Metro 151

Richard Herring: It’s oat so simple, but damn funny

Wednesday 11 Feb 2015 

Every morning my wife gets to enjoy my special porridge in bed. That’s not a euphemism! How dare you smuttily degrade this beautiful romantic gesture? I make her porridge for breakfast and then I dip in my nuts (oh come on, what’s wrong with you? I mean hazelnuts), I spread my seed all over it (pumpkin and sunflower) and then top it with my love honey (some honey in the shape of a heart, why are you being like this?). Then I bring it, with a cup of tea, a glass of Berocca, a pint of water (she likes to keep hydrated) to my slumbering love.

She is the luckiest woman in the world. Yes, all the women who rejected me, this oaty fairytale could have been yours. I may not be the best looking man in the world, I may not be the richest, I may be quite unpleasant and selfish and have poor personal hygiene… sorry I’ve forgotten where I was going with that.

I have performed this service over a thousand times, but last week things went awry. As I carried the tray up the stairs, my slippers lived up to their name and I lost my footing. As I struggled to keep my balance, my first instinct was to protect the tray, with no thought for my own safety. I tottered like the clumsy waiter from Sesame Street before falling like the clumsy waiter from Sesame Street.
I can’t tell you exactly how it happened, but essentially, while sliding backwards I poured the entire contents of my tray over my own face and head. I recall the sensation of cold water, hot tea and just-right porridge hitting me (the full Goldilocks – all temperatures simultaneously).

My shins were acting as the sledge taking me down the carpeted slope before I flipped over with plates smashing around me. I found myself in a heap in the hallway, the walls splattered with breakfast, like some kind of cartoon character made of food had been brutally assassinated. I had carpet burns up my legs and porridge in my hair. I looked like I’d had a much more interesting night than I actually had.

I had performed a perfect piece of slapstick comedy to an audience of none. If a comedian tips a tray of porridge over his own face, before falling down some stairs and no one is around to see it, is it still funny?
I was aware that it probably was. Slapstick is much less funny when it’s described rather than witnessed (it really is a visual medium for comedy), but I bet you’re still laughing now. It’s a shame that the most amusing thing I had ever done went unseen. I could slave for years to come up with the perfect joke and it wouldn’t be a thousandth as funny as what I had just done by accident.

If I had filmed this I would definitely have won £250 from You’ve Been Framed (anyone else perturbed that their clip reward money has remained unchanged since the 1990s?). If I was ten years older then an incident like this would be a cause for concern, but I am just young enough to say I fell over, not that I ‘had a fall’. I was mainly cursing the fact that I would now have to make another breakfast.

It was a big moment of drama to start the day and another addition to my slapstick sitcom life. It could only have been more farcical had my wife chosen this moment to go into labour.

I paid my car tax online and felt sad that I will no longer be receiving a disc for my windscreen. Surely there is a market for some enterprising individual to sell circles of paper that people can pop into their now redundant holders. I’d buy an accurate mock up of an actual tax disc just so I can keep up with my collection of all the tax discs I’ve ever (I keep it in my glove box). But you could do funny ones like “I haven’t paid my car tax” or “Sex Stud Tax paid until March 2016”. If people will pay tens of pounds for a real tax disc, they’ll part with a fiver for a jokey one. By all means steal this idea and become a millionaire.