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I grew up believing I was my parent’s favorite child. I always got to do things my siblings didn’t. I had numerous special outings to the hospitals and doctors’ offices. My siblings on the other hand only had one or two hospital trips each.
At five years old, I fell off the doghouse onto a glass plate and received a spectacular set of stitches on my posterior. This was very painful. Imagine having such a nice injury and never being able to show anyone. The following year I joined a football team and the next week was hospitalized with rheumatic fever. I have been suspicious of football ever since. Following a year or so of treatment, I was pronounced healthy with the exception of some scar tissue on my heart. Again, a nice scar and no way to show it.
My childhood was punctuated by injuries, broken bones and stitches’ however, until I was 20 I never acquired a scar that was visible without violating indecent exposure laws. The rumor that I acquired all of these scars while violating those same laws is simply not true. Possibly a few of them, but not all. I will also admit that until I was 30 I seldom passed a body of water without dipping my skinny body in it, winter, summer, spring or fall, I loved getting wet.
It was early spring and six of us were having a small party on Hard Times Road in Farmville. I will admit that alcohol was a factor in the injury but not like you suspect. I was what is now called a designated driver. I had already learned that the only thing I could do better with alcohol than without was to make an ass of myself. I don’t need help with that, thank you. The party was getting dull. In any case, I decided to run down to the creek and go swimming. This announcement aroused the interest of the partiers who thought freezing temperatures were a detriment to swimming and decided to come with me and watch.
We arrived at Buffalo Creek where I switched to my swimming attire (which I have had since birth) and dove from the bridge.
There is an old adage, “look before you leap,” but I never paid much attention to that because it is canceled out by “he who hesitates is lost;” besides, I wasn’t leaping, I was diving. I had dived, dove or diven, whichever is the correct word, in the exact same spot numerous times. This time, there was sabotage involved. Someone had dumped a load of cinder blocks into the creek from the bridge. Fortunately, I hit the blocks with my head or I might have been seriously injured. I emerged from the creek, with a gash on my forehead. The remainder of my face, torso and legs just skimmed the blocks, which gently removed the skin from my nose to my knees and everything in between.
My friends decided emergency treatment was necessary. They poured rubbing alcohol and Crème de Menthe on a towel and liberally swabbed my raw flesh. They then decided to take me to the hospital ”au natural” to better display the injuries to the doctor. I declined. After cleverly collecting everyone’s car keys, I visited the ER, had my forehead stitched, and was laughed at by the nurses. To add insult to injury, I was accused of applying the Crème de Menthe internally. A nice police officer arrived and requested that I blow up a balloon. He then wanted a blood sample. I offered him my shirt, which should have been sufficient but he insisted on taking one with a needle.
The following morning, I had a worse headache than the rest of the party, which I still consider one of the greatest inequities in my life. Furthermore, although self-inflicted pain usually deserves no sympathy, this was also accidental. I deserved sympathy.