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"Off!; Off! Again"

[written Feb. 19, 2001]

Another childhood story. I don't know why I share with you guys; you never share back. *sniffle*

Back when I lived in a small town in Ohio, where we had a hugeass front lawn as big as a football field and a tennis court across the street and a graveyard behind the house and little berry patches that my parents tended to (sigh...), my parents went out with my brother babysitting me. He was hanging out with his buddy and somehow I ended up by the garage. Don't ask me why. I vaguelly remember standing outside the garage with a bottle of Off!, that wondrous bug repellent spray.

Anyway, I must've been trying to figure out which way the nozzle was pointing when I sprayed it out...directly into my eyes. Brilliant! But I didn't know better at the time, I guess, being only 5 or 6 or something like that? It's really weird that I remember any of this at all, but only small patches of it. Somehow I ended up in the hospital (I don't remember what happened exactly) and the doctor was flushing water into my eyes to get the Off! out, which always sucks because you have to keep your eyes open while you know that shit is coming down into your eye. It's like that damn glaucoma test at the optometrist. One day we will have our revenge and turn the air shooter the other way...on that poor assistant with the flowery print scrubs on!!

To this day my parents and my brother ask me why I ever sprayed that Off! stuff into my eyes. I still don't know. I'd like to think that it doesn't require experience to learn that you have to figure out which way a nozzle is pointing before you shoot it, and maybe everyone has this experience?, but it was much like those corny satire movies you see of some stereotypical Indian guy with some towel from the local store on his head (for authenticity of course) who picks up a bazooka and points it the wrong way, destroying his whole camp. I mean, my situation could've been worse.

The best part of the whole story, I'm told, is that not too long after, I picked up ANOTHER Off! bottle and sprayed it in my eyes AGAIN! What was I THINKING?

My parents must've thought they'd given birth to a complete idiot (and maybe they still do) and that I'd have a whole life of being a clutz. Luckily though I've managed twenty-three years without much harm to my body. Almost everything has been stitches from throwing my body around in various places (gash on my arm from landing on some aluminum siding playing football, huge gushing wound under my chin from playing basketball, a scar on my forehead from my car accident), and I've only sprained my ankle a few times (the last time a long time ago) and dislocated my thumb (in said car accident). Other than that I've been very well off.

So I guess I surprised my parents in one respect at least, after those two identical incidents... I'm sure my brother still feels like he was made responsible for not watching over me, and maybe he still holds it against me, subconsciously. I'll never know for sure.

Sometimes I look back at the mistakes I've made and wondered if I will commit them again, or if I am sensible enough to learn from them. I like to think I do, or at least take precautions such that I never have the chance to make them again. But I've begun to linger about the thoughts that most of my accidents were things I didn't even remember consciously doing (Off!, car accident, to name a couple), and wondered why they happened if I didn't do them myself.

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