So, you remember the time I fell off my bike twice in thirty seconds and you all thought that surely that was the lowest I would go in terms of complete and utter stupidity? Well, I have beaten my personal best, folks. In fact, I will see your “falling off a bike twice in thirty seconds” and I will raise you an “almost killing myself twice in five minutes”. For that, people, is what I did yesterday, during a normal Saturday evening meal at my parents’ house.
Picture the scene: there we all are around the table – me, my parents, Terry, Rubin (Rubin not so much round the table as salivating under it, you understand). I have in front of me a large plate of roast beef and man, am I hungry. Hungry and, yes, greedy. Too greedy by far, in fact, because as I force an enormous piece of food into my mouth, and chew not enough times before swallowing, I realise, that, whoops, can’t breathe no more, uh-uh!
Of course, what any intelligent person would probably have done at this point would have been to simply stick their head between their knees, give a polite cough, and then return to the meal. Not me, though! Instead, I rose from the table, purple in the face, and began frantically pantomiming, “HEY! I AM CHOKING TO DEATH! SAVE ME!”
Luckily my reputation for regularly placing myself in mortal danger whilst carrying out the simplest of tasks precedes me, so all three members of my family realised instantly that whoops! I’d done it again! All hell broke loose as they started shouting instructions to BEND OVER! and DON’T PANIC! at me. I, of course, chose to do both, bending over and panicking simultaneously as I waited to, well, die. Just as my dad prepared to administer the Heimlich manoevre, though, and the thought that, “Bugger, I’m going to throw up right next to the dining table,” flashed through my head, the hunk o’ meat slid swiftly out of my throat, thus proving that no, it really wasn’t stuck that badly in the first place, and that, once again, I had managed to make a drama out of a crisis.
All joking aside, I got a pretty bad fright, and probably gave my mum a few extra grey hairs into the bargain. Sorry, mum. They say your life flashes before your eyes in these situations, though, but your intrepid reporter is here to tell you that no, actually, it does not. In fact, the only scene from my life to flash in front of my eyes was that of a depressing Blackpool hotel room, circa 1989, when my little cousin Blair almost choked to death on a Murray Mint and my dad had to hold him upside down by the ankles while my uncle slammed him on the back. “God, I wonder if my dad’s going to do that to me?!” I somehow had time to wonder, with what would have been my dying breath. Other than that, the overwhelming thought going through my feeble mind was, “OMFG I COULD TOTALLY DIE HERE!” Seriously, it was not nice.
My brush with death was not yet over, though. As I took my place, shamefacedly at the table, and conversation resumed, I pushed the roast beef aside (DANGER! DANGER! THE COW WILL BE REVENGED!) and reached instead for a harmless bread roll, my mind still replaying the scenes of horror that had so recently transpired. So transfixed by this horror was I, however, that as I took the bread knife and sawed viciously through my roll, I went a little bit far and – yes – sawed into my own hand. GOD.
To be honest, there was probably little to no chance of this one killing me, but you know what? It totally could have. I could have bled to death, or contracted blood poisoning or something. I mean, OK, a sticking plaster managed to stem the flow, but even so, I am claiming this one as my second near death experience in under five minutes. GO, me!
I managed to get through the rest of the meal unscathed, although not without thinking a good many tedious, cliqued thoughts about how you just never know what’s coming, and how each breath could be your last. It was a life-changing moment. For instance, I think I will become a vegetarian now, and live only on a liquid diet (wine and vodka will be fine), in order to avoid dangerous kitchen implements. Probably safest to stay away from the car and lawnmower for a while too, because if it’s true that these things always come in threes, I still have one brush with death coming. What fun.
Needless to say, should there be no further entries after this one, it’s probably safe to assume that some bizarre accident, of the type that Could Only Happen To Me, has befallen me…