I’m a klutz. Not just when it comes to sports, but when it comes to life in general. I’ve had a string of freak accidents over my life time which have been as unusual as the carelessness that caused them. One in particular stands out in my memory that involved getting up close and personal with a rake.

When I was seven, my family lived in Sacramento, California in a duplex style house. Our neighbors–who shared a wall with us–had kids whom I became good friends with. Our parents got along too and we even teamed up during the fall in order to rake our yards clean. Unfortunately, this lead to an accident.

On this ill fated day our families had gotten together to rake our yards. Or more specifically–the adults did. The kids–including me–spent less time raking leaves and more time chasing each other back and forth across the lawns. Perhaps if I’d focused on the task at hand I would’ve avoided what was coming. I didn’t, and my penchant for freak accidents was about to rear its ugly head.

At some point during the raking the adults had stopped to chat and the neighbor’s wife had slung her rake over her shoulder. Now, this wasn’t a plastic rake mind you, but a metal one. And in spite of knowing that I thought that it would be a brilliant idea to run behind her. It wasn’t. It really, really wasn’t.

I ended up misjudging the distance and as I ran past I caught the rake across my face. More specifically, it caught the area between my nose and upper lip, opening a gash which bled badly and hurt like hell. Suffice to say, the collaborative activity was suspended while my parents took care of my latest mishap. My mother was relived that I was alright, but displeased about the injury as picture day was just around the corner.

It didn’t bother me then any more than it does sixteen years later. All that I have left is a scar, reminding me that I was lucky that it wasn’t an eye. And as crazy as the event was, I’ve at least had the good fortune not to top my uncle.

I’ve never set my arm on fire.

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Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.

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