Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Table Incident

AKA That Time I Bled All Over My Sister

In 1988, my family moved into a duplex on Gillespie Street. It was a little closer to the main part of Pine Bush than our old house in Lake Estates. The streets were often empty and therefore open to us kids. Our living room, however, was an obstacle course of death and destruction.

Everything my parents owned was made of wood and sharp corners. Our old country style couch had a solid wood frame with sturdy blue velour cushions. It was flanked on either side by heavy, solid wood, sharp cornered end tables that Dad had built. On top of them rested two tall table lamps. More wood, more corners, more sharpness. In the middle of the room sat the coffee table: another of Dad’s sharp, solid wood monsters, created as a companion to the the end tables.

One morbidly hot and humid Saturday morning in 1989, Mom was at work at Epco, building transformers (not the robots in disguise). Dad was in the backyard, mowing the lawn. My brother, Harry, was playing Legend of Zelda in the living room, and my sister, Sandi, was in the kitchen, talking on the phone with her boyfriend. I, however, was running around the house in my Superman Underoos, gassed up on Froot Loops, Fruit Roll-ups and episodes of The Real Ghostbusters, Gummi Bears, and Captain N: The Game Master.

At some point in my sugar-infused state of mind, I decided that my Underoos were symbolic of my own character. I was Superman. As such, I was nigh unto indestructible. I could fly. With my newly discovered powers needing demonstration, I wrapped my blue baby blanket around me like a cape, ran to the living room, and hopped up onto the velour couch cushions. I turned and I jumped, soaring through the air with grace of a superhero… right up until the moment I smashed my right eyebrow into a corner of the coffee table. Blood sprayed. I screamed. My sister hung up the phone to tend to me. She picked me up off the floor and held me and I screamed and bled all over her shirt. She ran outside and called for Dad who promptly came inside, looked over my bloody visage, and brusquely told Sandi to call Mom at work.

It took fifteen minutes and two phone calls to finally get a message to Mom at work. None of her coworkers bothered to deliver the message the first time. She was less than pleased at the fact that no one would take me to a doctor which forced her to come home from work early. When she finally arrived, Mom and Dad packed me up into the car. Dad drove and Mom sat in back seat with me. She kept me from bleeding all over the car, kept me calm and held a cloth wrapped ice pack to my wound. Mom explained on the way that I had to be good and keep calm so that they wouldn’t try to strap me down (which happened to me once).

At the hospital, the doctors wanted Mom to wait outside while they stitched me up. She didn’t think it was a good idea… after all, she knew me. She also knew that two years prior I had broken out of a Papoose as a writhing, screaming, bloody mess. She assured the doctors I was going to behave. While I got my nine stitches, mom talked to me about my playing Superman and why that may not have been my smartest idea. When the doctors had finished, they offered Mom a job handling other children in the hospital. She refused outright.

Over the course of the next ten days, I had this set of nine stitches in my head. Much to Mom’s chagrin, I managed to pull two stitches out by myself. Dad told her to just pop the remaining seven out herself, but Mom thought that would be unsanitary and just incredibly gross. Instead, we returned to the hospital and the remaining stitches came out with no further incident.

I, however, learned absolutely nothing. Three weeks later, in true super-heroic fashion, I went right back to attempting to fly. Our back porch had no stairs leading into the back yard; yet I was in dire need of getting back there. The porch hovered roughly fifteen feet off the ground and a multitude of slats caged me in, but that meant nothing for me. I scurried up the railing as quickly my small frame could; perched high on the railing, I prepared for my next dive… and then Mom caught me, dragged me inside and paddled my behind for my utilizing my imagination to the fullest.

And that’s just one story of how I busted my head open.