When I first met Quizro we spent a great deal of time talking, and I told many stories of my past. Some of my stories are amusing, many seem to have no discernible conclusion, and most seem to involve me getting drunk, injuring myself, or a combination of the two. After several meetings and many stories, Quizro later remarked that my high rate of injury reminded him of Mick Foley, a legendary wrestler who while seemingly very prone to injury was not terribly susceptible to either permanent disability or death.

I had never really considered my past to be filled with an excessive amount of injury and as the blind man who wears no pants, simply assumed that everyone was as prone to injury as myself. Furthermore, it had never really occurred to me that many of the accidents I had been involved in should have proven fatal, where they clearly had not. After seeing the film Unbreakable I was understandably led to believe that I might be in possession of some heretofore unknown super power. My delusional state was swift though and I recanted, at least publicly, the idea that I may be some sort of super-hardened immortal. The fact that I had started to gain weight, lose hair, and feel creaks in my joints only lent credence to the rational idea that I was perfectly normal if not unusually lucky. There was also that whole medical discharge from the Army, but for some reason I had never considered that as sufficient evidence to counteract my claims, after all, what does the Army know about immortal supermen?

Recently, as an exercise in memory, I began cataloging my injuries of the past. I was a little surprised at the length the list grew to, and in conferring with a few friends discovered that it was a bit lengthy for someone who was not an extreme sports enthusiast, shark photographer, or three time world champion down hill freestyle leg breaker. I attempted to keep the list shorter by omitting incidents of minor injury like blisters from dragging my ass across the carpet and stubbed toes, what follows is a list of the most dramatic and story worthy of those injuries that made the cut based solely upon my recollection of the incident and a completely arbitrary selection process.

Summer 1972

I was forcefully ejected from my mother's womb. To my dismay it was very cold and I was immediately set upon by white robed torturers.

Lasting psychological scars but very little permanent physical damage.

Winter 1975

While at the day care center I was run over by a (relatively) large wooden pedal truck, piloted by a chum. The impact resulted in a broken collar bone and I had to wear one of those stinky braces for several months.

No lasting permanent damage.

Winter 1976

While attempting to enter my abode in Keflavik Iceland, I slipped on a thick sheet of ice that coated the very small and hard government issue porch. I busted out a tooth and split my lip severely on the ice armored concrete.

No lasting permanent damage.

Spring 1978

While engaged in a rock fight with my babysitter, I ducked when I should have sidestepped and caught a sharp junk of igneous a fraction of an inch from my left eye along the bottom of the eye brow with enough force to expose muscle and require many stitches.

Permanent scar above eye. Never saw babysitter again.

Summer 1980

While visiting friends in Astoria, Oregon for the summer a group of us found an abandoned truck trailer. The contraption was balanced on its one axle and about six of us would collect at one end and then run to the other as the weight shift caused the trailer to see-saw. I was not giving the game the attention it deserved and tripped, sliding to my friends at the new bottom of the trailer across the weather beaten, wooden bed of the truck on my left knee. My appendage painted a red streak across the trailer and most of the skin was removed from the patella.

Permanent scar on knee that has no remaining nerve endings.

Summer 1980

Not more than a week later, while running around the same friends house I missed my step on a concrete platform and caught the sharp edge of the step with my left shin. The wound did not bleed for some time and the shin bone was visible, eliciting awed remarks from my friends and shrieks from my mother.

Permanent scar on left shin that has faded considerably.

Winter 1981

As a child in Alaska we wore Moon Boots. They were large and clunky thermally insulated boots designed to protect little feet from the dangers of frost bite and were the juvenile equivalent of mukluks. They seemed impenetrable and in fact were not. While playing in the carcass of a building that was being demolished I stomped on a board with a lengthy nail in it. The nail passed through the boot and my foot, and then the boot again. I didn't scream till they gave me the tetanus shot.

No lasting permanent damage.

