He Started It!
He started it! No, honestly, he did! I know it sounds like a silly childish excuse for trying to not get into trouble, but it doesn’t apply in this instance because trouble has already visited itself upon my person – my bum – so I feel justified in telling you – HE STARTED IT!
We were shopping last week for a birthday present for Alex’s nephew, who was about to celebrate his 8th birthday. Alex asked would I go with him to help choose a present as our mental ages being so in tune at times would help tremendously – HA HA, very funny, NOT.
As we’re mooching round the large toyshop in town my eyes fell upon, and glistened at, I was told later, the modern day version of the Pogo stick.
Do you remember when they were bars of metal with a handle at the top, 2 foot rungs at the bottom and a ginormous spring and that’s about all? Well nowadays they are round plastic platforms supported by an inflated rubber ball with Spiderman/Batman/ Princess whathaveyou patterns all over them. But they are still pogo sticks. And they still bounce!
Alex and I went to his sister’s house with the aforementioned pogo stick wrapped and cosseted on my lap the whole journey, with dire warnings from Alex to actually let Simon – his nephew – have a go at it first and not to snatch it out of his hands before he’d even got the wrapping paper off.
Honestly, you’d think I was a over zealous kid the way he goes on, although I admit the only reason that I hadn’t road-tested it was because it was heavily wrapped in the manufacturers cardboard that would have had to have been ripped off to get at it – I’d checked. But you really have no idea how much I was dying to have a go, I used to be great at pogo-ing when I was younger and I was sure that I could show Simon a trick or two.
Like the good little urchin that he was, Simon’s eyes lit up when he saw it, proclaimed it his best present so far, amid glares from his parents – which were Alex bound so didn’t bother me in the least – and ripped the packaging off and sped outside to test it.
Now, I’m not saying anything against kids of today thinking that they know everything and being much more streetwise and with-it than adults, but Simon had no idea of what he was doing. He was far too cautious in my humble opinion.
You know that life is full of little coincidences don’t you? You know, like where you read about something and then somebody mentions the same thing, or you buy something and then see something similar elsewhere….well, this is what happened to us, sort of.
As we were all outside watching Simon bounce about, their next door neighbours came past and stopped to watch and they just happened to comment that they had an old style pogo stick in their shed from when their kids were younger. Yes, of course I asked if I could have a go at it…..you honestly didn’t expect me not to, did you?
They say that you never forget how to ride a bike no matter how long it is since you’ve ridden one…..I mean all the know-how is still there, right? It kicks in automatically once you swing your foot over the crossbar? So it stands to reason that the same applies to pogo sticks, right?
Well, yes, obviously you need a little more compensation for the added height and weight once you’ve hit the beard growing stage, but the principal is the same and I was confident that I hadn’t lost my touch. And I hadn’t, really I hadn’t.
And I think that Simon might have been a little surprised at just how well an ‘oldie’ could do, and perhaps a little miffed as well, which is probably why he challenged me to a pogo race. Well, I was well up for that although I knew I was going to let him win anyway ... it was his birthday after all and he deserved to be Star for the day. In the end I unfortunately stole his thunder and the little swine seemed far too happy with the outcome as far as I’m concerned.
The race was only going to be down the garden path anyway, it wasn’t exactly a Grand Prix circuit . . . what could go wrong?
What went wrong was that I fell off backwards and landed squarely on Sue’s prize roses, squashing them flat and beyond repair in one fell swoop.
I was quite surprised that she controlled herself as much as she did . . . barely a yell at all really . . . although as I was helped back up the path and into her house I saw her look forlornly at the remnants of 2 plants I had managed to splatter, the names of which I had never managed to remember whenever she gave us the proud-as-punch tour.
So there you have the reason why I found myself ensconced in Alex’s sister’s spare bedroom with my trousers round my ankles, my extremely red bottom being attended to by Alex with Simon outside the door giggling his head off.
“I think you couldn’t have chosen a better 2 plants to fall on you know Peter” muttered Alex and I tried, between winces to keep my eyes from watering and not whine too much, much to Simon’s dismay.
“I think this buttock” he said patting much too firmly in my opinion my left cheek “has been got by Gentle Persuasion. And this” moving deftly to attend to the right hand side “looks definitely like the Alec’s Red”.
Oh, by the way, he wasn’t spanking me . . . he was getting the thorns out of my bottom.