Like everyone else, I've made plenty of mistakes in my life. Some were embarrassing flubs like tripping in front of my seventh-grade crush. Others were funny blunders like when I cut my own hair in high school. But then there were the scary scar-filled seconds that star in my sinister nighttime slumbers.
Without fanfare or over-embellishment, here are the five dumbest things I've done to injure myself.
One day I woke up in a hospital with a giant bump on my head, having forgotten most of the day skiing. Back then, we didn't wear helmets. My favorite thing to do was wait until my friends made it halfway down the slope, then bomb down like a penguin with a jetpack. We were told that the ski patrol found me laid out in the middle of a run without my skis.
That was just one of seven known concussions. They say brain damage can set in after three. Yikes. It was a little unsettling when time kept slipping.
This was just one in a long line of skiing accidents. I ran into a rope with my face. I sprained an ankle because I was too lazy to tighten my boot on a green. I dislocated my arm when I planted a ski pole. The pole stuck and the loop around my wrist stayed with it. I also blame run after brutal run of moguls for my bad knees.
ROCK CLIMBING Letting a friend belay me within sight of some pretty girls wasn't exactly the smartest thing I've ever done. Let's just say I walked around with stitches and an awkward limp for the next couple of months. Trusting hormone-filled teens is always risky business. Of course, I didn't realize this when I was one.
I grew up in a redwood tree forest. As a tween, I decided that climbing them was fun. Of course, I didn't think about safety. I was invincible after all. So I climbed them without a rope, on my own, sometimes in windy storms to make it more scary. One time I fell, but lucked out when my arm caught on a branch and dislocated my shoulder. If I hadn't caught myself and dislocated my shoulder, I probably would have tumbled to my death. Fortunately, it popped right back into place a few minutes later when I slipped again. Climbing with three limbs is much harder than I could have imagined. I didn't tell my parents about the tree climbing or the dislocated shoulder until decades later.
Swings seem so innocent. Weeeee. But in the hands of a daredevil like me, any toy could be a dangerous toy. I was that kid who loved to jump off swings. The more dangerous dare my brother put in front of me, the more I wanted to do it. So my brother and I were jumping off a tire swing one day. It was on a sloped hillside, so when we jumped toward the uphill side, we were ten feet above the ground, but with momentum back towards the hill, we landed only a few feet down. Of course, me being the accident-prone kid I was, my foot got stuck in the tire when I jumped. The swing took me back out, dangling upside down the whole way. Then I fell when I was fifteen feet off the ground. Fortunately, I didn't break my neck. But I did break both of my arms. My mom wasn't thrilled with the medical bills.
My brother and friends and I wanted a zipline, so we got some rope, and some PVC pipe and walked out into the woods. We slid a foot-long section of PVC over the rope and pulled it to the top of a tree. We tied the other end to the base of another tree. We gave the rope just enough slack on the bottom end to slow us down. You'd think I would have gotten hurt on the first time out. But I tested it out, and it went great. My friends and brother tried it and they had a blast too. Then I went back for seconds. That's when the friction on the PVC as it ran down the rope melted through the PVC. All of a sudden, I was sliding along the rope with my bare hands. So, on top of gliding downward fast along the zip line, I then fell the last fifteen feet. Boom! I landed in more of a splat than a bounce. My brother thought I was dead. After a moment of lying there, thinking he was right, I popped up and hollered in joy. It was perhaps one of the dumbest but most exhilarating experiences of my life. I still have a scar on my palm from where the rope burned into my hand.
While I don't recommend being such a danger to oneself, I did learn my limits through all these accidents. Plus, what doesn't kill you only maims you, right?
As always, I appreciate your support of self-publishing and indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.