Jane was a nice enough woman, but so stupid! She never listened, or if she did, she always had to do the opposite of what was recommended.
When, at the age of four, her mother told her she would be sick if didn’t stop eating those unripe blackberries, she kept eating them and was sick for two days.
She was five when her mother advised not to get in her little sister’s highchair, because she was too big, and she’d be bound to get stuck. After that unfortunate incident, her little sister had to learn to sit at the table with the rest of the family, as the highchair was too damaged to repair.
At six years old, somebody foolishly gave Jane chewing gum for the first time, and she was playing with it, fascinated by the way it stretched, when her mother got the strange impression that she was about to wrap it around her neck, and told her not to, because it would stick like glue and have to be scrubbed off. Nothing could have been further from Jane’s mind – until it was suggested. She later complained that it was a very painful experience.
Fortunately the baby dress was due to be recycled by the time Jane, aged seven, put it on (to the accompaniment of her mother crying “Don’t do that – it’s too small for you and I’ll have to cut it off!”). It restricted off the blood flow to her arms, and was so tight that her mother was unable to avoid scratching her with the scissors.
Even as an adult she tended to ignore sensible advice. When she found an ancient, dusty bottle full of an un-named fluid in the garage, her mother-in-law warned her that sniffing it was not the ideal way to investigate its contents, but it was too late… She came round quickly, but had a nasty bump on the back of her head from hitting the wall as she passed out, and a nauseous feeling that could have had something to do with the un-named liquid in the bottle.
As for the lipstick that Jane found at the back of a cupboard a few hours before her niece’s wedding – well, I suppose the incident was down to the celebratery pre-wedding drink – she was warned not to do it, but she thought it would be funny to use it as rouge. She didn’t believe the words emblazened on the tube which claimed that it would stay on for 24 hours. She sat through the wedding with her hands over her cheeks, covering a scarlet blush that wasn’t entirely natural.
So when I told her that she should get an electrician to wire in the new cooker, or at least switch the electicity off before she attempted it, I suppose I shouldn’t really have been surprised by what happened.
Still, on the upside, the undertaker’s assistant was a trained electrician, and he, most kindly, came round and wired the cooker in at no extra charge. Should Jane accidentally miss her footing, fall of her cloud, and land back on earth, no doubt she’ll be pleased to have the means to cook her dinner.
I found this in my documents today – it appears to be my obituary! I don’t remember writing it, so I’ve probably never posted it…
©Jane Paterson Basil