Once upon a time I had a little brother. I still have a little brother, but he was a lot littler at the time. Charles was a bit absent minded, something of a daydreamer, and didn’t exactly think things through before he did them. We also had a little fish tank that sat in the living room, and which everyone loved.
I don’t recall exactly why, but everyone was running around busy that day, with not a second to stop going. Little Charles was left alone on the living room couch, watching the fish tank and apparently trimming his nails. I guess. Anyway, he was somehow imbued with a brilliant idea of something to entertain himself with, and without so much as a peep, he stood up and walked over to the fist tank.
He reached out, nail clippers in hand, and took hold of the chord of the purifier or whatever its called inside the tank. In one deft movement, he had the chord between the blades of the clipper, and he squeezed.
When I tell you that the electric shock of this made his hair stand up, his teeth glow, and the fish go belly up, I kid you not.
Only a couple of us were there to witness this critical moment in my brother’s life, but believe me, we graciously spread the story like wildfire. You should have seen it, really. Whenever I think of it I cannot stop laughing. My brother was okay of course, but boy was he shocked.
This of course reminds me of an event in my own childhood.
My brother Dominic was probably 5, which made me 4 and Philumina 3. We’d just been sent to go off to bed, but had discovered that there was no light on in the bedroom upstairs, and as it was pitch black, no one of us was about to go on that adventure. So we scurried back downstairs to tell our parents that we could go no further.
My parents would have none of it. As they believed, there was no better way to ease fear of the dark than to venture into it and come out unscathed. So they sent us back up stairs, and my dad jokingly told us there was safety in numbers. Terrified as we were, we all clasped hands and ventured together into the dark unknown. My brother went first, I came second, and my sister trailed behind.
Now, the lamp in our bedroom was a little unusual. It was a clown holding a bunch of balloons, which were the lampshade. You had to reach into the bunch of balloons to find the light switch to turn the thing on. (No, none of us were ever inordinately afraid of clowns, not until we saw Stephen King’s IT at a young age…)
Anyway, the lamp was off, and this was to be our only respite from the horrors in the darkness around us. My brother, being the first in our little troupe, had the task of actually turning the light on. He reached out in the dark, fumbling around. We girls waited, holding our breath.
Suddenly we all had our hair standing on end and were screaming like pigs in a slaughterhouse. While reaching for the switch my brother had turned the switch and nothing had happened, and he had started groping around in the dark to tighten the light bulb. But there was no light bulb, and he had stuck his fingers right in the socket.
Even after my dad launched himself up the stairs to our room to see why we were screaming bloody murder, we didn’t stop screaming. The only thing that eventually stopped us was my dad’s rolling laughter when he realized what had happened. He unplugged the light and found a new bulb, but he was laughing all the while. We resented this. We got so mad that even we started laughing in annoyed desperation.
At least now we had a reason to be overly cautious in the dark…