I felt smug reading the weird ways people got hurt – until I remembered the explosion at our Christmas dinner | Zoe williams

The start of January is not a good time for lifestyle statistics. It’s all resolutions and intentions, all inputs, no outputs. But now is the perfect time, thanks to NHS Digital and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, to find out who landed at A&E in the pandemic’s first year.

I look at these lists, enthralling with schadenfreude. More than 7,000 people in England were bitten or hit by a dog in 2020-2021; my dog ​​is mental, but at least he would never bite me and as far as I know cannot use a weapon. Over 2,000 people spilled something hot on themselves, which I haven’t done in years. Almost 1,000 people ended up in hospital after trying to climb a tree (“Accidents are preventable,” RoSPA says, and of course he would say that, right, but nothing’s wrong. has never seemed to be as completely preventable as falling from a tree). Power tools, hammers and saws, keeping rats and scorpions and poisonous spiders – I think of all those ways I stayed out of the hospital, not doing things I didn’t want to do anyway , and I feel both completely blessed and exceptionally civic-minded.

We had a domestic accident, at the signature Christmas dinner, when the table was set for 15, which meant 15 crackers, and – you won’t believe it, but it’s true – 30 glasses, and all the rest. . Mr. Z decided he wanted beer instead of a regular Christmas drink, but none of the perfectly usable beer bottles would do. Instead, he tried this mini keg we’ve had under a table lamp since July, and it blew up. Most of the beer, he claims, ended up in his pants, but that doesn’t explain how we came to clean the ceiling, or that each glass contained a tablespoon of beer, as if I had set the table for tiny Vikings. , or how the crackers lost their bang, or why the room still smells like pub a week later, which I actually don’t mind. All I could think of was, oh my god, it could have been a lot worse. In many ways, we could have ended up with an A&E statistic. It would have been such an outlier event that we certainly would have been part of the newsletters – something to make someone else feel smug.


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