Spring 1983 While playing with legos in the basement of a neighbor friend I rammed a one inch furniture tack all the way into my right knee cap. I had been crawling around on the floor and felt something sharp, but assumed that I had simply crawled over a lego brick. I did not notice the injury until it pointed out to me. We removed the offending object with pliers and told no one. I did not want another tetanus shot.

No lasting permanent damage.

Winter 1980

While staying with friends in their unfinished house a game of tag led me to pierce my foot again with a carelessly discarded nail. It did not penetrate all the way, but did bleed profusely and hurt like the dickens. I was scolded for running in the house.

No lasting permanent damage.

Spring 1982

Attempting to amuse myself on the walk home from school, I picked up a largish piece of split lumber and was swinging it like a sword. When I became bored with the game I hurled the stick into a large snow melt puddle. As I hurled the stick a large splinter penetrated my glove and inserted itself in my hand. The splinter entered the inside of my middle finger between the second knuckle and my palm and travelled towards the finger tip. It was lodged too deep to remove and was well underneath the skin. I opted to tell no one and not to remove it. For several years I could feel and move my subcutaneous splinter to the awe of playmates. It eventually broke down.

No lasting permanent damage.

Summer 1984

While constructing a tree house I stopped to take a break on a narrow length of lumber that spanned two trees. Several feet directly below my precarious perch was the severed top of a birch tree perhaps eight inches in diameter. I had removed the top of said tree to facilitate the strut that I was at that time perched upon. As I took a drink from my canteen I lost my balance and fell backwards. The ground was some twenty to twenty five feet below me. I fell directly onto the severed stump, a fall of perhaps three feet. Landing squarely on my tailbone, I was pitched forward and was able to grab the lumber that I had previously been seated on.

Sometimes my ass hurts.

Spring 1985

While sitting in my bedroom watching saturday morning cartoons and working on a modeling project, I stabbed myself in the leg. I was sitting cross legged on the floor and supporting the material I was cutting with my unarmored and pajama clad thigh. In hind sight the resulting injury seems unavoidable. The X-acto knife I was using plunged into my leg up to the handle. I attempted to hide the wound, but was discovered and forced to the hospital.

Small puncture scar on right thigh.

Spring 1985

Never one to waste a good lesson, I again punctured myself several days later, this time in the hand. In order to thwart further injuries, my mother had removed the X-Acto knife from my possession, but she had failed to remove the blades. I had attempted to finish the cutting duties for my model project with the blade alone grasped in my hand. The result was that my grip slipped and the thin blade plunged into the palm of my left hand so far that the skin poked up on the back side. Surprisingly little blood came from the wound of the narrow blade and I was successful in disguising the wound as superficial.

A small scar was visible on the palm for a short time, but has since faded entirely away.

Fall 1985

While waiting my turn to try out for the wrestling team another candidate and I were practicing. I had neglected to wear my ear guards and he attempted to flip me by grabbing my left ear. The painful result was a thin, and eventually puss encrusted, tear along the back of my ear where it joins my head.

I have no idea if there's a scar, I can't see back there. It hurt like hell though.

Summer 1987

While attending Boy Scout Summer camp I received a dramatically painful ear infection/impacted ear drum. I was preparing for lifeguard certification and spent two hours every morning in the pool. Water seeped into my ear and the pressure from repeated diving games caused a mild tear or impact on the ear drum along with an inner canal infection. I could not move without incredible pain, and the drive to the hospital was 75 miles over country roads.

No lasting permanent damage.

Fall 1987

On a dare I leaped from the gymnasium balcony and badly sprained my ankle. An acquaintance had made the dare and as a teenager I could not very well back down. The balcony was two or three feet above the basketball rims and it was a relatively short fall. I landed wrong though, leaning too far forward and pushing both knees forcefully into my chest. My clumsy recovery only made the injury worse and I ended up on crutches for a few days before I got sick of them and discarded the wooden offenders for simply limping around.

My family still makes fun of me for it.

