Calm in a crisis; elementary burglary for dunderheads …

One of the strange things people tell me often is that I am calm in a crisis. Positively the ice woman, apparently, in my capacity for quick thinking action.

Want to know a secret about that?

It’s bollocks.

Well not wholly bollocks but mostly. Amazingly, I am actually extremely cool-headed in a crisis, I can make calm decisions in the heat of the action and the blink of an eye. They are not always the best decisions, but they are decisions that are, usually, a great step on from the nothing at all that others are doing. Sometimes, my decisions even precipitate a solution of sorts. Let’s make it clear, we are not talking about the kind of person who is likely to confront an armed robber, but if someone else is in trouble, I’m usually reasonably handy for doing the thinking, or taking action, if they can’t. But that isn’t because I’m the kind of clear-thinking, lion-hearted, V.C. winning material that the phrase, ‘cool headed in a crisis’ conjures up.


It’s because I’m a complete and utter twat.

Allow me to demonstrate.

Yesterday is an excellent example of why monumental twattery makes for good crisis management.

It’s three o’clock; time to walk up to the school to collect McMini. I grab the keys as I leave the house but when I shut the door and the yale lock clicks I can’t find the keys to do the chubb. I know what’s happened, I’ve grabbed them, and as I put them and the bag of post school snacks for McMini in my pocket, I’ve missed and dropped them. I look inside but can see no keys lying on the floor.

Aaaaaargh! No keys! What shall I do? Dan-dan-daaaaaargh! Thinks Mary … NOT.

It’s three o’clock and while I can break in and search for my keys it will take time. McMini is to be collected at three fifteen and if I’m late, he thinks I’m dead and gets worried. I will have to go. I mean, the door is locked.

‘Yeh laters,’ I think, since, in theory, I don’t need to try and get into the house for another forty minutes. The locked-in keys are not an immediate problem.

Except they are.

Having put the absence of keys aside to deal with later, the next, more immediate, thorny issue pops up; how to make the gate look locked, yet leave it secretly unlocked, so McMini and I can get in, but no-one else will try to.

Casting around I see the large chunk of a fallen tree trunk which we are using to edge a flowerbed. Thanking the good Lord for the gym, I heave it down the path and lean it against the back gate. Carefully, mind, I don’t want it to get jammed against the wooden reinforcing planks across the middle and jam it closed. That done to my satisfaction, I slip carefully through the gate so it continues to lean on the right place and head for the school.

When we return, the gate is still closed, yet we are able to open it because the wedge has worked correctly. Excellent. I shut the gate, flip the latch down so it locks and put the tree trunk back where it was. Now to open the yale lock.

Taking off my anorak I spread it on the doorstep because it’s damp and I don’t want to be soaked as well as irritated. Then I rummage about in the potting shed and select a long bamboo cane. I tie some wire round one end in a D-shaped loop, lie on the anorak and feed the pole, and my arm, through the cat flap. McMini holds the door handle down while I loop the D round the catch for the yale lock on the inside of the door. That done, I check he is still holding the handle as I require and pull the stick downwards, so it pushes against the straight side of the lock handle and turns it. You need the wire because the weight of the bamboo pole and the force of me are not strong enough on their own. The door opens and we are in. My keys are still on the peg, so basically, it seems I just bashed them with my hand in the way past. Yes, I created a crisis because I reached for my keys and actually, genuinely forgot to grip.

Give me strength.

Never mind. All is well. Total time to break in about thirty seconds; or roughly five minutes from the start of our search for a suitable stick.

How come I can break into my own house so fast?


Practise? How do I get to practise?

Weeeeelllll. Being such a total fucktard, I manage to lock myself out of my house several times a month. See how it is that an event which would be a disaster for anyone normal is rendered routine and mundane by my awesome twattery. Yeh! Go me. Lock-out is a blip, a minor inconvenience to Mrs Shit-for-brains and son. Notice, too, how this crisis is of my own making.

So there you have it. I suspect, there are two vital components to managing a sudden crisis; the first is to be able to act at once, without being British about it and pausing to wonder if you ought to interfere. If you’re a prize pillock then clearly, you will have got over any feelings of self consciousness – or at least buried them – by din’t of the fact that you cannot afford to countenance what others think of you or you would never leave the house.

The second component of successful crisis management, I suspect, is to be able to suspend your disbelief. What I mean is that you just need to find a way of not noticing how gargantuan the pile of shit you are in actually is, but just approach it as a problem to be solved. In short, it’s down to conditioning. And if you’re the kind of spanner who regularly locks yourself out of the house, strands yourself in the middle of nowhere with a flat battery and jump leads that don’t work, misses planes, boats, hovercrafts and trains, loses your passport, takes a plane a day early etc, then you probably tackle a crisis of some sorts most days to the point where, for you, even a major crisis feels like a normal part of your day.

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs, and blaming it on you,
You are, most like, a porridge-brained idiot
Who can’t remember their own name or find their own arse,
In the dark, with both hands. But when shit goes down, you stand up.

