In these worrisome times, as the world waits anxiously to see if … Britney Spears will get over her recent breakup with what’s-his-name, I find it useful to remember the advice of my great-grandfather. When I asked him once about to how to handle the tough patches in life, he looked at me long and hard and said: “Children should be seen and not heard.”
Okay, truthfully, I never asked great-grandad that, mainly because I was about four when I knew him. However, if I had asked I’m sure he would have answered the same way yours did: “Why, when I was your age, I had to walk to school in 28 feet of snow. Naked.”
His point was, of course, that no matter how bad you have it, somebody else has it worse. For instance, take the case of some apartment dwellers in Istanbul, Turkey, who were relieved to hear that their neighbours were finally moving out. Their neighbours being a bunch of cows, that is.
Apparently one tenant, Fatma Kocaman, had been keeping cows on the first and third floor of the building for several years, and has only just recently started thinning the herd.
“It’s been terrible,” said one resident. “They were such party animals, mooing and chewing all night long,” he said, adding that their favourite alcoholic drink seemed to be the Brown Cow.
“It will be such a relief to have the elevators back,” said another resident. “Anytime any of them wanted a milkshake, they’d all pile in and run it up and down real fast. Even worse, they played nothing but moosic on the elevator speakers.”
Asked by reporters where they were going now that they’ve been kicked out, their spokescow, Moostafa said, “Fortunately, my boyfriend has a place. Indeed, you might say we’ve been saved by the bull.”
Now consider the strange case of one Alan Todd, 63, of North Yorkshire, England. For the past few decades the man has been terrified of alarm bells because he suffers heart stoppages and temporary brain death every time one wakes him up. That’s right: when his alarm clock tocked, his ticker locked.
Now, setting aside the inconvenience of waking up dead every morning, consider the strain that must have put on his family. For example, how do you go about answering early morning phone calls and taking messages? “Sorry, no, he died when the phone rang, can he call you back later?”
Fortunately, doctors have finally been able to help this poor man by installing a pacemaker that restarts his heart instantly. This was a great relief to his children, who worried that the condition might be hereditary, and thought they might need… a change of heart.
As bad as that must have been, at least that fellow could report to hospital with a condition that allowed doctors to keep a straight face. In Australia, an emergency room study revealed that at least thirteen men and boys came in with “clothing related injuries” over two years. The injuries were in the nether region, the males having zipped a little too close to the, ahem, nether bits.
[We now pause politely to allow all male readers the chance to wince and cross their legs in sympathy.]
Doctors aren’t sure why there were so many injuries, except that it might be because Australia is hot, and sometimes men don’t wear underwear. However, I don’t believe this because as everyone knows, Scotland is cold, and the men there don’t wear underwear under their kilts either.
Another type of clothing injury included fractures suffered from falls in that tricky stage of putting on pants, where one leg is in, and the other is searching for the hole. Which just goes to prove that Australians are normal people: because they put their pants on one leg at time, just like you and me.
The strangest injuries of all though, have to be the “finger dislocations” caused by putting on or removing socks improperly. So to all those readers who wrote in a few weeks ago to tell me about there being no such thing as proper sock procedures and especially left and right socks, I have this to say: Pthththb.
And to all those people who think they have a tough life, I also say this: zip it.
Just do it slowly, okay?