Back Chat: Green with envy

Back Chat: Green with envy

Yep, kids who broke bones were lucky kids indeed. And unlucky kids, like me and my wife, used to wish that one day (please God) it might happen to us.

by John Cooney

MY WIFE BROKE HER ARM a while back. Tripped on some foreign steps, and went down like a sack of spuds. Ouch! She’s all mended now, thank goodness. But she told me later that, centuries ago, when she was still at school, she used to envy kids who broke an arm or a leg. 

And I remember feeling the same …

Those kids were heroes. They would strut around with their arm or leg in plaster like they were King or Queen of the Whole Wide World. And all the other kids would stop and stare and run over and say oh what happened oh you poor thing I bet it hurt and sign their names and draw pictures all over the cast and offer to carry their books and sharpen their pencils and even give them a sandwich.

Yep, kids who broke bones were lucky kids indeed. And unlucky kids, like me and my wife, used to wish that one day (please God) it might happen to us.

As we’ve shared this memory with friends, other confessions have come out of the woodwork …

My sister recalls wishing she was deaf, because a deaf man she knew could do sign language really well. And my sister was so envious she used to stuff cotton-wool in her ears and practise sign-language in front of our bathroom mirror.

A work colleague remembers wishing she had bandy legs, because kids with bandy legs looked so athletic – whereas her knees used to knock together when she walked. She was also envious of girls who used hairspray – so she made her own, out of sugar and water, which used to attract ants.

However, it’s my wife who wins first prize …

She used to envy kids who had braces on their teeth! And the bigger, shinier and more-sticky-outy the braces, the greener was her envy!

But wait … there’s more:

She admits (I kid you not) that she used to sneak into her father’s shed and use his pliers and his wire to fashion for herself a set of braces. She’d bend them around her teeth, hold them in with her tongue, and walk along the street to the grocery store thinking how cool she was. 

Go figure!

(If you have an envy-memory that’s better than this you’d better let me know …)

JOHN (GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER) WONDERS WHAT ELSE HE HAS YET TO LEARN ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO, FOR DECADES NOW, HAS BEEN SHARING HIS BED.