The Early Years: Jim Has Stitches

So in last week’s post, “Safe/Scary“, I dredged up an ancient kind of creepy-looking sort-of Venn diagram from elementary school from the pile of old papers my folks sent me years ago. This assignment was to list things that were “safe” on one side and “scary” on the other. One of my “scary” items was “Going to get stitches”. This prompted an email from my folks with a photo of my first “Going to get stitches” episode, in which I tripped and fell on my face on the sidewalk at my grandparents’ house:

Better get used to this, kid.

Fortunately for me, my aunt was right there to collect me after the incident. I’m not sure how fortunate this was for her, because you know how head wounds bleed. (In case you don’t: They bleed a lot. I’m assuming that shirt was plain white before I took a header on the sidewalk.)

I don’t know when that “Safe/Scary” paper is from, so I can’t say how many times I had actually gone for stitches at the time of its writing; but for those who are keeping count, here’s a recap:

  • The aforementioned “face-plant on the sidewalk and I wasn’t even drunk” incident.
  • That time I slammed the side of my head into an expose screw on a jungle gym, probably while doing something I shouldn’t have been, like hanging upside down by my knees from the hand rings or something.
  • That time my brother and I were going to race around the house and the go signal was my brother throwing a rock up into the air. We were supposed to start running when the rock landed on the ground. Unfortunately it landed on my head. (You may have detected a pattern of where these injuries mostly occured.)
  • That time we were playing in a drainage ditch near our house and I found a broken glass bottle. With my hand. I still have a lovely Y-shaped scar at the base of my left thumb from that one.
  • That time I got hit in the face with a tennis racket, when I didn’t get stitches, but maybe should have. I don’t even remember what we were doing. I think we were swatting maple tree helicopters out in the yard.

And that’s not even including the things I did as an adult, e.g., that time the electric hedge trimmers slipped, or that time I stepped into the yard barefoot not long after demolishing a small outbuilding and impale my foot on a piece of wood almost the size of a doorstop.

And this is why my tetanus vaccine is always up to date.

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