Friday, January 27, 2012

The Time I Got A Black Eye

I took about two days off, because I was pretty burnt out. I had nothing to talk about. Unfortunately, I still don't. It's still warm in January, and there's still nothing interesting going on.

I've decided I'm going to tell a story.

Which one? The infamous pork story? That might get me in a bit of hot water if the wrong people read it. Perhaps a college weekend story? Definitely not. Hockey story? I don't have anything good coming to mind right now.

I know.

In 1996, the summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia. Kurt Angle won the gold medal in wrestling with a broken neck, and the US won the medal count with 101. Russia came in second with 63.

Hell yeah!

In addition to this, Some lady named Estela Gimenez won the gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics or something like that for Spain. I don't know much about her, but I'm a big fan, based on this picture:


Anyways, every year in August, my Dad used to take me, my sister (Tommy wasn't born yet), and a bunch of other people to go see a car race in Ohio. We camped, the kids did whatever, and the adults drank a lot of beer. That's what people do at hillbilly events. It was always fun, though.

For two weeks prior to this, the 5-6 year old me had been mesmerized by the things going on at the Olympics, not the least of which was the gymnastics events. 

During the race, the final day of the trip (the first two days are all other races and qualifying for the big race), I was under the grandstands with all the other kids who didn't care at all about the cars speeding by. We were all throwing gravel at each other, smashing bottles, crushing cans, and climbing the bars under the seats.

Then the stupid side of me made its first appearance.

I believe that there's sort of a kickoff moment for each part of an individual. When you're born, you have no personality. You're simply an overly squishy bag of skin, bones, and organs, and are prone to breaking, which is one of many reasons I don't want a kid yet...I can barely keep a phone in one piece. Each different part of your personality, sense of humor, romantic side, whatever else, HAS to begin at one point. The first joke you tell, first girl you stalk....ok, maybe not that, but everything else HAS to have an origin. This is the origin of my stupidity.

I don't know why I did it.

Standing in the shade under the grandstands, I looked around me and saw all the bars. I had seen similar things just weeks the Olympics.

"Maybe I could be like them," I thought to my underdeveloped self. The idea of hard work and a lifetime of training hadn't kicked in yet. In fact, even after this, my first experience with a skateboard also ignored that some things you can't just be good at immediately.

I was going to do it.


In an ideal world, my plan would have worked like this: I would have taken a running start, jumped, and grabbed a low-hanging bar. I would then spin around this low bar, vaulting myself into the air, grab the next bar, then dismount with a flourish. Yes, the idea that "these people are on tv for a reason" hadn't occurred to me, but the idea of  physics and momentum had. 

It would be the perfect thing with which to impress all the kids whose names I don't even remember today, with the exception of three of them. I could even go up afterwards and tell my Dad about the feat I had just accomplished. 

Here's what happened in the all-too-real world, a place dominated by such things as crushing defeat and painful injury: I took a running start.

I saw the bar.

I jumped, and I reached for the bar. I had stars in my eyes! I was gonna do it! 


A second later, I still had stars in my eyes, but they were not stars in the sense that an aspiring actor or possibly-retarded 5-year old who was gonna do something sweet might have.

When I calculated the jump, I neglected one thing: the much closer, much lower bar right in front of me. My face smashed directly into it, causing a nosebleed and an instantly swollen eye. I got up and ran like I had never run before, to find my Dad. Imagine being pleasantly drunk, watching a relaxing car race (it's kind of therapeutic, when the noise of the engines fades away into silence. Very calming), and then having your screaming child come running up to you, covered in blood, in front of 300 other people. 

If you've ever seen a kid get hurt real, real bad, you know that they don't cry immediately. The hyperventilate a little bit while assessing damage, and then they FREAK THE FUCK OUT. This was one of those times. Sorry, adults whose afternoon was ruined by the traumatic experience of seeing me covered in blood and losing my mind. I imagine it was like this:

My dad, kinda drunk and kinda preoccupied with the event he had spent a lot of money on, responded in appropriate fashion: he handed me a Coors Lite and told me to put it on my eye, and we'd deal with it later. I'dve probably done the same thing. What can you really do, you know?

Later that night, I came home, and I'm sure my Mom had a "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED" moment. I put her through a lot in my life, I'm sure. 

At this point in my extremely short life, I was still going to day-care at Westminster church, and I'm quite certain that everyone had suspicions about where the injury came from. I'm putting it to rest: my parents were not mean to me in the slightest. I am simply an idiot, and I don't think things through before I do them. 

My words are bigger than I am. Philosophical thought, or bad art?

Hope you enjoyed story time. Feel free to share this, if my stupidity amuses you.