missus was more worried about our supper date at her sister's house.

I am absolutely not accident prone, OK? Especially when I remember regularly cycling up Morrell Avenue after a thousand too-many apr├Ęs-law school drinks on the Cowley Road, consistently falling off my bike onto the grass verge outside Cheney School, every Thursday night. If I was accident prone, I would have been flattened by a car heading up Gypsy Lane.

I have a bit of a phobia when it comes to eyes. They're mind-bogglingly delicate gelatinous balls of liquid which allow you to see things, in colour and 3D. No matter how you rationalise that, it's pretty gross. Impressive, but disgusting. And given I don't even like having my eyes tested, having litmus paper stuck into them until I roared and my already-stinging eyes watered wasn't really a weekend treat. I wasn't a whole lot happier when the nurse dropped in yellow dye which made everything go yellow and make me look like a heavily-jaundiced alcoholic (or the blue thing with great tits out of X-Men).

Accidents? I think you'd be hard-pushed to say I'm prone to them. Not even after that time when warming up for a hockey match I attempted to hit a hockey ball flicked into the air by a South African kid who's name I can't remember, and managed to volley it directly into my own face, turning half my head a revolting shade of grey-black-yellow.

So I've got some minor chemical burns in my eyes. Nothing to worry about, it'll all be fine, just run back if your vision goes blurry. We went out for dinner, which was lovely, and the food and wine and company were all terrific. I was on great form, until my varnished face came out in hives and my neck went red and I was press-ganged into taking an incredibly potent horse-pill of an anti-histamine.

And so, for the last time: I am absolutely not accident prone. Not even after that time I ran into a wall at school, and woke up a couple of days later which half my face frozen, leaving me unable to close one eye, or eat or drink without slobbering every mouthful down my school blazer (for info, it's called Bell's Palsy, and is about as far from a laughing matter as you can imagine. It's so unfunny it makes baldness seem hilarious).

So be fair. Who, by the age of 32 and three months, doesn't struggle walking between the bedroom and bathroom? It's perfectly natural to slip over a pair of shoes, a discarded towel, or a quintessence of dust. It's fine to fall over in the shower, or to pull down a shelf, or trap your hands in the piano lid, or drop an open bag of rice in the kitchen or generously give the trousers from your dinner jacket to the charity shop whilst carefully retaining the instantly redundant jacket.

People probably spray caustic chemicals into their faces every single day; it's the price we pay for opposable thumbs, access to artists' materials and the need to print out photos and put them in frames. And anyway, my eyes will probably retain their devastatingly attractive blue colour longer now. My eyes are like Mumra's. So I am definitely not accident prone.

1 comment:

  1. God I wish I'd had a charmed existence like yours. Some people just float effortlessly through life.


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