So, the other night, my mum made a very compelling audition for the International School for the Sarcasm- Impaired. If it were up to me, not only would such a school exist (in which case I would be the obvious choice for Chancellor), but my mum would secure automatic qualification on a full scholarship. Twenty odd years of parenthood have taught her much- including the art of nagging your child to within an inch of their life- but she remains woefully ignorant on the fine language that is sarcasm. For this reason, our arguments have recently gotten so amusing that I find myself looking forward to them.
Anyway, if I may set the scene, I was emerging from the bathroom, towel wrapped around my waist, when a great, big, mum-shaped shadow fell across my path. Whilst in the bathroom, I had gone through the better part of the USA Hot Top 40 singles chart. With commentary. What this simply means is that I had ushered myself into the bathroom with a booming introduction (Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for……me!!) and then segued into the first verse of Wake Me Up. I killed the chorus. Soaping myself required a more up tempo vibe, so I switched to Blurred Lines. At some point I went pop rock, then reggae, and eventually I signed off with a rousing performance of our very own Hivo ndio kunaendanga.
You understand, therefore, why my first thought was that my dear mother had been moved to tears by my heartbreaking renditions, and had thus decided to deliver her standing ovation in person. I was wrong. As so often happens, my father had been so busy snoring on the couch and my mum so occupied with rehearsing ways to be mean to your child, that they had missed ten minutes of sheer brilliance.
“What is this?!” mum barked, and my celebrity smile slipped from my face. For one terrified moment, I ran a mental check on the crimes I had committed of late. I looked up at what she was holding. Not surprisingly, it was her laptop. You see, my mum has a bit of a dramatic streak. Obviously, she was referring to something else; probably something on the laptop itself. But I have too much self-respect to pass up an opportunity to be sarcastic. I am nothing if not principled.
“I can’t say for sure, mum. A decepticon?”
There was an audible whoosh as that one flew over her head. Her eyes continued to flash.
“Well, it looks a lot like your laptop. Is that a new spacebar?”
At this point she thrust the laptop forward so I could better survey the scene of the crime. “Are you the one who left this virus on my computer?”
The virus, or as I like to call it, the completed torrent of the third season of Sherlock, sat innocently on her desktop awaiting the arrival of the jury. I had no idea where to begin. Normally, I would calmly begin with the explanation of what a torrent is, but as it was, I was dripping wet and mildly irritated.
“Really? The whole third season of Sherlock is a virus? No!”
I took the laptop from her, shouldered past her and went into my room. “If only the producers knew. And the networks! Let me put some clothes on, mum, it helps when fighting malware disguised as brilliant television dramas.”
She continued to hurl accusations at me, interspersed with some insults, while I busied myself copying that dreadful virus elsewhere. We wouldn’t want to expose her poor laptop to such filth. Eventually, I presented it back to her, promising that it was free of risk and denying vehemently that I had anything to do with it.
“I would never touch your laptop, mum. Just the thought frightens me.”
There was a moment when she glared at me intently, and I worried that her hands were about to reach for my neck. But she simply turned and walked away. Probably to go work on her admission letter. She need not have bothered. The International School for the Sarcasm Impaired wants her bad.