Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You May Have Already Heard This Story, But...

I feel like a complete idiot.

So you get to hear it again.

I wanted ice cream. I really did. And we'd had ice cream at work! It was in the freezer. So I decided to get some ice cream and eat it, to add to happiness levels. I opened the freezer door, because yummy ice cream is yummy. The only thing better than ice cream is unexplained bacon.

What I should have known is that, since the library is filled with other employees, and many of them enjoy ice cream much as I do, the ice cream would certainly be gone. But in my brain, if I'm not the ice-cream-eater, that means the ice cream remains as pristine and untouched as the driven snow.

The ice cream was gone.

Did I mention I had a teen program that night at work? Because I did. A whole herd of teens were coming in, and I was going to do some talking. And people were going to look at me. Keep that in mind.

When I was young, I wore glasses.

My glasses were rather strong, because my family is characterized by sight problems and hearts that suddenly explode. And also pale skin (but only on Mom's side).

One of the reasons PE was so freaking hard was peripheral vision. I didn't have any.

And my teachers seemed to have this philosophy, this teaching strategy, that I absolutely hated: If you don't feel like planning a lesson, just make the kids play dodgeball!

I hate stupid @#&*%*! dodgeball. You know what dodgeball is like for a kid like me? It is like a minefield, or like a firing squad. Dodgeball is giving the evil jocks permission to use nerds for target practice. Think hurting people is fun? Dodgeball is the game for you, and many of my school's future federal prisoners practiced their tactics for upcoming murders on hapless dorks like me.

The only thing funnier than raising welts the size of bowling ball on the extremities of your victim is making a welt fo the same size--on the FACE. See, giant arm-bruises can be covered. But two black eyes and a bloody lip? Not so much.

Would it surprise you to discover I once went through three pairs of glasses in one school year?

I did.

Because my face made such good target practice, my school churned out a few college athletes, and several psychopaths*.

While losing glasses can get expensive, it was nothing like the cost of having reconstructive surgery, so life went on. Glasses offer some protection.

But not when you're 27 and hungry for ice cream.

Can you see your nose? Right now, staring at this page while you read, do you see your nose? Just a little bit, I bet. But before I mentioned it, I bet you couldn't. Because your brain filters out your nose when it interprets what you see, so you don't walk around all the time, staring at the weird bump you have that people like but you hate.

Standing there, in front of the empty spot where the ice cream used to be, I kind of accidentally forgot I had a nose.

I closed the door to the freezer with frustration.

And then pain.

Blinding pain, the kind of pain that makes your eyes water. I curled over, leaning on the shelves next to the fridge. I waited for my nose to start bleeding (it didn't). I waited out the pain.

Then I opened the door again, took out some ice, stepped back super-far, and closed it.

That's right. I slammed the freezer door on my own nose.

Now, I totally lucked out. Because my nose bent sideways and TOUCHED MY CHEEK. If I had hit it higher, I think I would have broken it. Lower, there might have been cartiledge damage. But no. I was okay.

Meanwhile, my coworker (she'd just finished pouring vanilla extract down her body in a tragic baking accident) discovered my plight. Her response? She rolled her eyes and said something to the effect of, "Only you." Then she left me there, huddled against the cabinets, struggling to breathe through my rapidly-swelling nasal passages.

I expected my whole face to swell up. Instead of a nose, I would have a lumpy, purple-black tennis-ball-sized protrusion. But no. The only evidence was a little purple dot of shame. The dot has faded to a green dot of shame.

My question is this: How does a girl come back from this sort of thing? How can I ever trust myself to safely operate a door again?
Was this too much to ask for?

*Schools are now beginning to ban dodgeball. A-freakin'-men, people. Either that, or maybe the government could fund schools enough to let them spring for some flippin' FOAM balls instead of having kids play dodgeball with BASKETBALLS. Because basketballs HURT.

**You think I'm joking? Not so much. Behold the jewel of Jennifer's graduating class. See?

Photo: "Vanilla Ice Cream Cone" by Steven Depolo 2009


  1. That sounds so awful! A double insult! Pain AND lack of ice cream!

    Dodgeball IS evil. I can't believe they played it with basketballs at your school! But then, you ARE in Indiana. In California, we used those red rubber foursquare balls. They do slightly less damage. Slightly.

  2. I thoroughly enjoy your stories. I'm sorry that the laughs your stories produce come at your expense, and usually result in you being hurt, humiliated, embarrassed, etc. But just remember- your blog readers love them :-)

    PS... Not sure how I would handle it if one day you announced that all of this was a farce and you just made stories up everyday, but I would have no trouble believing it.

  3. I really, really wish I was making this stuff up. But it is my Real Life, and I can produce witnesses that will totally back me up. UNDER OATH.

  4. Okay, I realllllly miss your posts. Selfish me.