Self-mutilation and Salvation
i'm not one to get any glory or satisfaction out of hurting
myself. i've never cut myself, smashed my head into a wall,
or told a pittsburgh steeler fan his wife looked like a
british bulldog; yet somehow i have manage to self-mutilate
myself inadvertently a bit too much. before i get into my
latest bout with my self-mutilation bug i will drag up my
my first occurred as i was walking along the concrete border
of our house that we were just building. there i was
traversing the terrace as a trapize climber with my friend
drew, well i lost my balance, fell towards the grass, but
reached out to catch myself. i caught myself alright. the
palm of my hand got caught on one of those crowbars that
they have sticking out (which they poor the cement around),
it tore a deep hole into my hand. 20 minutes later i'm in
an emergency room with a nurse sticking a long-ass needle
into my 10 year old hand, right into the open wound.
nothing, and i repeat nothing has ever hurt more. about 20
stitches i think.
next was a bike accident. i was racing my bike down this
hill and took a sharp turn thinking that i could grind up
the hill with my momentum, the contours of the curve had
other plans though. i skidded and essentially peeled my
skin up off of my right leg as i skidded the entire hill
next i was in the water and sliced my heel open on a clam
shell (those motherfuckers are sharp), another needle in an
open wound and another 20 or so stitches.
then i learned the hard way to never punch someone in the
face. don't ever punch anyone in the face. i was sparring
and i had PADDED GLOVES on. i got a good shot as the dude
dropped his guard and i nailed him. lights out for him, but
a broken knuckle for me. and yes...you can break your
knuckle, you will hear it crackle for the rest of your life.
the next thing that happened was me almost cleaning slicing
my dear pinkie toe off (reminds me of seinfeld). i remeber
it hanging on by a few threads of skin as my grandfather was
looking at it.
i still remember him saying quite calmly (he was a dentist),
"i can either sew it up or cut it off" and him then giving
me this quizzical look as to "which one?".
i chose neither. no more stitches, it healed and i have a
cool scar to show for it.
so that was about it for quite some time. maybe my age has
made me wiser, but i'd like to think i'm just luckier. but
i fucked up my luck.
i was walking around a few weeks ago and i remember
spitefully stepping over a "lucky" penny, laughing and
thinking, "so the fuck what? i'm not picking that filthy
well at jiu jitsu i promptly dislocated my shoulder,
embarrasingly enough...while stretching. i pulled it across
my chest and it just popped right out. now i thought that
when this happened it would kind of dangle, but no...the
tendons do a good job of keeping it quite where it is. it
felt like my shoulder was frozen in the wrong position and
it hurt like a mother fucker. i slammed it back into place
after three hits of my palm into it. the shocking searing
pain was better than the terrifying feeling of having a body
part literally dislodged.
so after that i was walking around outside scouring the
streets for pennies. i must have looked like a mad-man. so
that was one day before juli's birthday and she really
wanted rats again (after harold died over the summer).
me? i was kind of ambivalent, so i decided to go to petco
holding my shoulder in pain. i was staring at the many cute
ratties through the cage when this crazy (i can tell if
someone's crazy like nothing else) employee came up from
behind me. she looked like a "cat woman" (i.e. 20 cats at
home with whom she holds random political discussions).
"hiya! watcha lookin...rats? ewww! nawh i'm just kiddin'
hunnney they're sooooo cute, aren't you cute! yes you are!
you are so cute!"
i told her how juli & i had had two rats for a while and
that i wanted to get new ones. she gave me this look and
then decided i was worthy of her secret,
"i got something special just for someone like you."
at first i thought she was going to bag me for her cats but
she ended up taking me to the petco backroom where all the
reject pets are. there were two "runts" which are
undersized rats. she pulled one out (there were two) and it
was peering at me with it's black little eyes and its
"now these two poor guys," she said as she was stroking the
one's head "are going to get picked up today for the
university's medical center," then she lowered her voice as
if the rats could understand here (which i firmly believed
she believed) "they feed them to snakes!"
she handed me the little guy with this somber message and i
was so taken aback by the guilt that i didn't get a firm
grasp on the littel dude. he jumped out of my hand, hit the
floor and took off under a soda machine.
for the next 10 minutes i was face down on the dirty petco
floor with a net cursing my persistent bad luck, my shoulder
burning like some gnomes were stoking a fire party on it,
when all of a sudden a heavy set man with child-molester
type bangs and coke-bottle glasses came in.
i couldn't believe it! this was the guy that was going to
feed them to the snake! he looked like the type of guy who
would enjoy it too. his fish like lips were disgustingly
moist and he had an asthmatic way of breathing. he was the
type of guy who seemed to only be able to leer. and he was
leering. he was leering at my babies.
"i'll take them!"
the petco lady was almost orgasmic in denying the guy his
so i was heading home. little petco cardboard box with
airholes and two tiny rats in it, shoulder burning like jews
were burning money on it, and still scouring for a lucky
after the events which had happened (some of which i am not
writing about here beacuse i simply can't...they'd depress
me way too much and possibly cause willful self-mutilation)
in the past two weeks, i need it! needed that luck! and
then i saw it.
grimy, yet somehow glistening in the sun. i stopped short.
looked down. and there it was. the color of rust. my
salvation, i stooped down and as i picked it up looked to
the rustling to my right, 4 black eyes were staring at me,
i'd like to think thankfully, there was my true salvation.