19/02/2011 12:30 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Strop Of The Week: No, Really, That Is Not My Child!

Strop Scene:

Supermarket again. Standing before a vast array of breakfast cereals waiting for Stropper to make a decision. Patience holding up as struggling to take in the enormity of all that muesli myself.

Strop Cause:

Another child reaching for a packet of psychedelic sugar balls, which surely belonged in the confectionery aisle. Meanwhile, its mother swooshed past, at speed, in a cloud of time-deprived, sleep-deprived, trolley-pushing stress.

Then, in an off-hand manner, with no regard for the potential consequences, she lit the match. "Not those!" she ordered and kept walking.
An old hack in the world of the strop, I predicted meltdown before it came.

Strop Symptoms:

And come it did. But not as I had anticipated. My Stropper and I stood, frozen in respectful awe as Stropper mark 2 demonstrated how it should be done. It began to systematically, and with disturbing composure remove box after box of cereal from the shelf and lob them with impressive strength into the aisle. As they began to pile up, I assumed the role of innocent but fascinated bystander.

Other shoppers, on the contrary, appeared to think I was the mother!

This was bad. Loath to miss out on the show, I was nevertheless opposed to shouldering the blame.

Dismay Factor Percentage:

Frankly, for me, chief suspect, the potential for shame was great. The real mother was suspiciously nowhere to be seen. Traitor.
Head high, I informed the gathering crowd that this Stropper was no relation of mine. "No really!" But as the words came out, I was aware of the hole I was digging.

Even to me it sounded like an excuse.

An unjust 60%