Self-strangulation: it’s the in thing, don’t you know

Alas, i have more proof of my cackhandedness. On the train today I went to take off my rucksack as I sat down and somehow became hopelessly entangled with the wires of my earphones, almost garotting myself. Worse, I then followed this up by doing the thing you should never do.

I pretended it was intentional.  That’s right, I tried to imply that throttling myself with a length of cord is something I do by choice – a sort of a hobby if you will. Which of course only made people look at me even more strangely.

Back away slowly. You might still be able to escape.

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Cackhanded but not alone

Like most people, there are many things i wish i could change about myself. I would like to be practical, to sing in tune and to be able to breathe underwater. More than anything however i would like not to be cackhanded. I am that person who knocks over vases (“genuine Ming, don’t you know”) with the tail of my coat as i put it on or take it off. I leave as much food on the table as i get into my mouth. I shut train doors on my fingers.

My spirits soared recently therefore when i read Bill Bryson’s “Notes from a Big Country” in which he describes the disasters he’s had during his travels: from an exploding travel bag to depositing not one but two soft drinks all over the lady sat next to him:

“To this day, I don’t know how i did it. I just remember reaching out for the new drink and watching helplessly as my arm, like some cheap prop in one of those 1950s horror movies with a name like The Undead Limb, violently swept the drink from its perch and onto her lap.”

I can’t describe the thrill of realising there are others who share my affliction. I have spent my life studying the apparently effortless way in which people manage to stack furniture (without it collapsing on them), drink coffee (without it ending up all over them) or even pick up a pen from the floor without hitting their head on a nearby table. And the worst of it has always been the feeling that everyone can do this but me.

But now i know: i’m not alone!