Monday, March 5, 2012

"A Never Ending Source of Amusement"

A never ending source of amusement.

That’s me.

To me.

I specifically receive an inordinate kick out of my own incompetence, fumbling over everyday tasks that, for others, are automatic. Finding the end of the Saran Wrap. Forget it. Wielding a can opener. No can do. Peeling back the paper from the corner of the pill packet – where it says “Peel Back Here” – and popping the pill out of its container. The peeling and the popping – virtually impossible.

And I laugh and laugh and laugh.

Entertained, it would seem by my complete hopelessness in regards to small-muscle, motor activities.

I cannot doo dem!

The best ones are a surprise. Because the entertainment value wears off. I don’t even go near Saran Wrap anymore. I mean, what’s the point?

Been there, cannot doo dat!

But when I unexpectedly encounter a situation that appears eminently doable – and is, to the majority of humanity and several species of primates – and find myself incapable of pulling it off,

I am virtually on the floor.

The most recent such “misfortune” occurred at the British Museum during our recent trip to London.

One of the featured exhibits at the British Museum is the Rosetta Stone. I learned that the British received the Rosetta Stone as part of the surrender agreement after taking Egypt from France, who were in possession of the Rosetta Stone at the time. We can only speculate why they wanted it.

“We will not accept your surrender unless you give us one more thing.”

“I don’t know. We have a really good crepe recipe. We can teach you how to look down your noses at foreigners. Or you can have the Rosetta Stone.”

“We will take…the Stone.”

For those of you unfamiliar with the Rosetta Stone, and would like to be slightly more familiar, the following paragraph is for you. For others, you may skip one paragraph and continue below.

The Rosetta Stone, discovered in Egypt in 1799, is an ancient posted ordinance carved on a stone, which is written in three languages, one being Greek, the other two being languages that were previously indecipherable. The value of the Rosetta Stone is that, since Greek is a known language, that knowledge could be used to “crack the code” of the other languages. Now you know something the people who skipped this paragraph do not. Unless they skipped it, because they already knew it. But those other ones, we can justifiably feel superior to them.

Okay, back to the story.

After “doing”, as tourists like to say, the British Museum, I repaired to the Museum Gift Shop, to seek out a souvenir. As I perused the shelves of museum-related trinkets manufactured in China, I came upon a rather prominent display, offering t-shirts with the contents of the Rosetta Stone printed on the front.

On a counter about three feet off the ground, sat fifty or so t-shirts, each of them encased in a clear, plastic tubular container. Being me, and, more importantly, knowing me, I did not even think about removing one of the t-shirts from its container – to determine whether a British “Large” is the same as an American “Large” – as I was certain that I would not be able to, either refold the t-shirt the way it was previously folded, or – gimme a break! – insert it back into the tube.

Instead, I picked up the container, checking the price, the size, and whether it was “100 Per Cent Cotton”, or the dreaded “blend.” As Dr. M was elsewhere at the time, I decided to put it back, and show it to her later, to see if it was worth buying, or, as she likes to describe many items I have an interest in purchasing…”Stupid.”

And that’s when the fun began.

The t-shirt’s tubular container was entirely flat on the bottom. There were at least fifty of them standing, tall like soldiers, on the display counter. However, when I returned it to its standing position on the counter, the clear-plastic, tubular t-shirt container immediately,

Tipped over.

I re-positioned the container. It tipped over again. I re-positioned it again. It tipped once more, this time, taking with it two other clear plastic tubular t-shirt containers, one of which toppled noisily to the floor.

Now, there were three containers to put back, and as yet, I had not been successful in putting back one.

I did not know what was wrong. The container’s bottom was flat. There was no reason it was falling over. And yet, it was. Interfering with other containers in the process.

Lacking both the manipulative dexterity and any innate problem-solving ability, I was utterly helpless in restoring the display. All I could do was to continue setting the containers up the way I’d been doing it before, and watching them fall over again. While laughing like a lunatic. (And causing passing parents to hold close their Young Ones.)

Dr. M eventually arrive. I explained the problem. She immediately replaced the toppling t-shirt containers. And not one of them fell over.

Today, sitting in my t-shirt drawer, is a “Large”, “One Hundred Per Cent Cotton” white t-shirt, with the lettering of the Rosetta Stone emblazoned on the front. We have been home over a month, and have yet to put it on. Maybe I shouldn't have bought it. It's like a trigger mechanism.

One look at that t-shirt...

And I'm gone.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

You make me laugh...