There will come a time when your children want to sit with the adults on family visits, and forsake their usual childish activities when they are at grannie’s house of dragging a reluctant dog around the garden on a lead.
My son is twelve and he wanted to take the plunge into the world of adult chat on a trip to see my wife’s relatives in Liverpool. On such occasions, I think all you can do is just sit back and pray no-one mentions Jimmy Saville.
Thankfully my wife was on hand and she effortlessly steered the conversation into the safe waters of death by rabies. I gave my son a ‘see what I have to put up with’ face, followed by a ‘fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to get worse’ face. He looked out of the window longingly at his 6 year-old sister who was happily dragging the dog around the garden. I looked longingly too until she awkwardly held the dog in the air, in the same clumsy manner that Michael Jackson held his baby over that hotel bannister, hundreds of feet above the pavement. That’s another person we don’t want mentioning.
It’s appropriate to say at this point that my wife was tipsy and when she is lightly drunk she rattles off the same three tipsy anecdotes, anecdotes that were impossible to verify, until now.
Her jewel in the crown bullshit anecdote is that she once saw Magnum actor Tom Selleck in a bakery queue in Canada, and that she could feel a ‘vibe’ between them, even though she was stood three spaces behind him. Apparently, Tom is great at seducing women with his calves and shoulder blades. Her second one is that Craig Mchlachlan, the guy who played Henry in Neighbours, once tried to serenade her with his guitar at York train station.
Of course I think my wife is a beautiful woman, but I am somewhat annoyed by the fact that my wife’s sexual magnetism is confined to actors in shows with titles that fall between M and N in the alphabet; Magnum and Neighbours. It’s an enduring mystery to me why actors from other shows in the alphabet don’t want to seduce my wife with their calves.
Her third story isn’t a bullshit story, it’s a bullshit fact. It’s that an English man in England contracted rabies off a native English bat last year.
Sadly, time was up for this bullshit fact, a perfect storm was on its way, because there was a young person with access to google sat opposite her, and the nail in the coffin was that sitting quietly in the corner of the room, was a mysterious female stranger, who we were all about to learn had once been bitten by a rabid dog. We all collectively tensed up slightly when she told us this, and I saw several phones slide under the table to ask google if you can catch rabies at a dinner party in Liverpool in the middle of the afternoon.
The rabid dog victim started telling her story which involved a lot of hand gestures. “In India,” she said, “When you get bitten by a rabid dog you don’t ring for an ambulance, you call the Police, because they know what to do,” and then she did a menacing throat slitting gesture with her thumb across her neck. She then did another menacing hand gesture to show something else the Police did to the dog, which looked exactly how I would mime trying to smash open a chocolate orange.
The internet then interrupted with the answer and relayed it like a trance through the young person. It was bad news. It was indeed true that an English man contracted rabies, but he contracted it from a Scottish bat in Scotland. There was a slight pause, apart from the rabies victim who was busy showing another woman, through the medium of mime, that the best way to open a chocolate orange is to smash it over a dead dog.