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Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Power of One (Grade One)

A soccer ball whacked me in the back of the head on Friday when I was supervising on playground duty. It’s not the first time I’ve been hit but it’s been a while. 

Normally, I’m on the lookout for flying projectiles, marauding children who aren’t looking where they’re going and I always make a concerted effort to avoid inadvertently wandering, bleary eyed, through a rambunctious game of Bullrush.

On this occasion, however, I was discussing something with Mrs. M who was on duty with me. I can’t remember what we were discussing. I’ve lost some memories from the incident. Traumatic amnesia it’s called.

When the ball ricocheted off my head, all I saw, after the stars had settled back into my retinas, was a semi-concealed but highly amused expression on Mrs M’s face.

“Sorry, I should have told you that was coming but I didn’t see it until it was too late,” Mrs M tried to muffle her guffaws.

At next break, I complained about my injury in the staff room.

“Who kicked it?” asked one of my unsympathetic colleagues as she ate her ham and salad sandwich.

“A grade one-er,” I replied sheepishly.

Indifferent looks were passed around the table. If it had been a grade sixer I may have had grounds to whinge but a grade one-er booting a ball hardly has the power and capacity of Cristiano Ronaldo now, does he?

“But it was Seamus!” I added dramatically. “It was Seamus O’Toole who kicked it.”

A couple of staff members mumbled in reluctant acknowledgement. Seamus is definitely the toughest of all the grade one-ers. Seamus isn’t your average grade one-er. Seamus has swag. Seamus has a decent bloody kick on him.

Plus, it was at an extremely close range that my head intercepted the ball. It struck me a second after it had left the diminutive Adidas runner on Seamus’ tiny foot. The ball had lost no momentum and my head felt like one of those watermelons they use to demonstrate what happens when you don’t wear a bike helmet.

I might add that it was a morning duty and Seamus was most likely fuelled up on cake from the tuckshop, fully energised and in top form.

Seamus was noticeably upset about the incident and went all red in the face and teary. I had to give him a hug and tell him I was okay, even though I wasn’t.

I     had     to     give       HIM       a       hug!

Anyway, on Saturday my head continued to spasm and I was sure I was bleeding on the brain.

Scotto ignored my whining as soon as he heard it was a grade one-er who kicked it but he doesn’t know Seamus and his fancy footwork and the forceful thrust behind his twenty kilogram frame of steel.

This morning, the pain had moved to my neck and upper back.

Whiplash, my friend.


I’m definitely going to protect my precious watermelon from now on and ask the boss if I can wear a helmet when I’m duty… and I’ll be carrying some yellow cards around with me too.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

How to Be Thin

Happy Celine visiting Nana 

“She’s too skinny,” the vet declared as she poked around my fox terrier, Celine’s ribs yesterday.

I sighed and shrugged helplessly. “She eats exactly the same as my Chihuahua and he’s fat,” I replied. “It’s just that she never stops running around chasing balls.”

But the truth is, I suspect her lack of padding also stems from a nervous and unpredictable disposition.

Celine displays a temperament which can only be described as highly neurotic. 

At times when her unhinged, psychotic personality traits emerge, we don’t call her ‘Celine’, we call her ‘Ethel’.

Ethel is deeply disturbed.

Ethel refuses to eat her dinner if I give it to her at 2:55pm instead of 3:00pm. Ethel refuses to eat her dinner if I put it in the wrong place on the floor. Ethel refuses to eat her dinner if it is not mushed up exactly right.

Ethel slinks around petulantly if a visitor sits on her spot on the couch. Ethel will sit on a windowsill like a maniacal stalker, glaring at the visitor with a look of murderous hatred or perhaps an expression of abject forlorn, depending on her state of mind.

“What’s wrong, Ethel?” we cajole, offering her a biscuit from the coffee table. She will sniff the air wretchedly and turn her head away in disgust.

When Scotto leaves for work, Ethel’s temper surfaces in a manifestation of furious bile. She cannot stand for Scotto to leave the house. Ethel would rather kill Scotto than allow him to leave the house. One day she might even do it. 

If Scotto has the presence of mind, he will throw the nearest ball and Ethel magically disappears and Celine is once again returned to us, wagging her tail and panting like a puppy.

Ethel might appear in the morning and evening, one can never predict it. Most times, Ethel prefers her own company and buries herself in a pile of pillows. 

Ethel in a mood

Celine, on the other hand, displays great sociability. She sits between Scotto and me, following our banter with bright eyes and an inquisitive twitchy nose. If one of us happens to swear accidentally in our casual conversation, Ethel suddenly appears, growling and snarling. Ethel detests swearing with a innate revulsion. We don’t know the deep-rooted cause of this. One can only imagine.

Sometimes, Ethel frightens our visitors when she appears out of the blue. They are drawn into a false sense of affection when first meeting the affable Celine

It only takes a word, one gesture, one carelessly moved cushion, for the wrath of Ethel to materialize and poison the occasion.

According to the vet, I should buy Celine working dog food to help bulk her up a bit.

Personally, I think I should have requested an exorcism.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

My Life is Like a Movie


I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix lately and I’ve noticed there are certain clichés in movies that never disappoint.

For example, if detectives arrive at a house and the front door is ajar, they will inevitably encounter a gruesome blood bath inside and often the killer is still squirrelled in a cupboard with a machete.

If birds start dropping from the sky in a movie, there is a meteor/mini ice age/geo-electric storm on its way. After that there will be very large hailstones and the Eiffel Tower will fall down.

If a wife/husband arrives home early, they will catch their spouse in bed with someone else and then they will turn into an alcoholic or solve a murder, or both.

But you know what? I have predictable clichés in my own life. 

For example, if I receive an unexpected windfall, I know for certain one of my pets will become ill thus incurring a vet bill which amounts to roughly twice the amount of the windfall.

Last Thursday night at about 9 o’clock, I called our German Shepherd for his evening treat. Usually he waits in anticipation, slobbering and slavering at the back window, but on this occasion he was nowhere to be seen.

After a short investigation, we discovered him reeling in the shrubbery and soon realized he was unable to walk or stand and his eyeballs were flicking from side to side in a very scary manner.

“Snake!” I blurted out as I dialed the emergency vet with trembling fingers.

We loaded him in the car and sped up to the surgery, praying we would get him there before he vomited all over the back of Scotto’s car, threw a violent seizure or expired in a death explosion of diarrhea.

It wasn’t a snake bite, though. He was diagnosed with a vestibular disorder (also known as ‘Old Dog Syndrome’) and with careful nursing, he should fully recover.

By ‘careful nursing’ I mean he must be carried out to the yard to go wee-wees and poo-poos and he has to be hand fed because he can’t keep his head straight or sit up properly. As I said, he's a German Shepherd.

Before we were able to bring him home, he spent two nights at the vet surgery on a drip and don’t ask me what the bill was because it makes me feel a bit like I have a vestibular disorder.

Okay, I’ll tell you this. I just celebrated a birthday and my children gifted me with a generous voucher from Myers which I was very excited about. The vet bill was roughly twice as much as the voucher.

So that is my life cliche and it never disappoints.