7 Reasons Bonfire Night Is Traumatic For Adults
After the success of last week”s joint post (it was on Thursday if you missed it) we have decided to produce another. Once again we”ve gone for that topical/helpful format. Here it is:
1. Anxiety. Because your neighbours let off fireworks. And your neighbours are idiots. They can’t be trusted to close their own garden gate properly, let alone to discharge pyrotechnics with any degree of responsibility. And, when their rockets are bouncing off your roof and crashing into your shed, you’ll find yourself thinking: “Where’s our bucket?”; “is the house insurance up to date?“; “I hope that the cat’s inside“;”I’m going to put a fish through their letter-box when they go away on holiday“.
2. Guy Fawkes. It seems somewhat ironic to celebrate the failure of the mission to burn the House of Lords to the ground by creating a massive bonfire, but that’s how it is. And who would have it any other way? Well, probably adults. Especially those with children. Because as well as having a traditional bonfire, there is also the traditional Guy Fawkes effigy that is chucked atop the flames. The effigy is usually made by the children using old clothes. Unfortunately, the children also like dressing up in old clothes. So by the time the effigy is due to be burnt, adults are terrified. ”Is that definitely the Guy or is that my son?’‘ And, more importantly, ”Is that my Hugo Boss suit?”
3. The Inner Child. Once you’ve seen about five bonfire nights, you have seen them all. In theory, as adults, we should all find them terribly boring and treat the event as something for the children. The trauma begins though, because bonfire night is epic. Rockets banging and then flashing in the sky. Photographs of your wife’s ex on the bonfire. It’s really rather exciting. Admittedly the excitement is nearly always alcohol induced, but it is there. And this is when all adults look at the children pretending to be Red Indians running around the bonfire and wish they could join in. But you can’t. Because you are an adult. And adults must be adult-like. Oh, the agony
4. Food. On the one night when burning is the order of the day, it seems odd that, having been put in charge of the food, you are absolutely determined not to burn the baked potatoes. And this really is a mission. While preventing the potatoes becoming charcoal, you also have to drink, pay attention to the fireworks, check your son hasn’t crawled under the bonfire and pay an interest in your neighbour”s annoying five year-old daughter who has shoved yet another sparkler up your nose. Sometimes, you wonder why you bother.
5. Men. As a man you”re in charge of the fireworks. They’re your responsibility and it”s unmanly to get the launching of them wrong or show any fear of them. And you know it can go wrong, because you”ve seen Youtube. And you also know that any idiot can set them off, because you’ve seen Youtube. Even though you know it’s not compulsory to insert the rocket into your bottom before lighting it, being in charge of the fireworks is an onerous responsibility. You don’t want to be the one that lights the blue touch-paper and runs away screaming like a girl, do you? Unless you are a girl, in which case it would probably be quite fun; and a nice change from all those anxious men setting them off.
6. Firemen. This year – due to the strikes – there won’t be any available. That means you are going to have to douse the flames flying up from your garden shed yourself. And the only way you can do this is by dressing up in protective clothing. Sadly, the only protective clothing you have are your wife’s gardening gloves, your leaky wellington boots, waterproofs that aren’t actually waterproof and a pith helmet. It might be dark out there, but you’re still going to look like an idiot. Oh, and the sprinkler attachment on the hose is stuck too.
7. Hedgehogs. It”s the nagging doubt that near-paralyses every right-thinking person hosting an event: What if there’s a hedgehog in the bonfire? What if I accidentally burn one to death? What if the children attending the bonfire see me light it only for a phalanx of flaming hedgehogs to scuttle out of it squealing, half a minute later? They’ll probably need several years of therapy and I’ll be forever known as Uncle Marc the Hedgehog Killer. Bonfires are a minefield. But with blazing hedgehogs instead of mines. Seriously, check for hedgehogs.