A Cut Above

No relative of mine died. My house didn’t burn to the ground. I wasn’t paralyzed in a car accident.

But about 14 years ago, I experienced one of the most eventful days of my life, enduring a streak so unlucky it was almost laughable.

After work, I dressed out for a basketball game in a YMCA league. Because officiating in these contests is notoriously poor, tempers often flare.

And so it was this evening. A few minutes in, I crowded the dude I was checking, moving close enough to smell what he had for lunch.

Big mistake.

Giving himself some breathing room, he flung an elbow that caught me flush on the chin. No foul was called and I thought nothing of it, other than his bone felt like lead pipe.

But the next stoppage of play, I began to draw stares.

“Man, you gotta get that checked out.”

I left the game and looked at my mug in the mirror. He was right. I needed stitches.

I drove myself to the hospital emergency room, a paper towel held to my face to catch the blood. Then I waited. And waited.

As I was getting stitched up, I received a call. It was my wife.

“Don’t leave. Jake busted his head open trying to climb on top of the refrigerator.”

With some time on my hands, I went back out to the waiting room. My wallet, which I’d apparently left on a chair because my  gym shorts had no pockets, was gone. Stolen.

The family arrived.

It took what seemed like a platoon to hold down my 5-year-old son for the numbing shot.

We arrived back home about 3:30 a.m.

The phone rang about four hours later. It was the missus, whose van had veered off a slick highway and crashed into a guardrail.

I checked the calendar. It was Tax Day.


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