The life of yours truly should have come to an abrupt end last Sunday at approximately 3.37 in the afternoon.
I was, as you might have guessed, doing a form of DIY (the single biggest killer of the average male in the UK after cancer, stress and marriage. I am, of course, joking regarding the latter – a woman doesn’t have to be married to a man to be able to kill him). I was doing the gardening.
For once it wasn’t a lawn mower based accident. With a little ‘un running around I’ve become very OCD about always unplugging the mower before I empty it or even leave it untended for the smallest amount of time.
On this occasion the agent of my destruction was the hedge trimmer. A nasty biting brute of a device that lays our front hedge low with the slightest of touch. I’d unwound the cable. I’d plugged it into the extension lead. All seemed good to go.
I pulled the trigger.
And if the world had been any different – if human technological advances hadn’t brought into being such things as fuses and trip switches – my life would have been over at this point. I’d’ve been a goner. I’d’ve been, to quote my old granddad, brown bread. And you wouldn’t be having to read this ‘ere blog post right now – a fact, I’m sure, which will have many of you lamenting the safety features on the average electrical plug.
The cable you see had, unbeknownst to me (because I was tired / daydreaming and didn’t check it properly), become interwoven in the moving teeth of the trimmer.
As soon as I turned it on the trimmer severed the source to its own power. A single spark – like a dud firework – leapt forward and fizzled out before it hit the pavement. This was the first I knew of my death. I say death because I’m sure that in a parallel universe somewhere funeral arrangements are even now being arranged for a full state burial and my wife is celebrating gymnastically with the milkman.
Bizarrely, this close encounter with t’other side didn’t hit home until much later. My first reaction was to run cap in hand to my wife and apologize for coking the trimmer at a time when we can’t afford a new dibbler let alone a hefty new electrical gardening gadget. I’d also tripped the main electricity supply to the house and my youngest son was complaining vociferously that Woody and Buzz Lightyear had rudely vacated their usual slot on the TV screen.
In the panic of trying to find the distribution board and right these myriad wrongs by restoring the appropriate switch my missed appointment with St Peter completely slipped my mind. Life went on as normal. Life indeed went on.
It is only now, days later, that I realize how lucky I had been. How lucky and how foolish.
How easily and unthinkingly we go about our daily business blasé and nonchalant to the many potential death traps that litter our modern world!
My humble thanks go to all those boffins who over the years have contributed to the safety mechanisms of the common-or-garden house plug. My thanks go also to whatever deity decided to give my miserable soul a second chance. And my biggest thanks go to you, dear reader, for the bouquets of flowers you would have undoubtedly sent, the donations to my favourite charities and the selfless acts of throwing your mini-skirted selves (and that includes the guys) down onto my coffin as it is lowered into the damp earth and your wails and protests that there simply wasn’t the time to ravish me one more time.
‘Cos on the bright side, folks, there still is.
See. All’s well that ends well.