This is a painful story to recount, it's a tragicomedy of bad timing.

Background: We were living in Iowa, and we were going to move back to Nebraska where our family was. Dad was starting a new job in Nebraska, and had driven out there in advance to begin his job.

My elder brother and I were playing with a pink balloon, trying to keep it up in the air. I'm very competitive.

Begin scene.

I was laying on the couch.

Suddenly, with no warning, my mother hears a scream, perhaps leading her to the impression that I was being brutally murdered. 


I wasn't, but in my zeal to keep the balloon airborne, I'd dove...dived....doven...um...lept off the couch and landed with my full weight on my left ring finger. It was not pleasant. 

Bad timing #1: Dad had just left for Nebraska when this happened.


Bad timing #2: It was a Sunday, so the hospital was closed and I would have to go to the emergency room.

Now, I know that this may not seem like a particularly bad thing, but in my young mind, "going to the emergency room" was something exceedingly serious, at least it was on TV. I was pretty sure that as soon as I walked in the door, I would be strapped down on a bed with wheels, be poked with 1000 needles, and wheeled into the operating room.

I was not all about that, so I came up with a cunning plan: I would convince Mom that my finger was fine.

We went to the emergency room.

All I remember about it was someone else I knew was there at the exact same time, getting his (shudder) tongue stitched up because he'd bit it while playing basketball. I felt pretty lucky.

When we'd had the finger X-rayed and stuff, they told us that my broken finger wasn't a normal broken finger, it was a spiral fracture. Here's how that works:

which means that it wouldn't heal normally, so they'd have to operate and put a few screws in my finger to fix it up. I had two options: operate immediately, or a few days later.

I wasn't all about immediate operation, so I chose the second date.

Bad timing #3: it was my birthday.

Dad drove back from Nebraska to be with me and comfort me and feed me smoothies because I couldn't walk and stuff. 

Bad timing #4: Dad had to go into work on his first day and ask for some time off.

When I went in for the operation, I think the nurses thought it was sadly funny that I was in the hospital on my birthday, so they took pictures with me, once I was all suited up in my hairnet and everything.

Bad timing #5: Don't take pictures with a kid with a broken finger who is about to be operated on and stuck with needles and maybe not even wake up because that happens all the time in movies and on his birthday for Pete's sake.

They gave me the choice to knock me out by sticking a needle in my arm, or gas. I chose gas, because if they were sticking needles in my arm, I didn't want to be around for that.

The gas smelled like plastic. Or maybe that was the plastic mask. I don't know.

So balloons and I haven't been friends for years, and Balloons know why, and balloons know that we'll always be arch enemies.

them, and treadmills. But that's another (even more painful) story for another time.

Ok, maybe let's just get it out of the way right now. I caught my hand in a treadmill.
Bad timing #6: there is not a good time to catch your fingers in a treadmill.
There, I said it, and I'm not going to illustrate it. Here's a picture of a kitten.

Oops, I think that story may have traumatized her.