Spring 1988

While playing a revised game of full contact basketball in gym class I was kicked in the face with a basketball at close range. The impact was directly on my nose and was forceful enough to hurt my neck and break my glasses at the bridge. Surprisingly my nose was not broken and it did not bleed although witnesses claim that my nose seemed to flatten and disappear under the impact.

No lasting permanent damage.

Summer 1988

While helping my father paint a house, I became distracted, lost my balance and fell from a twelve foot ladder unto a pile of landscaping bricks. The ladder fell on my father and after determining that he was alright, we noticed a large amount of blood dripping down the inside of my right forearm. I washed the cleaned the wound and the soothing cool water revealed a deep wound that went all the way across my forearm perpendicular to the bone. The wound was deep enough that, when not filled with blood, you could see the muscles and ligaments of my arm moving. At the hospital a bored weekend nurse refused to give me stitches or even closely examine the wound and recommended a bandage. The wound took a long time to heal properly.

A large scar, that once wrapped nearly halfway around my arm, has faded mostly.

Fall 1988

While hunting with my brother, he shot me in the leg resulting in a very minor wound worth repeating only because it involved firearms. We had chased some rabbits into a briar patch and my brother had decided to flush them out by firing into the brush. Unfortunately I was standing on the other side of the brambles. Fortunately, he was firing a relatively small caliber .410 shotgun and only one of the bird-shot pellets actually penetrated my jeans armored leg. A brotherly fracas ensued. We told no one of the incident for fear of punishment and lengthy lectures on firearm safety.

I haven't spoken to my brother in more than ten years.

Spring 1988

At a church function I attempted to impress a lovely young lady with my manliness by trying to crush a fused bag of ice upon my head. I could have just smacked it on the ground to loosen the ice into cube size, but a small part of my adolescent mind won the argument to do something foolish, and I cradled the bag in two hands and head butted it. I nearly passed out. The skin of my head was proven to not be harder than ice and split nicely over my hard skull which did prove to be harder than ice. The giant block of ice split neatly in two and I ran off to the bathroom to stop the bleeding. The young lady was, strangely, not impressed.

A smallish scar that used to be hidden by the very edge of my hairline.

Summer 1988

While attempting to construct a device of unknown intent from an old weed eater I nearly electrocuted myself. I had the electric motor disassembled and held in a vice. For reasons unknown I was using a flammable liquid towards goals unknown on the device when an explosion happened. The device had remained attached to wall current during my ministrations and some combination of live electricity and flammable liquid resulted in a an explosion large enough to burn off most of my eyebrows and lashes, an electrical shock strong enough to make me fall down and a fuse box with all the breakers thrown. I was grounded.

No lasting permanent damage. Hair grows back.

Fall 1988

In a dormitory altercation at a Christian boarding school, I was struck in the chest forcefully, to no immediate effect. The next morning I could not get out of bed, and a trip to the hospital revealed that the blow had separated my sternum from the ribs along most of one side.

Occasional chest pains and uncomfortable movement of the sternum during some activities.

Summer 1988

In an altercation with my brother, he sat on my back and used a pair of wire cutters to cut several furrows in my back while I refused to admit that it hurt. He claims he was attempting to teach me a lesson, although he never adequately explained what that lesson may have been.

I haven't spoken to my brother in more than ten years.

Spring 1989

While using a glass cutter on a broken piece of beer bottle retrieved from a gutter I pierced the web of my left hand between forefinger and thumb. I had scored the glass and was attempting to break it in two hands as one would a pencil. It broke, but the sharp corner of one side plunged into the web of my thumb. The wound was wide and I peered into the hollow pocket of flesh for several seconds before welling blood flowed out. It took forever to heal.

A scar is still dimly visible.

