Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brown Bread

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.



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42 comments:

The Dotterel said...

No, Steve. Not the mini-skirt. Not under any circumstances.

Sorry.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Can you give me a bit of notice for your real funeral so I can get myself the mini-skirted, stockinged ensemble in black? Oh...silly me...I have it already. Am ready when you are!

Rol said...

I've seen you milkman. Missus Steve can do much better.

Steve said...

TheDotterel: what about an A line?

Trish: sounds worth becoming stiff as a board for...! ;-)

Rol: apparently his gold top is celebrated across 7 counties.

London City Mum said...

Damn. Did we miss the chance of a half-decent wake?

Must try harder.

LCM x

Kelloggsville said...

Edison I believe may be your saviour although I think I recall reading somewhere that he ripped off a few people along the way and patented inventions that weren't necessarily his....oh you don't care really do you.....had a quick chat with your wife she recommends I skip ravishing you and go directly to the milkman...who I am to doubt 'er indoors...miniskirt at the ready, empty bottle in hand...

Steve said...

LCM: I'm preparing the winter beds next weekend. I might be able to kibosch my own mortality with a shovel if you're desperate for a booze up? Anything to help.

Kelloggsville: just to warn you he charges extra if you want your muffins buttered.

lunarossa said...

OMG, Steve, I know exactly what you went through! The first time I mowed my lawn here in the UK I cut over the power cord and I had a similar near-death experience like yours. Frightening and ascetic at the same. Because we survived. Does this make us blessed by God? At the time I thought of lighting a candle but my hubby was so furious about it (maybe he was keen on the milkwoman himself) that I decided to play it down. I'm glad you're fine. Ciao. A.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: I guess the right answer is that every day is a blessing... and we ought to count our lucky stars each time we plug in one of our new fangled inventions and live to tell the tale!

the fly in the web said...

Why is it men always assume that their women will be seeking consolation with a milkman while they....theoretically, of course...seek consolation with something much classier?

Just asking.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: to be honest the bag lady at the end of our street has got a great pair of legs on her and a great personality. It's only her beard that puts me off.

French Fancy... said...

I do hope Karen knows how to log into your Blogger account. I'd hate for your demise to go unmarked. Also have you told her which photo you would like used in the event of a death flash?

Look - just forget the power tools from now on - we can't afford to lose you. Karen would be too busy with the boys to let us know where to send donations.

Steve said...

FF: my wife says to make all cheques out to C.A.S.H and leave the rest to her... as for a photo; I've always liked the one of me in the mankini...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Oh Steve!! I am so happy that you are not dead. However would I entertain myself without your fabulous blog to keep me laughing? No, but seriously. My dad had an incident like this where he was holding a chainsaw and it got wet somehow (maybe it started raining? I can't remember) and he was being electrocuted until a friend (fellow construction worker) gratefully noticed and slammed it out of his hand with a 2 X 4. When he told us later it kinda rocked my world to think he would've been dead otherwise. Thank god for safety features on power tools. Seriously. So happy you are okay.

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: just goes to show how handy it is to have a bit of wood lying around. Sadly all we had were some bamboo canes - not sure they'd have done the job in the event I was electrocuted. I think I will treat power tools with a lot more respect from now on. And thank you for your good wishes. Nice to know that at least one of my readers is pleased I'm not dead! ;-)

Keith said...

You see, quantum physics at work. You will never die of anything but old age, because at every point in time, when something happens to kill you, the universe splits and one version of you dies whilst the other, miraculously lives, but your consciousness only continues in the alive version of you, so... ergo... you will never die a hideous, untimely death at the teeth of a rabid hedge trimmer. No one will.

We are all invincible.

Just remember that, next time you are trimming your bush.

Steve said...

Keith: given recent events with hedge trimming equipment I think I shall be sticking to depilatory creams from now on for any kind of bush growth removal...

...and talking of quantum physics, does that mean that our untimely deaths are merely an event experienced by others rather than ourselves? Hmm. A quantum of solace there methinks...

libby said...

Well Steve...glad you didn't kick the bucket....and loved the explanation from Keith! Experienced that 'only a few days later' realisation feeling myself once...had to rescue my young daughter and niece from an outgoing tide, and only burst into tears much later on my own.

ArtSparker said...

I think we all have moments of inattention for which me mostly don't get nailed.

You might find the American comedy/drama series "Dead like me" entertaining...depending on your mood.

Steve said...

Libby: delayed shock / delayed reaction is probably a life saver in itself; it allows us to get away from the scene of danger before we collapse and freak out!

ArtSparker: haven't heard of that but I shall definitely keep an eye out for it now. May have to have a look on Amazon...

lgsquirrel said...

