STUART TAYLOR COLUMN: It's amazing what you learn from Google but I still don't like Guy Fawkes night
I CAN safely say I won't be purchasing a Guy Fawkes fancy dress mask, even if it is for a bargain price of £1.99 — I dread November 5 every year.
Is it because I'm emotionally scarred by the memory of my cousin and sister dressing me up as a guy, in what was an ingenious idea to help us earn more than just a few pennies?
No, not really, even if I didn't see any of the £7.88 they made.
The reason I dread Guy Fawkes night is because I jump out of my skin every time a firework goes off.
Anybody who knows me well, knows that it takes a lot less than a firework to set me off (see what I did there?).
For someone who struggles to physically jump in the conventional way, I more that make up for it when I hear a loud noise. Well . . . when I say hear a loud noise, it could be any noise from a phone ringing, dog barking, a knock at the door or, on occasions, people just calling my name.
It's true what they say that every day is a school day and it's only in the last hour have I realised the reason I jump sky high is connected to me having Cerebral Palsy.
After extensive research (a quick question into Goggle) I discover that it's common for people with CP to have what is termed a startle reaction or reflex. Finally, after nearly 37 years, I find out a valid reason, other than being a nervous wreck, for me endlessly tipping cups of coffee every time the dog barks or someone knocks my door.
The number of times I have answered the door with my jeans soaking wet due to a loud knock, not a good look for a single bloke, or any bloke actually.
Over the years my jumping has been a great source of amusement to my friends, family and of course myself because let's be honest the sight of someone jumping a mile high is funny, not so funny when you have hot coffee running down your jeans.
Will my (startle reaction) revelation stop my nieces from knocking the window loudly every time they visit? I very much doubt it, it is comedy gold after all.
As my friend and work colleague always says to me: "Bloody good job you're not a bomb disposal expert."
Let's just say I know my limitations.