A Lifetime of Blunt Force Trauma

Walking to work today in the pouring rain, I was left to ponder a lot of things. I generally think about what other people are doing and how they are better then me and how their insides look…

Seriously though, I had a pounding headache as I was walking this morning, most likely due to the extreme air pressure change that accompanies most storms or inclement weather. As I struggled to cope with the headache, I realized that I’ve had a shitload of injuries in my relatively short life – most of which should have killed me. Thankfully, I have reduced such scrapes and bruises to the occasional corner table knee bash, corner wall toe stub or slip on a wet floor coming in from the balcony – nothing too life threatening.

My parents, specifically my father, moved us from Southern Ontario, where his family still resides, to the mecca of Northern Ontario. I was too young to care but would certainly chain myself to the nearest tree should he attempt such a move again. Being displaced meant that every year at Christmas my immediate family and I would make our annual pilgrimage to Hamilton for X-mas festivities. We travelled the route nearly once a month anyway and once such trip took place about a month before Christmas one year – forgive me, the actual dates are fuzzy.

For the longest time as a child, I was obsessed with the Santa Claus parade that took place in Toronto in November. I had never been to it, but it was the equivalent of seeing God himself trot on down the street with a procession of angels before him. It was the greatest thing ever and I was NEVER allowed to see it since it generally aired on TV in November, when I was up north and this was before Global was a non-cable station so there was no way to see it. On this one trip, however, the planets aligned and the day of the parade fell directly on our second day there…

As a small child, I was hyperactive a lot of the time, which was generally attributed to chocolate consumption. Having the earliest intervention on record, scores of chocolate products were exised from my childhood home with my parents dancing gleefully around a cocoa scented bonfire, tossing on the occasional Mars bar and cackling with each pop of the creamy nugate interior as I wept in the corner.

This early trauma didn’t stop me, however, as I found that the thing I loved about chocolate was the sugar. So, to hell with pesky, banned chocolate substances, I could go directly to the source. Not being old enough to purchase a ticket to a sugar plantation, I found reams of white and brown sugar right in the comfort of my own home. I would eat brown sugar by the spoonful to satisfy some deep seeded desire to actually kill myself from either over exertion or injuries sustained as inanimate objects became fuzzy blurs to my increasingly speedy movements.

Sitting in my granmother’s living room with my auntie as she hemmed the new drapes, I found myself playing with the pins she wasn’t using to straighten the hem. I was under her watchful eye so as not to accidentally stab myself in the temple. The ‘men’ were downstairs – my granpa, uncle, father and brother, watching television while the ‘women’ (my mother, auntie, grandmother and mois) were upstairs churning butter or performing ritual sacrifice.

“Sean! The Santa Claus Parade is on,” yelled my father from downstairs.

I lept up and began motoring (due to my sugar high) around the corner to get downstairs in time. As I turned the sharp corner I realized that I had miscalculated, as my young 5-6 year old body slammed, head first into a rather sturdy, unshakeable wall.

I was pretty much knocked out cold and remember waking up to everyone standing above me, realizing I was lying on the kitchen table with my grandfather yelling that I’d ruined his wall. I must have been bleeding pretty heavily because a towel obscured my vision. I thought I had died, but everyone assured me I was very much alive and well enough to start working to pay to repair the wall I had dented. At the hospital, I was given stitches (3-4) and sent home well after the final float had been sent back to the garage on that November day.

A year later, my family was planning a camping trip in one of those old camping cabs that sits on the back of a pick-up truck. The door to enter the camper is right on the tailgate which dually functions as a step when people need to enter. I was standing on the tailgate, minding my own business, waiting for my mum to come outside. Little did I know, however, that my brother was inside the camper and raring to leave it. He swung open the door and sent me flailing into the nearby rockgarden, landing firmly on my young skull. Another set of stitches…

An earlier incident involved the family dog, Benji (original I know), and I, sitting on the front porch of my family’s house. A child across the street, clearly longing for a dog of his own, threw a small stone in our general direction, hoping to either hit me or have the dog go after it – sort of a forced game of catch. Unfortuntely, I was sitting in the middle, with the dog on my left and the stone whizzing past my head on the right. Not realizing I was in the same universe, the dog tried to grab the stone out of the air with it’s jaws but found itself firmly planted on my left eye. More stitches…and Benji ‘went to live on a farm’ if you knowwhattamean.

The last tale of woe is much more odd than the first three; involving myself, a safety pin and a lot of pooh. As an undiscovered gay child, I was interested more in my mother than my father – fact of life. As an adult that has changed dramatically to a more even keel, but the kid in me always remembers watching my mum as she sewed or cooked or cleaned or got me to do it as I carried her on my back, whip in one hand and a martini in the other.

One time in my parent’s room, trying to emulate my mum, I placed a safety pin in my mouth as a tailor would place straight pins for easy access (a practice I engaged in quite frequently in the production of my slip cover, but everytime I thought of this incident…). Unfortunately, I had an extreme hiccup or burp or some shit, because the next thing I knew, I swallowed the fucking thing. I was rushed to the hospital and after an x-ray was taken, it was discovered that the pin was lodged in my stomach, right next to my lung and appeared to be on the verge of opening.

Being an idiotic toddler, I figured this meant my lung would be punctured and my body would deflate, but the doctor assured me that as long as no one TOUCHED me, I’d be fine. Huh? A 7 year old on a tear can’t be touched by anyone or bump into anything…? Wow. My life was ruined. At least I thought it was ruined until my first bowel movement, which had to be gone over with a fine tooth comb (see hands covered in milk bags) by my mother to see if the pin had finally dislodged itself. It was at that point that I realized death could actually be a release.

After about a week, the pin did finally come out, intact and unopened and I was safe…but my bathroom habits have never been the same. I still shudder when I think about my mother standing by eagerly with two Neilson milk bags, one on each hand, ready to have a rifle through my junk. 😡

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~ by seangstm on September 13, 2006.

One Response to “A Lifetime of Blunt Force Trauma”

  1. This is my absolute favourite blog entry thus far. You’re a fantastic storyteller and make howl just as much, if not more than, David Sedaris.

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