Monthly Archives: April 2016

Tiny Curses for People You’re Just a Little Bit Cross With

There are all sorts of excellent curses in literature. You know the kind of thing: pricking your finger on your 16th birthday and sleeping for 100 years… having to spend the rest of your life as a frog, or a beast, or a nutcracker… being obliged to dance forever or always do exactly as you’re told.

The trouble is, none of them seem to be terribly useful for everyday life. For starters, the difficulty of implementing them is considerable. You generally have to either be a witch or a wizard, or at least to be very good mates with one.

They’re also not particularly relevant to the modern world. I’m not sure I’ve ever laid eyes on a spindle; and very rarely do I find myself wandering alone in a dark forest, and I’m therefore really unlikely to come across an old crone, who then curses me when I refuse to help her when she asks me.

And then, they do seem awfully drastic. You’ve got to be really, really cross with your friends and acquaintances to want to turn them into hideous beasts, or stop them from speaking until someone declares their true love for them.

It’s much more likely that you’re just feeling a bit irritated with someone. So you need to have a few very mild curses up your sleeve: things that will slightly inconvenience people as opposed to turning their lives into one of chaos and disaster.

Here are some helpful suggestions:

Curse 1

Curse 5

Curse 9

Curse 3

Curse 2

Curse 7

Curse 10

Curse 8

Curse 6

Curse 12

Curse 11

I hope that you’ll find these useful. Either way, do please suggest some more of your own in the comments section.

Readers use them at their own risk. The writer accepts no responsibility for any unwanted effects.

I originally got this idea from an internet post that I saw a while ago that was based on the same sort of idea. I’ll happily link to it but I can’t remember any details that would let me find it. If anyone knows it, please tell me!

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The Perils of Online Shopping

It was my mum’s birthday this week, and she was given a card with a cartoon on it about online shopping going wrong. It showed a delivery van bringing a box of Corn Flakes about the size of a small car.

“I don’t get it,” my mum said.

She doesn’t shop online, so she hasn’t had the experience most of us have had, of ordering the wrong size or quantity of something without realising.

It is, for example, very difficult accidentally to put 30 bananas in your shopping trolley. But it’s very easy if you’re choosing them on a computer screen to select five bags of bananas instead of five individual ones, meaning you end up with 30… as I found to my cost a couple of years ago.

Faced with this unmanageable glut of bananas, I decided that the most expedient thing to do was to knock on a few neighbours’ doors and see if anyone would like some. I asked my then eight-year-old whether he’d like to be the one to do that.

He would, it turned out. And being a child who likes to exploit all opportunities to the maximum degree, he made a banana box to hang round his neck (cinema usherette-style) with a banner saying ‘Would you like some free bananas?’, and set off to sing the Banana Split song each time someone answered the door.

Our then next-door neighbours, who had their house on the market, mentioned to me later that they had people round at the time of his arrival, viewing the property. I’m sure that the small, banana-laden boy singing ‘One banana, two banana, three banana four…’ on the doorstep wouldn’t have done anything to impede the sale. So, um, there was no problem there.

On another occasion, my dad was house-sitting for us while we were on holiday. He accidentally bought a pizza with ham on it. We don’t eat ham, so he went outside to throw it away, choosing a handy bin bag that was sitting at the bottom of a neighbour’s drive.

Moments later, said neighbour emerged from his house, picked up the bag (which was clearly not a bin bag at all but an ordinary shopping bag) and walked off down the street with it. My dad just stood and watched, pondering what the man was going to think when he opened up the bag and discovered the ham pizza.

So as you can see, online shopping can be very dangerous – especially for the neighbours.

Or maybe that’s just if you’re a member of my family.


Have you ever had any bizarre online shopping problems? If so, please tell me about them in the comments section.

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