One day back in the idiocy of my youth, my friend Billy and I made the awesome decision to have a 45 record war. For those of you who don’t know what a 45 record was, it was a little record that had music on it. You played it on a turntable, which was a … ah, screw it. Search it up online.
The point is we built these little forts out of couch cushions and started whipping these little records at each other, which was like throwing Frisbees except they were thinner with much sharper edges. After a bit I peeked over a cushion and caught a 45 right over my left eye. I seem to remember it was “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. It cut a nasty slice about a quarter inch long right through my left eyebrow, and I proceeded to bleed like a stuck pig.*
* I have no idea if a stuck pig bleeds more than a stuck rabbit or stuck marmoset, but folks seem to stick pigs for some reason.
I was afraid to tell mom because I knew I’d get in trouble for being a jackass (there was some precedent for this), so I stuck a rag on it until it stopped, then found my oldest sister and asked for her help. After being initially aghast at the injury, she poured some Mercurochrome on it, followed by a big band-aid.
** For you youngsters out there, Mercurochrome was once used as a cure-all by mothers far and wide for injuries ranging from small cuts to severe head trauma. A few drops of Mercurochrome could supposedly cure a shotgun blast to the chest. Unfortunately, in 1998 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared that Mercurochrome was “not generally recognized as safe and effective” as an over-the-counter antiseptic and forbade its sale across state lines. Sad, really, but I guarantee Mom had a bottle hiding somewhere until the day she died.
Anyway, had the Hendrix record been an inch lower I’d have undoubtedly lost an eyeball, which is hardly ever a good thing.
Long story short, to this day if I smooth down my eyebrow, there’s a little scar line where hair refuses to grow.
Note: If any of my exes asks about the scar, I got it in a bar fight. Let’s keep this on the down low.
JUST LIKE THE WESTERNS,
BUT NOT REALLY
One time my buddy Ted (yeah, him again) and I found some old beer bottles in a ditch or somewhere. After checking to see if there was any booze left, we got the bright idea to pretend to be cowboys in a saloon fight. Hey, we’d seen the TV westerns where guys were just getting clobbered left and right with bottles that would shatter upon impact. We flipped a coin, and Ted got to go first.
We pretended to fight, then I saw Ted rear back to let me have it. I saw the bottle coming … and then everything went black.
Turns out those bottles on TV aren’t real, and it takes a lot of force to actually break a beer bottle over a human’s head, at least in 1967. Hence, the bottle remained intact and I went down like a sack of lug nuts.
At least Ted tried to help. What did he do, you ask? The same thing he saw cowboys do on TV — he ran to the garage, got a bucket, filled it with water and threw it in my face.
Turns out that actually works.
Anywho, I sat up, shook it off, and got on with my life. And we were smart enough not to try it again on Ted, so perhaps we did have a few brain cells in our craniums.
Nah. Probably not.
CROQUET BALL KO
This one also took place at Uncle Myrl’s and Aunt Dorothy’s. One summer day I was up there and we went outside to play some baseball. The problem was, we couldn’t find a baseball. I believe it was cousin Kevin who grabbed a croquet ball from somewhere. We’d been playing awhile, I was pitching, when cousin Mick sent a screaming line drive right back at me. I didn’t get my glove up in time and the croquet ball caught me right between the eyes, knocking me out cold.
And what was the reaction of my loving cousins? They all ran back into the house.
I have no idea how long I was out, but I do remember getting up and staggering back into the house with a goose egg on my head the size of an kumquat. Incredibly (in retrospect), everyone was casually sitting around watching TV.
Me: “What the hell? Thanks for nothing.”
Mick: “Hey, look. He’s alive!”
Kevin, pointing to my head: “Better get some ice on that.”
THE SLICED FOOT
Once, when I was about 5 or 6, my parents and I were sitting on the front porch and Dad told me to run around the house to see how fast I could go. In retrospect it’s pretty obvious he was just trying to get rid of me for a little bit, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I was barefoot as usual and when I made it back around and stood there panting, he sort of looked down, pointed, and calmly said this:
“Hey, looks like you cut your foot there.”
I looked down and sure enough there was a 3-inch slice of meat hanging off my instep like you would not dream. Blood everywhere, too, I might add. But hey, no biggie. Mom just slapped some Mercurochrome on it, added a band-aid or six and I was ready to rock and roll.
*Again, for you younger folk out there, Mercurochrome was a wonder antiseptic that was used to prevent and cure all sorts of maladies. And yes, it had mercury in it. I recall it was red and it stung like a mofo. Sadly it was discontinued years ago. Something about causing cancer or some such nonsense. On a related note, I bet mom still has a bottle stashed somewhere.
Dave Shoemaker is a retired teacher, athletic director and basketball coach with most of his professional years spent at Paint Valley. He also served as the national basketball coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. He lives in Southern Ohio with his best friends and companions, his dogs Sweet Lilly and Hank. He can be reached at https://shoeuntied.wordpress.com/.