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Around The Sun: Dangerous Games

Steve Harrison tells a tale that may make you wince.

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The human mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire which has to be kindled School Motto.

They say you store everything that happens to you in your memory. We remember everything and everybody. The problem is we forget where we stored each single memory. Sometimes we need a small catalyst to reawaken a scene from the past. The other day I was watching a vampie movie and suddenly found myself chuckling...

...I was six or seven years old. The kid who lived next door was called David Elsey. We were friends simply because we shared a garden fence. We went through the marbles stage then took up darts and knife throwing. We practised throwing knives in my front yard. I was on the point of saying on our garden lawn, but that would be misleading. Yes, there was grass, but you could hardly call it a lawn.

We played a game called Stretch. The idea was to throw a knife or a dart, so that it stuck into the ground. The other person then had to stretch out one foot to the place where dart/knife had landed. The idea was to throw the dart or knife so that it was within reach, yet far enough away to cause one's opponent to topple over while trying to reach it.

David Elsey and I were competitive, and reasonably well matched. One day we were playing the game using one of my father's darts. I really was at full stretch. My leg muscles were screaming. David was in a similiar predicament, and it was his turn to throw.

He threw the dart. I looked down towards my feet, seeing how far I would have to reach, but I couldn't see the dart.

David was also looking for it. There was a puzzled expression on his face, but suddenly this turned to disbelief, then horror.

"I think you should go and see your dad,'' he said.

"What do you mean?'' I asked.

He put his hands up to his face. I automatically copied his actions.

That was when I found the dart. It was firmly embedded in my lower jaw.

Yes, I did want to see my dad! Amazingly he managed to loosen the dart and remove it.

I was none the worse for the experience. I was lucky that the dart had missed my neck and jugular vein. I don't know why I didn't feel it when it hit me.

After that I was no longer very friendly with David. I suppose the message of this story is that one should beware of kids who stretch themselves further than they should, particularly when darts are involved.

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