Summer 1989

While running an errand in my father's Toyota pickup I miscalculated my speed turning off a paved road onto an unpaved road and rolled the truck into a ditch. The cab of the truck that I had been in was severely impacted as the vehicle came to rest upside down and it's unclear to me how I escaped with only the minor injuries of lacerations on my hands from crawling out of the cab over gravel and broken glass. The only reason I mention it is because I was not injured. The vehicle did not explode as many television shows and films would have you believe.

My father still complains about it.

Summer 1989

While a new employee at McDonald's I severely burned my arm on a french fry basket. The pace of work at McDonald's is, or was, very hectic. I was new and manning the fry station, a task now automated in most franchises. It was my job to fill wire baskets with frozen potato treats, plunge them into very hot oil, remove, salt and repeat. The baskets, once removed from the hot oil, were hung on a contraption that allowed me to fill many at once from boxes. While filling the trays I leaned into one of the still very hot baskets with my right arm. The basket, despite being well oiled, stuck to my arm. The resulting burn was quite bad and swiftly filled with all sorts of terrible fluids that I took great teenage delight in draining. It will probably sicken you to know that the basket was pressed back into service immediately without being washed.

A large scar across my upper right forearm, that has mostly faded.

Fall 1989

While working the drive through at McDonald's I became frustrated with a customer and began punching the metal face of the change machine mounted above my cash register. The change machine became unhinged and refused to work properly after the incident, but I crushed the first knuckle of my right index finger.

Right index finger does not fold in far enough to make proper fist.

Summer 1990

While in Army Basic Training, crawling through the sand at a live fire range I removed all the skin from both elbows. The live fire range was very exciting. We got to high crawl, cradling our weapon, for several hundred feet while other soldiers fired live ammunition a few feet over our heads. The high crawl is performed by crossing the arms at the wrist, cradling your weapon in the crook of your arms and then crawling on your elbows and thighs. To prevent damage to our delicate elbows we were allowed to pull down our sleeves. Unfortunately this had the undesired effect of catching sand in the sleeves. The inside of my sleeves, now filled with sand, acted as abrasive sand paper and when the drill was complete I had huge bleeding wounds on both elbows that took an extraordinarily long time to heal.

No lasting permanent damage.

Summer 1990

While on a field exercise in Advanced Infantry Training I lay down to sleep with my head in an ant hill. I was subsequently bitten several hundred, if not thousand, times and was also gassed and mocked. It was a horrific experience but the effects were all short term and were mostly contained to nausea.

No lasting permanent damage.

Fall 1990

While drinking with friends during Airborne School, I passed out on the roof of a hotel and was rolled off by the same friends. I awoke on the floor of our hotel room covered in minor scratches and with an odd head/neck ache. It was later explained to me that it seemed easiest to drop me from the roof rather than attempt to carry me down. The logic was that I would "go limp" because I was unconscious. Admitting their actions resulted in a short brawl.

No lasting permanent damage.

Fall 1990

While in Airborne School and during one of our required parachute jumps a mistake with my static line prevented me from clearing the plane and bounced on the exterior several times and experienced problems with my chute. I landed mostly safely but the collision resulted in some long term knee problems.

Walk with a limp, trouble climbing stairs.

Fall 1991

While on an Army field exercise at Ft. Carson, I fell asleep at the controls after more than 14 hours nonstop driving of an M-113 APC. The exercise had been protracted beyond reasonable training requirements and I had been at the helm for the entire operation. While driving in a large circle waiting for the CO to figure out what the fuck we were doing I fell asleep with my helmet resting against the front of the hatch. WIthout my delicate hand on the controls the vehicle began to slowly drift. Fortunately our speed was very low, around 20-25 mph, but we eventually ran into a ditch or rut. It was large enough of a hole to cause the vehicle considerable turbulence, enough to release the latch that prevented the heavy armored hatch from closing. The hatch sprung forward and cracked me in the back of the head, splitting my helmet. Had I not been wearing the helmet, my skull would surely have been crushed. As it was I had a very sore neck and bad headache for several days.

No lasting permanent damage.

