I was a rambunctious youth. I had an overactive imagination and an ample energy supply. The obvious result of this combination was regular injury. Somehow I managed never to break a bone, but I have had more than my share of concussions, stitches, cuts, scrapes and burns. You would think that so many injuries would be cause enough to spring for health insurance, but alas, I have none. Now cautious as hell, I stand before you as some sort of glass man waiting to break. This is my tale.
My first major injury occurred when I was about 4. My sister was playing with a neighbor and I was trying to tag along. They decided to go to their friend’s house across the street and I, of course, charged right after them. I remember pausing at the gutter line, thinking that there was something important I was supposed to do before crossing. Fortunately for me, a reminder in the form of a green Buick was on its way up the block. My brain said, “Fuck it man, just go!” (yes, it cussed) and I took a leap of faith headfirst into the aforementioned Buick. The driver, being a good citizen, slowed slightly and continued on his merry way, as he was late for a wedding.
Apparently cars are harder than the human head, and an impact between the two may result in a concussion. Had I known this before, I probably wouldn’t have found myself holed up in a hospital bed at Kaiser for overnight observation. By the following morning I had already eaten and thrown up my weight in green Jell-O, causing a forfeiture of my favorite blanket for “cleaning” (R.I.P. Kiki, and fuck you Kaiser, you dirty blanket thieves!). The trauma of the event should have taught me that hospitals were not fun places to be, but my body was just not ready to learn.
About a year later, I once again found myself at Kaiser. There was no concussion this time, just massive bleeding from my right arm. On this particular occasion my sister and I had a disagreement, and I was forced to sink her Barbie swimming pool into the frigid waters of our pool (It was a matter of principle!). Of course, she saw it differently and tried to correct me by hitting me on the head with a plastic dog bone. The chase was on; unfortunately, I was playing the part of Wile E. Coyote.
I was gaining on her as she neared the glass back door. I knew she would have to slow down to get the door open, so when I got close, I just let one fly. Somehow, my sister managed to get outside and close the door behind before I ever made contact. The entire force of my 65-pound body was behind that punch and the door reacted accordingly.
Broken glass was everywhere. My sister and I stood there and stared at my arm dangling through the newly punched hole in the glass. My other sister rushed to the noise and screamed, which scared the shit out of me enough to try to yank my arm back through the hole. Thankfully there was a lot of jagged glass to slow my overreaction. My patience was rewarded by an arm shower in the bathroom sink followed by being laid out on the kitchen table until mom got home from work. Kaiser was happy to see me again and welcomed me with open arms. For my trouble, I was given 25 stitches and a sweet arm sling. Still no blanket”¦
The slapstick didn’t stop there. Over the next two years I would crack my head open after pulling down a hanging speaker (two more stitches) and get hit in the face by a friend’s bike handle, splitting my eyebrow open. By the time of the bike accident, my parents were reluctant to take me to the hospital for fear that they would be charged with abuse (“Sure kid, you got hit by a bike”¦ can we get CPS in here?”). Instead, I ended up with some Tylenol and a butterfly Band-aid. Like all the others, that wound eventually healed, but I still have the scar to prove it.