It’s another health and safety nightmare

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, not exceeding 0.9 metres in height, with safety rubberised playsurface installed on both sides. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men were in attendance, and had recent CRB checks and there were four certified first aiders on site. There were no mishaps.

Where’s the fun in that? And, more importantly, where’s the narrative tension?

In a world where risk assessments are carried out before anyone dares even to step outside the door, there’s no possibility of the random happenings and deadly peril so beloved of novelists, dramaturges (I’m perfectly certain I’ve never typed that word before), cineastes (ditto), lyricists or librettists and the writers of nursery rhymes (not sure what you call them).

Mercutio would have lived to a ripe old age because the swords would have been tipped. Juliet would never have been able to get her hands on that sleeping draught because it would almost certainly be reclassified as a Class A drug. Ophelia would have had swimming lessons at school and, anyway, there would have been plenty of bouyancy aids available. Mimi’s tiny hand would not have been frozen – she’d have been vaccinated against TB at school, and the simple addition of a room thermometer would have made sure she kept her room nice and cozy. Manderley wouldn’t have burned down because Mrs Danvers would have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act long ago. 

I suspect that even pussycats wishing to go up to London to look at the queen would have a hard time getting close enough to frighten little mice under her chair.

And, yes, I do realise I keep banging on about this kind of thing but, honestly …

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23 thoughts on “It’s another health and safety nightmare

  1. Very very funny, cheered me up no end after chasing sheep all day yesterday. Can’t understand why so many people think losing sheep is funny!!!!!!!

  2. Snow White’s the worst…. There’s an abusive stepmother, a hunter (who would be sent to prison for just existing) and seven height challenged men who can’t be there on two counts a) because it’s dwarfist and b) because there’s something ever so slightly perverse about seven men sharing a house with a prepubescent girl….

    And what was the lyricist of the Disney film thinking.

    One day my prince will…?

    Not in my daughter he won’t…

  3. Oh bless you for being sane. Thank you for this post. I’ve just come visiting from some kind of love-in on another blog that was about to make me vomit. And here you are. Being sensible. And funny. And wonderful! Thank you! 🙂

    Any day, the govt. will try to ban sarcasm and then all hope is lost!

    l-q-s.
    xx

  4. alpha no – nothing personal. just another article in the sundays about how children aren’t allowed to do anything daft any more, and it got me musing.
    steph what would they do to the farmer’s wife? terrible! it’d be all over the papers.
    flutter good point. and there’d have been an investigation at the hospital over that vinegar and brown paper business
    sheepish you knowwhy – it’s the whole little bo-peep thing. but why was that poor girl left in charge of the sheep without adequate supervision? heads will roll! (glad they came home, btw)
    jane you made me snort coffee! x
    lqs glad i made you feel better. those love-ins bring out the very worst in me and make we want to type rude and abusive words in 20pt bold. x
    clive nice to see you away from your kitchentable. i love you comment – but it took me ages to work it out, as i said. i fear i’m losing it!
    mangonel perfect! x

  5. I seem to recall a far-right US group who lambasted a story about a young girl visiting a foreign country. The child killed an old woman on her arrival before teaming up with a wild animal, a mental retard and an axe-wielding psychopath to go on a murder spree resulting in the death of a second old woman. The girl’s name was Dorothy.

    I hear that ROSPA is now encouraging kids to climb trees, scrape knees, get stung by nettles etc. It’s political correctness gone sane!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/12/ndanger112.xml

  6. I’d respond but I’d need to see that this blog conforms to ISO-98-735-4251 Safety standards before doing so.

    Please submit your certificates of compliance and any supporting documentation in triplicate to you local authority.

    Allow 2 to 57 weeks for the council to lose said documentation without notifying you, then resubmit. Then allow 14 to 61 years for authentication.

    At which point, I will post my response… although, to be honest, I’ll have probably died of old age by then.

    Oh, and send a photograph in with your documentation because we think you are hot.

  7. It’s been noted before, but who said Humpty Dumpty was an egg?

    That kind of post-modern reading would’ve weirded out Derrida, for Christ’s sake.

    One minute you have a guy sitting on a wall, the next you have a load of men and horses trying to stick yolk and eggshell back together with nary the slightest mention of albumen.

    There must have been some bad acid doing the rounds in the nursery when I was a kid, I’ll tell you.

  8. farty (if i may make so bold), that’s a brilliant deconstruction. we should analyse a few more of the classics along those lines. i agree about rospa – who’d have thought it, eh? i do hope they took legal advice before making such a statement!
    violet i think fear of legal action is part of it – but it’s also a desire to control everything, because people really believe they can. until something comes along a proves otherwise. then they have to revise their thinking pdq. strange …
    steve if the composing and verbal gigolo-ing ever let you down, you’d make a fabulous civil servant!
    fr it may have been said before, but it never occured to me until just now. my mind is well and truly blown – rather like an egg, actually! you’re absolutely right – what a weird assumption. i’m going to have to go and lie down quietly for a while …

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  14. Well, of all the nursery rhymes one that beats them is Little Jack Horner. Apart from sitting in the corner (probably the best place for him) the unsafe practice of putting you finger in the pie (I hate to speculate where his fingers have been…) playing with your food and singing your own praises (what a good boy am I) would indicate that this kid had bad potting training. What kind of mother did he have…?

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