My Mother as a shoplifter, and other tortures

My Mother has been a shoplifter twice in her life. She was unsuccessful on both occasions. The first, which took place when she was 7 years old, was foiled by her Mother, who noticed the family-sized Toblerone she had popped down the front of her t-shirt and asked her to return it to the shelf.

The second, which took place when she was a fully-formed adult, was prevented by an embarrassed shop assistant, who hesitantly asked my frazzled Mother if she planned on paying for the hundreds-of-pounds-worth of childrens’ clothes she was holding as she walked out of the shop. ‘You have no idea how tired new parents are,’ She told me crossly, as I laughed at her short-lived life of crime. ‘Being sleep-deprived is genuinely torturous.’ I have been thinking about torture this week, because it was one of the (highly suitable and totally appropriate) subjects I was discussing with the 6 year old child I tutor.

We were reading a book. A children’s book, about a dog which can run at 100-miles an hour.

‘Walking Streaker is the most torturous thing you can imagine,’ Our 10 year old narrator told us. Well, my tutee and I were hardly going to let such sweeping statements pass un-challenged, were we? We stopped reading instantly, and (retreating to different sides of the room, to discourage cheating) began to compile our own lists of things we thought of as torturous.

5 minutes later, we re-convened. (There was a brief coming together at the 2 minute mark, to explain the spelling of ‘because’, but I kept my list carefully hidden).

Here are the 5 most torturous things:

1. It is torture to get up early and have no-one to play with.

2. It is torture to finish all your supper and not have any pudding.

3. It is torture to tell a joke and forget the punchline.

4. It is torture to have someone not include you in their game.

5. It is torture to be told off for something that wasn’t your fault.

I’ll tell you the 6 year old’s list tomorrow.

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