I broke my leg today. I am not quite sure how it happened. In fact, I was not even aware of anything being amiss until my doctor informed me, and even then, the assured, unconcerned matter in which he relayed the bad news caused me to be very unsure about whether or not I had properly understood him. He, however, needed not convincing, and set about wrapping a bandage around my knee while his junior assistant held first a stethoscope, and then a bottle of ketchup, to my ear. Apparently (this is a new discovery for me) a broken leg is best treated through the ear, as the ketchup was followed by a long sequence of other slightly ticklish instruments, such as a syringe, a bottle of pills, a thermometer, and a second stethoscope. By the time the examination of my ear was complete, the doctor had finished with my left, and passed me a plastic can of tomato sauce with the strict instructions to inhale it through my nose, as it would make me feel better straight-way. The junior assistant took this opportunity to pull up my shirt, and press the very cold stethoscope to my stomach. He made up for the start this gave me by piling a large number of stuffed animals on my head, instructing me to sleep, and then waking me up again so that he could feed me a remarkable array of foods.
The nurse, during this time, displayed a remarkably scandalous approach to proper bedside manners. She smiled and giggled at me in the most beguiling manner, flung her arms around my neck, climbed quite over me, and demanded a large number of kisses. All things said, however, I am sure I have never had a better team of medics in my life, for after administering to me in this way for a good half hour or so, they declared I was completely cured, and left to go fight a fire in the neighboring room.
On another note, I have recently decided that G. K. Chesterton was quite right about a number of things he said regarding the nature of children. Specifically, their ability to see the world with new eyes. As he put it, it is adults who need Lewis Carrol and Jaberwocky. We need fantasy books and magic stories to entertain us, to inspire us, to wonder us. Children are already occupied quite busily with the concept of Africa.
From A Defense of Baby-Worship:
“The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense. The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.”
Jonas: Laura, do you know a man from Tunisia is coming today?
Me: Yes, I do. And do you know where Tunisia is?
Jonas: *wide-eyed, shakes head.*
Me: Tunisia is in Africa!
Jonas: *angrily* No, Tunisia is not in Africa! In Africa everyone is black and has no shirts, and there are a lot of crocodiles that eat* people… ja, with sharp teeth.
Jakob: Ja, ja… and… fiends!**
Jonas: *emphatic* No, there are no fiends. Only crocodiles.
*the specific word used was not the normal “to eat” (essen) but rather a specific word to describe the way animals eat, probably “devour” (fressen.)
** Jakob’s new favorite word. Everything is now a fiend. (In German, “feind.”)