The perils of science
IT was all apparently done in the name of science: the exploration of a sibling’s ear with a cotton bud. Inevitably, it was pushed in too deep and the result was a small and bloody domestic crisis. My initial response was more rage than sympathy, with the happy result—for the children—that the disapproval of the extended family immediately shifted from them to me.
When tempers had cooled, we set off in pouring rain for the hospital. The friendly doctor explained that there was too much blood in the ear to see anything. My concerns were, however, slowly dissipating anyway. The injured party was trying increasingly hard—and with diminishing success—to play the role of a solemn patient. When the dismissal was uttered, they just remembered to thank the doctor for his time, jumped off the bed, grabbed the book they were reading and ran off. I followed in a state of profound relief.
The incident brought vividly to mind a nightmarish episode a few years ago, when one of them got a 20p piece lodged in their throat. It emerged that they’d been playing a dare game with a pile of loose change. Once extracted, the offending object was triumphantly claimed as pocket money. JG