Monday, October 04, 2004

Two tales of stoopid, one of smart (Part II)

I had just cooked the Dude’s dinner (lamb cutlets at $20 a kilo – he eats better than we do) when I got the bright idea of cleaning the fat out of the still hot fry pan before it could congeal into a tasty surprise for the washer-upperer.

I ran water from the tap straight into the pan whereupon it immediately vapourised. Seconds later, the smoke alarm was singing. I put the Dude into his chair and got him started on some corn while I struggled to stop the incessant beeping.

Now, we have a back-to-base system which means the little security gnomes back in the special alarm monitoring cave in the North Pole are supposed to ring various numbers when an alarm is activiated (so they call send the police or an ambulance or call in an air-strike on your home, as appropriate).

There was no phone call. There was hardly any smoke. I just thought the smoke alarm was a little tired and emotional and needed to get something of its chest. I pressed a few buttons on the alarm pad, hoping that I could thus placate the far away alarm gnomes.

The next few minutes were spent in a knock-down, drag-out brawl with the Dude. I alternated my ‘voice of authority’ with my usual begging, wheedling tone. Just one more piece of lamb, one more freakin’ little piece of lamb, and I’ll give you all the strawberries you want.


Just. One. Little. Piece.


You don’t even have to swallow it. Just put it in your mouth and chew once or twice.

It took him 15 full minutes to break my spirit. He’s slipping.

But then as I was bringing over the storbees, I heard a distinctive sound in the distance. The sound of a fire-engine. Oh please god don’t let it be coming here. Please God.

The fire-engine (they call them appliances, don’t they? I guess because you can buy them at Dick Smith’s) got closer and closer.

But, I thought, with my unshakeable logic, the phone never rang. I never took that call from the gnomes who know.

Sudden pertinent thought: the phone is on the hook isn’t it? (We often take it off so that Dude’s all important day sleep is not interrupted). Well, stoopid-fans, you already know the answer to this question. The phone receiver was dangling uselessly like an unpopular incumbent before a gruelling pre-selection battle (it’s the season for analogies like this one).

The Dude and I went to the door to see the fire engine go rushing past. I guess they were looking for, you kow, smoke. It quickly turned around and stopped in front of our house. I apologised profusely to the fire-dudes who were good natured macho young men. They didn’t seem to mind.

Less calm was my mother-in-law who turned up three minutes later. She had been called by the gnomes after our phone had registered its incessant busy signal.

I apologised profusely to her too.

What can I say? I said. I’m sorry. I’m a stupid person.

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