May I suggest the following epitath,
"He was laid low by trimmer,
He pulled the trigger
And made the house lights dimmer
While electricity coursed through his finger.

And so now it seems he has given up the ghost,
Which is just another way to say he is dead,
It might be inappropriate to say he is toast,
Perhaps its better to say he's brown bread."

Steve said...

lgsquirrel: I am profoundly honoured at the time you have put in composing that and profoundly scared at how eager you appear to be for wanting an excuse to use it.

Janete Cabral said...

I watched Dead like Me. Hilarious.

Like your writing Steve :)

Tenon_Saw said...

I have been dead for 25 years, having cut through a mower cable with edge trimmers; there was no cut-out in those days. I've always wondered how my wife is getting on in the parallel universe.

Steve said...

Janete: a second vote - looks like I'll have to get me a boxed set!

Tenon_Saw: who knows. But I bet her lawn could do with a good cut.

Being Me said...

Once again, I learn more about you than I expected. So, ok, you don't like beards on your bag ladies and you'd prefer your male mourners to be wearing either miniskirt or mankini (weather appropriate, I assume).

On a serious note, holy crap! So relieved you're ok. How did the missus react? (not to the loss of the trimmer, but the near loss of her gardener/gain of a milkman?)

Vicky said...

Okay, this is why power cords and the great outdoors don't mix, a bit like using a hair dryer in the bathroom :)

English Rider said...

At the last minute, after putting the computer to sleep for the night, I cottoned to the rhyming-slang: Brown Bread - Dead. Not many examples of that heard over here.
Urban legend tells of two neighbors who decide to trim the hedge by hoisting up the lawn-mower between them. Something about an Emergency Room and a bag full of mixed finger-tips. You weren't thinking of trying that next, I hope?

Steve said...

Being Me: the missus was more shook up about it initially than me. She is now reconciled to having to pay for her weekly milk as normal. ;-)

Vicky: or cooking over a gas cylinder in bed... I know, I know, we've all done it but it's not a good idea!

English Rider: damn. So you're saying I should just bite the bullet and buy a new hedge trimmer and not adapt the equipment that I've already got?

misssy m said...

I work with a lot of health and safety guys. Health and Safety enrages me because these guys are such utter nobs. I got a row a couple of weeks ago whilst visiting one of them for a meeting because I didn't hold the handrail. This makes me want to light a cigarette in front of them with a lit firework whilst swigging 20% proof moonshine.

Steve said...

Misssy M: sadly my job requires me to spend a lot of time not only with these types of fellows but also bending over backwards (with the appropriate safety nets in place) to appease them and their mile long lists of rules and regulations...

Clippy Mat said...

Not only do your posts make me laugh out loud, the comments they receive and your respnses to those are equally as guffaw inducing.

I have nothing witty to add to the mix alas.

However I liked the post.
"It was a reet laff. Glad you didn't cowp your creels."
(I said that in a Geordie accent to add humour to my remarks.)
Hope it worked?
:-)
p.s. please leave a witty response.

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: aye pet, allus blorks gan an tops aselves jus feralaff like.

Heather said...

You stupid bugger! I do hope Mrs Steve has seen to it that you are given nothing more dangerous than a pair of blunt primary school scissors for future hedge cutting excursions.

Steve said...

Heather: she did. I've managed to stab myself in the ass with them cos I put them in my back pocket, forgot they were there and sat down. Safety scissors my ass. Literally.

Owen said...

If you'll be needing a straightjacket one of these days to prevent any further harm to yourself, just give a call...

For a moment I thought you were about to confirm that you had indeed dug a deep wide pit for the mysterious visitor to fall into, and were getting ready to use the hedge trimmer on him...

Tony said...

Dude, I love your blog - you're awesome. I added you to my blogroll (if that's ok with you)

For the record, I would have sent flowers or at least a virtual card

Steve said...

Owen: knowing me I'd choke on the straps.

Tony: thank you. See guys, this is what it's all about. Respect. Tony, your's is my most favourite comment ever. Cheers.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

'Cor, some people will do anything for a dramatic blog post! ;- )

Glad you're still in the land of the blogging Steve. Lx

Steve said...

Laura: if I don't get picked up by the nationals soon I'm going to have to do something amazing with a food blender and the 10.49 to Birmingham New Street.

The Sagittarian said...

Home Hnady Man of the Year? Oh dear, an electrifying blog post...that sounds like an experience and a half. The Stud once chopped the cord for the headge trimmer while using the damn thing, you guys must have been cats in a previous life?? So glad you're ok.

Steve said...

Amanda: thankfully it wasn't as big a shock as it could have been. As for the cat thing... I have been known to land on my feet when the need arises.