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4. Small Dangers
My son Stirling (named after the WW2 bomber of course and not the most famous racing driver in the whole world (and I am lying)) was driving along the other day when this woman pulled straight out in front of him! It was horrendous - I was following behind him and could only watch in horror as the terrible scene unfolded in fully-clichéd slow motion.
I could envisage the carnage, the lacerated limbs and hospital visits, followed by the verbal onslaughts and recriminations - even fisticuffs. With only fractions of a second in which to react, I did the only thing I could - I shrieked loudly at the top of my voice "Watch out!!!"
Luckily it worked.
The woman leapt aside in a shocked auto-response to the urgency of my plaintive cry as the little beggar's go-kart zoomed beneath her trailing foot and onward into the open road formed, as it was, by the school playground.
"Sorry I shouted at you," I explained to her truthfully, the look of shock and confusion on her face letting me know fully the extent of her displeasure at mine and my offspring's actions. "I wasn't close enough to grab him so I had to scream or he'd have crashed into your ankles."
She recovered her composure and said that that was all right. I felt my heart pounding. Even though the risk of fatalities was low due to the speeds involved, I was grateful for yet another playground lawsuit averted.
But that was just a pedal go-kart. Now of course children have these electric cars that are the size of a Cadillac and go 10 miles an hour. Imagine the ramifications if Little Johnny embeds one of those in a bus queue full of grannies. But is that as bad as it can get?
No way! There are the motorised scooters, all restricted in power by the manufacturers, but easily souped-up by any nine-year-old with a Haynes manual and half a brain so as once they've removed the throttle-stop and got the thing running on nitro-methane it'll go 40 miles-an-hour down the pavement. The only good thing about these is that because Little Johnny (or Little Johnny's older brother, say Medium Johnny) has sawn half the exhaust off, you can hear him coming from the next county. But are these the most dangerous?
You're damn right they're not. There was I, waiting at the supermarket check-out, quietly unsuspecting that some foul deed was about to take place, calmly contemplating my cash-back, when there heading towards me, mightily unfaltering in its progress, was the most heavily laden shopping trolley in the WHOLE WORLD! How many effing cats has the silly cow got? was the only thing my mind could come up with as I contemplated my life's end beneath a wire mesh monster full of tins of Kitty-Puke-Cocktail.
I turned to look in front of me for a means of escape, but encountered only hopelessness as another trolley waited to be unloaded onto the conveyor belt.
It was crunch time.
Duly crunched, I must say that a shopping trolley did provide a most effective rapid transit system for getting my mangled body to the waiting ambulance.