Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Story Time

I was relaying some stories to Tyler a few days ago, and he was either so entertained or so horrified by them that he felt compelled to write them on his white board that everyone who walks by can see. So for the rest of that week, whenever anyone walked by his cube, they saw this:

Each of these topics is a real story; one that happened to me no less. But the topics, as you can see, are fully cracked out. Tyler had to spend the rest of the day explaining that these were things I had told him about. Then some people left me nice little notes, like to not do drugs (only one of those stories was drug related! And it was a prescription! That was mine! Can you guess which one?). Most people just shook their heads and wondered, but never actually asked me about them. Perhaps they were afraid of learning more...
The stories, while funny, are actually not as disturbing as they sound. For instance, "feet fall off (the bottoms of them)". That happened sometime in junior high. Possibly freshman yeah of high school. I don't have a very good sense of time. Let's back up a second. When I was younger, I went barefoot all the time. If I didn't absolutely have to wear shoes, I didn't. Over the years, my feet had developed some amazing calluses on the bottoms. I could stick a thumb tack all the way into the bottom of my heel. Anyway, whenever it was, I had worn a new pair of shoes to school that day. It must have been junior high, because I remember that it was July or August, and my high school wasn't year-round but my junior high was. Yeah, school in the summer, that was fun. Back to the story. The shoes were adorable brown patent leather lace-up loafers with clunky heels sort of like these ones, but with a lower, clunkier heel. Well, as I was walking home from the bus stop, a mile from my house, these new shoes that I had, of course, not worn socks with, began to rub on the backs of my heels, right on my Achilles' Tendons, and they were starting to cut into my feet. Not wanting to bleed all over my cute shoes, I did what any sensible person would do. I took them off, intending to walk home barefoot. Did I mention that it was July or August? The town I grew up in easily gets as hot as 120 degrees in those months. And I was walking on black asphalt. Barefoot. At first I thought I could just run from shade-patch to shade-patch, but very quickly I realized that my feet were on fire. As I gazed at the stretch of shade-less asphalt ahead of me, I realized that I had made a dire mistake. So I put those torturous shoes back on my burnt, bloody feet and hobbled the longest mile home of my life.
For the next two days, my feet were very tender, but on the third day I noticed a strange sensation. I couldn't feel the ground. I could feel the pressure of the ground, but not the texture of it. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the bottoms of my feet had blistered. The entire bottoms. Two giant, feet-shaped blisters. I couldn't feel the ground because I was literally walking on two pockets of air. Eventually, in the way of blisters, they popped. And the thick calluses on the bottoms of my feet came off in mostly one continuous swath from each foot.

The next line, "Swollen potato bugs", isn't so much a story of one event, but more the story of one of the most disgusting things we had to deal with living in the town I grew up in. First of all, for those of you who don't know what a potato bug is:

Horrifying little fucks, aren't they? I think that they are also called Jericho Crickets. They look like some freak cross-mutation between and ant, a locust, and a bee. Thankfully, they don't really move fast or fly. But what they do do (hee hee) is fall into your pool. And swell up. To about twice the size they are normally, which is not small to begin with. You think scooping bees out of the pool is bad? Try to scoop out five of these fuckers when they're all puffy and kind of falling apart and nothing will ever gross you out again. Shudder.

Moving on. "Avocado tree growing out of head". If you guessed that this was the drug-related on, you were right! Go you. Not that it was hard. The important thing to know for this story is that I have hay fever, which basically means that I am allergic to air. Dust and pollen make my eyes itch and my nose run. My nose running makes my throat itch, and then I start coughing. And I don't stop coughing. Then I get bronchitis, and a few times pneumonia even. So my doctor would prescribe me codeine, which is a pain reliever that is also known to prevent coughing. One of the more rare side effects of codeine is hallucination. I should also tell you that I was taking prescription-strength codeine. Well, one evening I forgot that I has already taken one dose, and so I took another. I had a hallucination that there was an avocado pit inside of my brain that had taken root and was sprouting out of the back of my skull. I wasn't panicked by this, thankfully. The strangest part was that I could see the back of my head. As the sprout grew, my skull kind of opened up in a large jagged hole in the back, the edges of which were curling and shriveled looking. If I could draw, I could draw a picture of it to this day, my mental picture is so clear. I could even see the avocado pit nestled down in my own brain. I hallucinated myself some surgery and I was fine.

The next story, "Cats jumping on her throat from above," is about the time that Singe almost killed me. So really is should be "cat", singular. In the apartment that I lived in last summer, my bed was underneath a window. One of Singe's favorite things to do was to look out the window and fantasize about murdering the seagulls that raided the dumpsters out back. Her second favorite thing to do was to spend the entire night jumping up onto the window sill, and jump back down about five minutes later, usually right next to my head. One night, as I was dreaming away, Singe miscalculated and instead of jumping down next to my head, she jumped down onto my throat. From about three feet above. Her full weight of fifteen pounds landed on her two front paws directly on my throat when I was dead asleep. If she had snagged my jugular, she very well could have killed me. It was an unpleasant way to be woken up, to say the least.

This is where things start to get harder. "Eating garden snails" is a story that I have only heard told to me, since I was too young when it happened to remember myself. As I've already told you, I was a rather adventurous child. I was prone to wandering off by myself and getting into...predicaments, shall we say? Well, in this particular instance, I had wandered out into the front yard on a warm spring day and was entertaining myself. I was around four, maybe five. Mama came out to check on me and, much to her horror, she came out just in time to see me pick up a snail and take a bite out of it. I still don't know what could have possessed me to see a snail as appetizing, but I do see shades of this behavior in my adult life. To this day, I will try any food item at least once. I've found some great food that way. Ironically though, I've never eaten escargot.

"Chipping tooth on dog's head" sounds like a story that involves a lot of blood and pain, but I can assure you that there was no blood and minimal pain. I was over at Aunt Ann's house playing with my cousins in the backyard. They had a huge Golden Retriever that was none too bright, but he meant well. Years later when I read "Of Mice and Men", I would think of this dog. I was playing tug-o'-war with him, and I pulled the rope toy out of his mouth and raised my arm triumphantly above my head. Which is when the dog lurched upwards, still trying to win the game, even though it was clearly over. His lunge brought the top of his head into direct and violent contact with the underside of my chin. As my jaw slammed shut, my teeth stuck together with such force that a sliver of my tooth went flying out of my mouth. Somehow, that was the only injury I sustained from the dog's collision course. What a sore loser...

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