Hey, Universe! Stop Throwing Things At Me!
Somewhere, buried deep in the annals of lesser known saints and religious figures, you'll find Saint Claudius the Maladept, patron saint of stupidity and personal embarrassment, more commonly known in recent times as "Saint Clod the Klutz". It is St. Claudius who watches over the clumsy and self-incriminating among us and makes sure that their more embarrassing blunders happen when there are no witnesses, and leaving no permanent scars or other evidence, leaving it as an option to the moron-of-the-moment whether to tell the story (either as a good humorous tale or as the central pillar of a good pity party) or to keep it to themselves and pretend It Never Happened.
St. Claudius protects people like a friend of mine from work, who is forever telling me about the various trips and falls she takes when wearing heels of any height greater than the thickness of a piece of paper, and how pleased she is that most of these falls take place without anyone in sight, so that she can dust herself off, readjust her clothing to make sure any untoward bits are properly covered, and continue on her way with no one the wiser.
St. Claudius should not be confused with St. Saleous the Superior (better known as St. Soupy Sales), who ensures that these sorts of boneheaded moves happen in ways which are most amusing to passers-by, random observers, or fellow drinkers in the bar the next night on retelling. Long time readers will remember the time I threw my back out and wrote an essay about it. No, not that one. No, not that one either. The first one. St. Saleous is responsible for ensuring that the rather mundane act of throwing out my back became a wonderful tale for the retelling, by ensuring that no matter the actual cause, the immediate action I was taking as it went "sproing" was reaching for a remote control in order to avoid watching an absorbent cartoon character who oddly chooses to reside in a tropical fruit somewhere on the sea floor.
It is, however, St. Claudius to whom I apparently have not been making sufficient pleas, as last night, he was nowhere to be found as I dozed off and, too drowsy to reach over to the nightstand NEXT to my bed to put down the book I was reading, sort of half-heartedly put it down, face down on the page I was currently on, on the shelf on my headboard, directly above my head… hanging precariously off of the edge… right next to a large mug of water.
And so as you have, undoubtedly, figured out, in the middle of the night, the book dislodged, dropping itself, the glass and the remaining contents OF the glass hurtling across the great gulf, directly at my sleeping head. Specifically, my left cheek and eye. And by "great gulf", I mean that that based on the rude awakening I had, I'm quite certain that someone in the night played a prank on me and slowly raised the headboard until the shelf was approximately the height of NBA player and noted geological landmark Manute Bol, because this clearly was not an incidental fall of about 6 inches, I can tell you based on my continuing headache that I'm lucky to have survived the experience.
And by the way, to go off on a tangent for a moment, let me point out that this occurred about an hour and a half before I generally get up. So to whatever helpful sprite or spirit wanted to make sure I didn't oversleep, let me just say that as it was unusually early, and as I almost never fail to wake up on time for work, generally waking a few minutes before the alarm goes off, there's really no need for the universe to throw things at me, OK? I promise, I'll get up on my own!
To this point in the story, it kind if sounds like Claudius was on the job, right? This happened in the middle of the night, he'd been working behind the scenes over the last couple of years to systematically erode the underpinnings of my marriage while simultaneously encouraging me to be, well, me, thus ensuring that at the moment this occurred, I would be alone in my bed without a witness nor even the chance of a light sleeper hearing the crash and coming to check on me.
But he missed one important thing: the sharp corner on the book which gave me a severe laceration on my cheek and burst a blood vessel in my eye, making me look for all the world like a first-stage victim in one of those "designer plague" horror movies that were all the rage a few years back, the ones where the members of a tour group to some exotic locale come down with symptoms that begin with blood seeping from the eyes and end up with all of the bones in their bodies dissolving, until each infected tour group member ends up looking pretty much like a large pile of pudding in a Hawaiian shirt. (They had to have the Hawaiian shirt. Otherwise, it would have been tragic.)
And worse, based on the location and extent of the bleeding from the cut on my cheek, almost certainly in the next few days I'm going to develop a nice black eye, just in time for Christmas and the family portrait I have scheduled for me and the three of my children who will be with me. I'm not sure whether to hold it up as future evidence of "elder abuse" if my children do not properly respect me in my dotage, or suggest that it's the last physical symptoms remaining from the abuse I took during my divorce.
But that's a problem for later. Right now, I'm off to petition another Saint. Specifically, Joseph, the patron saint of pain relievers that taste like sweet tarts.
[And again, for those keeping track, this was the fourth essay written in the "15 in 30" series. The picture doesn't fully convey the truly hideous look of my eye, my cheek, and the "black eye" bruise which is now, some 60 hours later, beginning to develop.]
Copyright © Dec 14, 2010 by Liam Johnson. http://humor.liamjohnson.net