I’m really sorry Mr K.

If you want a calm head in a crisis you need practise, and being an utter tool in your day-to-day life will give you that practise. Yes, in every disorganised bollock-head lives the ice woman or man. Probably.

If you are despair of ever bing a big enough twat to crisis manage successfully never fear, why not pep yourself up with an uplifting, noblebright, humorous, science fiction fantasy box set for 40% off.

Yes, there are still a couple of days to get the K’Barthan Series Box Set at a drastically reduced price on Kobo.

To find out more – just click here.

On the other hand, if you are already becoming adept at creating small crises for yourself, failing to procure a calendar for 2018 for example, you can always grab an eyebombing calendar from my recently re-vamped and re-tidied Zazzle shop here.

Postcards of my best eyebombs are available there, too, along with K’Barthan bling and some other stuff.

Last of all a glimpse at my new marketing technique: I’ve decided to try threatening people*. So here we are. Buy my stuff or Lord Vernon will visit you.

Buy my stuff! Or I’ll send him round.

* That’s a joke, obviously. It’s a bit crap though, really, isn’t it? oh well, never mind.


Filed under Blimey!, General Wittering

14 responses to “Calm in a crisis; elementary burglary for dunderheads …

  1. Yeah – Be Prepared to be a total idiot, and anyone can look calm in a crisis!
    Good for you.
    My Yale lock won’t work like that though. I’m one of the millions who keeps a key secreted somewhere around the outside of the house….
    …ever since I dashed out of the house in my dressing gown to catch the bin men with this week’s overflowing sacks I’d forgot to put out. And heard the snick behind me.
    Oh, how the binmen laughed….

    • Mwahwhahahargh! Brilliant! That’s comedy gold right there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for sharing, glad I’m not the only one!

      On 27 January 2018 at 12:47, M T McGuire Authorholic wrote:


  2. I used to think that checking my pockets obsessively (ie, more than once) to make sure my keys – car and house – are there when I leave the house or get out of the car was an indication of an unsound mind that can’t remember what it just did, you have made me feel superior.

    And given me a great laugh to start the day. I’m laughing WITH you, of course, not at. I will tell your story to my daughter, whose college roommate (now her landlady) loses keys and wallet on a regular basis, that it is probably genetic when C does it, as it must be in your case. Genetic, and something nurture can’t change, because I’m sure you’ve tried.

    Oh, and I take BOTH sets of car keys with me, one in each pocket, in case I’m dumb enough to close the car door with the first set still inside. I would be mortified if I had to call someone to unlock the car when I could have taken care of it myself. Also, sometimes the locksmith people don’t come right away, and I would be physically in bad shape by the time they showed up.

    Can’t do it (lock keys inside) with the house. Has to be locked from the outside with the key. And the automatic garage door opener is our secret way into the house.

    • Yep, as I try to explain to McOther in his moments of exasperation, there is NO way I would be like this if I could be any other way because spending a third of your waking day looking for things is a monumental pain in the arse! I think I will have to leave keys with a neighbour, or under a rock in the garden or something.

  3. Diana

    Thank you for sharing this story. I am encouraged.

  4. Because we live a life with autism and escapism, I walk with my keys on a lanyard round my neck at all times. I still have managed to lock myself both IN and OUT of my house. I once, also, left for Chicago and got a text message from my mother-in-law who’d managed to lock herself and my autistic son into his bedroom. (We live 3 hours away from Chicago.) The ‘crisis management’ that time involved recognizing how useless panic was at that distance and time of night. I could not manage anything miraculous to rescue them beyond calling and waking my mother who promised to get there the next morning to let them both out. Fortunately, there was a plastic pumpkin in the bedroom for emergency, late night tinkles which later turned into a problem with my son deciding that was a perfectly acceptable alternative to toilets, but that is an entirely separate issue unrelated to crisis management. I do wish I were better at lock-breaking, so I salute your creativity and endurance of perpetual self-imposed crises.

    • Holy smokes! The Chicago incident sounds fraught. What I love about this post is how many of you there are who struggle with all this shite as much as I do.

      Fist bump to all us chaotic people, those who have fessed up bigger disasters and those Who are drawing there’s someone worse than me comfort from my tale of woe! ๐Ÿ™‚



  5. Did you really just teach everyone how to break into your house, MT? My goodness girl – that takes balls. I was a gifted lock-picker in my youth because I kept losing keys, but darned if I could do it now.
    By the way, I visited your zazzle page. You are amazing, girlfriend. Talent galore.

  6. So you’re MacGyver, how is that not very impressive again? (I know, clumsiness/ forgetfulness, which I totally relate to, but my only survival skill is whining and losing my sh*t when things like that go wrong!). Uh Lord Vernon is kinda cute, if I wasn’t married, etc. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Many readers like Lord Vernon – even when they haven’t seen the picture. The lovely lady who used to edit my books liked him best a fact which led to a fair few smutty jokes between us. He is definitely one of my favourites too.

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