School staff rooms can be intimidating and hostile for newbies but thankfully where I'm currently doing my part-time stint this isn't the case. Escaping talk of children, us English department folk moved on to the topic of pathetic injuries. One of our number had managed to give herself a painful blood blister on her hand, merely from clapping in a lesson - and not even particularly enthusiastically! I too, had recently managed to scissor cut my hand, drawing blood in an attempt to remove a clothes' label. As stories of toe stubbings unfolded, I was instantly reminded of a friend who succeeded in bursting a blood vessel in his eye through hard straining during a hung-over vomiting session. I'm also transported back to the time I managed to fall off the stage at Primary School onto a precariously stacked pile of gym equipment and spare seating, nearly impaling myself on an upright chair leg.
I've heard of the Darwin awards recognising individuals who contribute to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of the gene pool through putting themselves (unnecessarily) in life-threatening and often stupid situations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_Awards), and wonder whether there's an equivalent for embarrassing injuries. With the growing number of dubious award ceremonies cropping up and popularity of top ten lists, I'm surprised to discover that no such equivalent exists. Perhaps unsurprisingly, only the sports world and journalists specialising in this field seem to recognise and document such embarrassing and dubious injuries. So for the average Joe who doesn't necessarily play enough sport to risk daily injury, the following are my favourite everyday mishaps from an on-line chat room that could easily happen to anyone (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-129344.html):
The Perils Of Excretion
"On Saturday, I was finishing off on the toilet (FYI, fully clothed and folding the paper) and my back started to hurt. By the time I had flushed, I could barely stand up straight. I spent the rest of Saturday on the floor, dosed up with paracetamol and ibuprofen. So, my truly pathetic injury is... I put my back out while wiping my arse."
"I think I was thirteen. I wanted a can of Spaghetti Os and I wasn't sure which bowl was microwave safe. I opened the can, stuck in a metal spoon, and cooked it in the microwave for a minute and a half. I opened the microwave, grabbed the can with a pot holder, and grabbed the spoon with my bare hand - sort of like you'd hold a pencil. It took a moment to register the pain. I flung the spoon back over my head, and it nearly hit one of my friends in the forehead. My mum took me to the hospital after she got home from work - the doctors said something about third degree burns."
Bloody Clean Shoes
"As far as the most stupid, it's the most brainless injury I've ever seen... I was pressure cleaning my grandma's driveway and thought it would be a good idea to pressure clean my shoes with them on. It didn't dawn on me that the water pressure would push the tongue of my shoe out of the way, exposing my tender flesh. I didn't feel any pain at first, only the water on my foot, but when I looked down there was a fairly big gash on the top of my foot. The pain started a little while later."
"I fell off some bleachers during my Freshman Year. When I went to scoot over, I was sitting on the next highest row, and I did not notice that the adjacent set of bleachers had been pushed back in. Somehow I landed flat on my back and knocked myself out. It took me a couple of minutes to haul ass and stand to see a nurse. I missed half of the PEP rally, and watched the other bit lying on a bench. I got on the bus and made it down my Aunt's extra long driveway, told them what had happened and went to lie down. I ended up going to the emergency room to be x-rayed."
Potty For Tango
"Jogging on a very dark but relatively warm winter evening, I had my earphones on and was listening to a jazz station. When a tango suddenly came on, I of course had to do a couple of tango steps in the middle of the rural road in the dark while running. I've never tangoed in my life. You guessed it... I stepped into a pot-hole, broke my ankle and had to hobble a quarter of a mile to the nearest house where I called my wife to come and pick me up to take me to the nearest emergency room."
No top ten but a top five that hopefully reminds us we are only human after all and that if we find ourselves doing equally stupid things, we're not alone. What's your story? I'm betting everyone has one - even if it's a distant memory...