Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Detecting Rubbish

with 6 comments

I’ve had my head turned. I wrote a piece for a humorous magazine which requested submissions on the theme of ‘play’. I wrote about the crap metal detector I had as a child. They got back to me to say they “just didn’t find it funny enough” and ‘there aren’t any gags in it”. This is hilarious, not because it isn’t true, but because it’s so blunt. They also remarked that it “was too much like a piece of creative writing” so at least they thought it was creative.

The upshot is that I have a lot of spare words. So I’m giving them to you. My sentences are a non-renewable source and I’m well ecological and green and everything and therefore I’ve decided to recycle them.

Consider the following a unwanted piece of gristle and yourself the dog under the table:


Fun exists in its purest form as a child. As such pleasure-seeking is easier than at any other time in life. Like getting into a box and pretending it’s a Volvo. Searching for a ball in a dark room. Mud. In all its forms. The carefree joy of careering down a flight of stairs head first in a sleeping bag. Simple entertainment unimprovable by new-fangled toy technology. Such as my metal detector.

I can’t recall exactly what it was that fired my enthusiasm for detecting metal. It was long before the Time Team made digging up stuff cool. Perhaps it was that my house was in close proximity to a Roman road, and the promise of disinterring some ancient booty was too enticing to resist. And so I asked my parents for a metal detector for my birthday.

As soon as I unwrapped it I was suspicious. It was smaller than any contraption that I had seen on the television. There were no giant headphones included with it. I assumed that these were essential. It was also assembled with bright orange fittings, clunky appendages that seemed extraneous and made it resemble a Fisher Price object.

My doubts were confirmed upon using it for the first time. A fundamental flaw was revealed: it could only detect metal that you could see. I placed a two pence piece under the rug in the sitting room as a dress rehearsal for later treasure-hunting. Nothing. The carpet was obviously impenetrable to the detector’s powerful glare. This may have proved an impediment when looking for antique hoards buried under centuries of earth.

In its defence the detector was brilliant at finding doorknobs. If you were ever approaching a door and weren’t exactly sure where the doorknob was, then simply move the detector slowly around the frame of the door until a buzzing sound is emitted – and there, you’ve found the knob and are able to pass through the door.

In my desperation I headed to nearby Cambridge and to an antiquarian shop which specialized in peddling spurious historical items to the many tourists in the city. I bought some fake Roman coins. I went back to the Roman road and scattered the coins by the pathway. And then “detected” them. A hollow pleasure.

The metal detector was very quickly put aside. I didn’t even keep the box for my Volvo fantasies. The detector was shoved in a narrow cobwebby crack by the tumble-dryer, left to fester in an open grave. Maybe one day in the far-flung future the detector itself will be discovered by inquisitive archaeologists. Perhaps they will ponder what its use was. Definitely not metal-detecting.


Written by harrisharrison

July 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I feel in some way responsible. Sorry.


    July 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm

  2. You didn’t buy the metal detector.


    July 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  3. I was there in John Lewis. I didn’t stop her. I knew what was happening. Another false economy. She just admitted that she was blowed if she was going to spend her hard earned cash on yet another fad. Funny then that she later bought me a mini-disc player. The worst fad of all time.


    July 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  4. cheapskate parents,eh ?


    July 28, 2011 at 7:19 am

  5. Dad has unwittingly taken hackgate to a whole new level by hacking in to my account with the above comment. For the record yes, cheapskate parents.


    July 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm

  6. Can’t live if living is without you.


    July 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm

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