It was the summer before my freshman year in high school. I had made the cheerleading squad and was mastering the fine art of the herkie. If by “mastering” you mean “looking as if I suffer from grand mal seizures” while I tried in vain to bend my leg in just the right way. But we’re not talking about my short lived cheerleading career.
We’re talking about how I used to be pretty accident prone. If I could trip over it, I would. Bump into it? Done. I have scars that have stories. Not just “I fell off my bike,” but “I fell off my bike after my dad convinced me that it would be a great idea if we BOTH rode it home from the park at the same time because he didn’t want to walk and then we wiped out and I was so mad that I made him carry me up the hill to our house while wheeling my bike.” Not just “I fell on a rock” but “I fell on a rock when I was running at top speed across the playground to catch my friend who secretly sold candy at our elementary school and that’s a fact I’m leaving out of the story I’m telling my mom about how this happened because she frowns on candy.” And not just “I skinned my knee – again,” but “I was doing a perfect approach on the diving board in front of the hottest lifeguard ever and when I came down for the spring off the board, my knees buckled and I fell ever so gracefully into the pool where I wanted to stay underwater forever or at least until his shift was over.” Those are the kinds of scars I have.
Anyway, I have now reached the point of this post, which is a story about the aforementioned summer and my proclivity for injury. I had a parakeet at the time, and when cleaning the cage, I used to blow the empty seed shells out of the cup and into the trash can. On this particular night, I got one in my eye, which had happened before, so I just rubbed it and then I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, my eye kind of hurt, and I was looking in the mirror trying to see what the problem was. The light hit me just right, and I could see a little birdseed shell embedded in my right eyeball – just on the edge of where the white meets the color. I told my parents, but downplayed it, because I was supposed to be leaving that morning to go to Vail with Beth and her family and I wasn’t about to miss that. So off I went with my painful eye.
The whole point of Beth and I's vacation was to be in the pool. All the time. Hey, I thought, maybe the water will wash the birdseed out of my eye.
Or perhaps the impact of my face hitting the bottom of the pool might jar it out of there. This was the time when I became a proponent of not diving into shallow pools – it’s just not a good idea. So yeah, I dove into the water and I hit my face on the bottom of the pool – one of those pools that had the rough concrete bottom. I came up, and my face is covered with blood. I had a fist sized bruise on my forehead, and I had managed to skin the bridge of my nose, right above my lip and my chin. I looked so pretty. Beth’s mom was loathe to return me to my parents looking like I had been severely beaten with an unusually rough brick, but I assured her that their reaction would probably be to roll their eyes and apologize to her for having to deal with the results of my hyper “leap before you look” life philosophy.
So I get home, and I have to go straight to the doctor because remember? The birdseed was still there. My doctor put this little piece of paper in my eye that apparently numbs it, and then he said “hold on while I go get my really big needle.” Pediatrician humor, apparently. So as I am no fan of needles, I started to get all teary, until I realized that tears might wash away the numbing stuff. So I watched him dig the seed shell out of my eye (a very weird experience) and he says “Well, it’s a good thing it didn’t go a fraction of an inch into the color, otherwise you’d probably be blind.” Wow, his bedside manner is FABULOUS. He then gave me an eye patch and sent me on my way. Arrrrr.
I didn’t have to wear the eye patch for very long, however I did have to go to freshman orientation looking, well, like I looked. Orientation that included getting our school i.d. and yearbook pictures taken. I don’t think I have to tell you who got retakes that year.
Anyway, I think I’m still a little bit accident prone, but thankfully not as much, especially since I live alone. I’m dreading the day my mom finds me lying on the floor, when, because I was too lazy to get out the ladder, I jumped up to grab the curtain rod over the couch, came down, misstepped, and landed in the fireplace. Not that that happened. It’s one of those things that COULD happen though. But it hasn't. Really.