Winter 1991

While on an Army Field exercise in Ft. Carson, the zipper broke on my sleeping bag during a sudden snow storm. Before I bedded down I had removed most of my clothes to improve heat circulation in the sleeping bag, a common practice. During the night it began to snow heavily and due to lack of space in the tent I was sleeping in the open. I was awoken for my guard shift and discovered that the zipper on my bag had broken and my naked legs were exposed up to the crotch to the elements. Well, they would have been if they hadn't been covered in snow. I believe I was in the early stages of hypothermia as I didn't feel particularly cold, just weak. I did my guard shift, stamping around in my boots after donning my uniform. After my guard shift was over I dragged my sleeping bag into the tent and squeezed in close to the wood stove. I awoke later to find my sleeping bag on fire.

No lasting permanent damage.

Winter 1992

While responding to an alert that turned out to be a drill during my time in Saudi Arabia, I tripped over a berm of debris in the dark and fell on my left knee. I had been carrying a full ruck sack, an M16, two boxes of ammo and wearing body armor. I probably weighed close to 100 pounds more than normal and the fall caused excruciating pain in my knee, the same knee I damaged in Airborne School. To the detriment of my health and the impressment of my superiors, I continued the drill, believing it might be an actual combat situation.

Medical discharge from Army.

Summer 1996

While working at a cabinet shop I deeply lacerated the palms of both hands while moving material. My job was to load plywood, MDF, and other lumber into a computer controlled saw. I would load the material, let the machine cut it and then remove it. I was frequently working with stacks of material many inches thick and quite heavy. It was at this time that while unloading a large stack of melamine, a type of prepared MDF with lamination on one side. I gripped the load in both hands and underestimated the weight of the material, it slipped through my fingers and the fresh cut laminate drew through my hands like knives. I ended up with six to eight deep lacerations on the palm of each hand. The wounds took an unusually long amount of time to heel and bandages refused to stay on in the hot shop.

No lasting permanent damage.

Fall 1999

While assisting a room mate with an engine replacement on his Jeep Wagoneer I became pinned under the engine. I had crawled under the vehicle to guide the engine onto the transmission from below while one friend operated the crank and another helped guide the engine in. Grasping the engine on each side by the exhaust manifold I attempted to mate the two pieces of equipment. The engine hoist was dropping too fast though and I apparently wasn't yelling loud enough for them to stop dropping the engine. The oil pan of the V8 had come to rest on my chest with my elbows squarely on the pavement while my friends struggled with the engine and eventually lifted it off me.

No lasting permanent damage.

Spring 2002

While eating an omelet at the Original Pancake House the entirely too hot egg and cheese mixture lodged in my throat and nearly choked me to death. My girlfriend, sitting in the booth across from me, laughed. The waitress seemed indifferent to my near death experience.

I no longer eat at the Original Pancake House.

Winter 2002

While cutting a small piece of plywood on my table saw, I lost control of the material and it spun off the table into my gut. The fence on my table saw had become problematic and was no longer plumb with the blade. Normally this isn't a problem but the light weight of the material and its relatively small size of approximately one foot square, caused it to bind and kick back at me with alarming force. I caught the piece of wood in my belly hard enough to knock me to the ground. Surprisingly I was neither eviscerated or even bruised.

No lasting permanent damage.

This list is by no means complete. As I wrote it I found myself remembering injuries and incidents that I had either forgotten or minimized in memory. I suspect that as I reread it, others comment on it, and I continue to be a dangerous combination of clumsy and stupid, that it will get longer. In the end I believe I've come to the very real conclusion that I'm no more immortal than the next schlepp, and whatever force has prevented me from killing myself so far is likely running low on patience. My mother used to tell me that my capacity to escape serious injury was proof to her that God had other plans for me. I'm not terribly sure that such is the case, and I suspect that so far it's been nothing more than natural resilience that prevents me from doing something fatally stupid. On the other hand, it would be cool if I really was unbreakable.

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