Will Milner’s already had a white Christmas in Dubai – with lobster thrown in for good measure.
I shouldn’t have made the little boy cry. I went too far. That is a mistake I am prepared to admit. But he shouldn’t have thrown a snowball at me. Not in a supermarket. Not in Dubai.
But neither he, nor his (possibly) justifiably furious parents, was willing to take some of the blame and that’s why I don’t totally regret attacking the kid with a frozen lobster. Sometimes you need to take a stance.
Actually the snowball that sloshed against my chest at the fresh fish counter in my local supermarket was more like a tablespoon of ice and water than a well-crafted snow missile. I only knew it was supposed to be a snowball because of the curious and instantly unlikeable little person standing in front of me. (By little person I mean it was definitely a child and not an antagonistic dwarf). ‘Snowball fight, snowball fight,’ the ice-chucking urchin was chanting at me.
‘Don’t do that. You’ll make the floor all wet. You wouldn’t like it if your mummy and daddy slipped and hurt themselves, would you?’ I asked curtly in the tone I reserve for speaking to obnoxious children and call centre staff. As he went to put what little ice chunks he had in his hand back on the counter I walked away with the air of somebody who knows he is making the world a better place. He will probably tell his friends and teachers about this. They’ll discuss this at school assemblies and maybe even write songs about the wise man of the markets that passes on simple homespun wisdom and fish-based life lessons. SPLAT! He wasn’t putting the ice back at all. He was reloading and had just launched a fistful of ice scrapings all over my back.
‘Snowball fight, snowball fight,’ his silly seven-year-old face taunted.
At which point I did what anybody would have done and walked back to the fish counter and grabbed a handful of whatever was closest. Not, it turned out, more ice and snow, but a large Canadian lobster.
I don’t know if it was because he had never faced discipline, or if it was because the claws seemed unusually large on this particular specimen or if it was because I calmly placed the lobster right on top of his head and growled at him but his face froze with fear and he burst into tears and began wailing for his parents.
Somewhere in this story I am sure there is a lesson. I just don’t know what it is. Maybe it has something to do with respecting people and the importance of right and wrong. Or perhaps the real moral is one of tolerance and the encouragement of childlike imagination. The only thing I know is that telling a crying child’s parents ‘he started it’ does not make them less cross. Especially when their child is wearing a lobster for a hat.