My Frog has magic fingers. No no no, I'm not about to let you into any marital secrets, it's OK. But he does have a preternatural ability to fix mechanical and electrical items simply by... and there's barely any other way to put this other than by describing it as... er... a laying on of hands.
It goes like this. You have a broken toaster (I am telling a true story here, I'm just making you the protagonist rather than my Mum for bogus literary effect).
You have for some reason allowed the Sparx family access to your house and, while the Spud turns your livingroom into an ersatz train shed, you stand in the kitchen with the Frog and I making conversation, during the course of which you bizarrely admit to a broken toaster. The Frog shifts uneasily.
Telling the Frog that something is broken is probably the most annoying thing you could do to him. More annoying then not taking out the recycling when it's your turn (you're the hero of this story remember. Not me, nuh uh). More annoying than leaving your shoes in the hallway. More annoying even than reading in bed after lights out.
As the conversation continues (we're back in your kitchen now, keep up), the Frog starts darting glances towards your toaster and gets all fidgety. Eventually we decide to move into the livingroom. We sit down, then realise someone is missing. Back in the kitchen, the frog is casually playing with the buttons on your toaster. 'Oh don't worry about that' you'll say. 'That side hasn't worked for over a year. We've had it apart and everything, we think there's a broken wire'.
At this point I like to put him out of his misery and just ask you if you'd like him to fix it for you. Visibly relieved, he'll pick it up and fiddle with it seemingly aimlessly, possibly opening it up and peering inside, while we all top up our drinks. A few minutes later he will hand it back to you, working perfectly.
You will be amazed. 'What did you do?' you'll ask. His reply is the same every time. 'I don't know.' A gallic shrug. 'The usual'. This is when you will hand him your blender, an old watch and your son's gameboy, all of which he will turn over in his hands a few times, press a few buttons, possibly peer inside and hand back to you in perfect working order.
I'm used to this now. It's ceased to annoy me that he is better than I am at fixing things. In fact, if something breaks I take a great deal of perverse pleasure in dropping it into the conversation and watching him lurch about like I've put a pea in his shoe until he slopes off to take a look.
So, imagine my glee when, the other day, I found him kneeling by the not-inconsiderable stack of aging electronics in our livingroom, unable to get the Wii to display on the screen. He had pressed all the buttons. He had fiddled with all the connections. He had switched things on and off and on again. He looked frustrated.
Don't get me wrong. Initially I was gutted and mentally adding the cost of a new TV into our exigent budget; when the frog says something is broken, you've pretty much got to call the appliance undertakers.
No, my glee came when the spud walked over and said 'Daddy you haven't pushed the button' and, ignoring the Frog's fatherly splutterings, protestations and highly-continental rolling of eyes and blowing out of lips, he squeezed past, laid his hands on the junction box, did some fiddling and... miraculously, everything started working.
'Now you know how I feel' I told my stunned Frog.
Magic fingers. There's clearly a gene for that.