I have a bone to pick with God. Now usually I’m not one to complain. I’ve got it pretty good. I mean my life includes all the luxuries of living in the first world. Which I recognize, and am entirely thankful for.
If I could just change one thing about myself. It would be to be a better bruiser.
I realize this may seem an odd request, but hear me out. Under many circumstances as a hockey player (and as an athlete participating in other athletic activities of athleticism) I have been hit by a small rubber projectile. (It is important to note the projectiles I have been pelted with are not exclusively made of rubber.) Other athletes on my teams have, inevitably, also collided with fast moving objects, and they later wear their bruise with an air of pride. “I am a tough, hard core, athlete.” They seem to gloat as they walk around with blue soccer ball imprints on their thighs, purple lacrosse ball marks on their calves, red stick burns on their biceps, and a rainbow of colors spreading across their forearms from a blocked puck. This has never been me, and I am green with envy.
While playing at Quinnipiac I was hit by a slapshot in the back of the calf. If you’re familiar at all with hockey shin pads (or any shin pads) you will know, that the calf is not actually protected. Some hockey shin guards have some sort of thin fabric that wraps around the sides of the calf, providing no real protection. They were not designed to protect the back of the player. Which usually isn’t a problem. Usually. On this fateful day it was a problem for me, as a 5’10” 220 lb defender wound up for a slapshot that I was vaguely in the way of. As I rotated the puck made direct contact with my calf. I am at a loss for words to truly describe the feeling of being nailed in the calf by a puck, but I remember no longer feeling my leg from the point of impact down. However, I was not distressed. Surely, I thought, this would result in a beautiful badge of honor and courage. (If you missed it, this girl was five foot ten and weighed two hundred and twenty pounds – that leads to a damn hard slapshot). And yet….oh, how very wrong I was.
I recently had the opportunity of bearing an equally majestic mark, and was, again, brutally denied. In practice the other day I played penalty kill as a forward. I have never been scared to get hit by the puck, so I lined up perfectly with the defender, and she proceeded to fire off a slapshot, despite there not being an opening to the net, as I am *tops* two meter away (approximately 6 feet for my immetrical friends). Putting my feelings about the legitimacy of this act aside, that shit hurt. The puck met the top of my knee, just above the thick protective plastic. Awesome. The initial impact wasn’t actually that painful. My entire lower leg just went dead. No big deal. Except for the fact that it made skating to the bench more difficult than usual. I iced it, and then (choosing to ignore the good advice of my high school athletic trainer – that once you ice you’re done for the day) continued to play penalty kill. The difficulty of this was increased because I could no longer push off my left leg in the normal forward skating pattern. I played 3 or 4 more PK shifts before deciding it was a good idea to get off the ice. With hopes my knee wouldn’t swell to twice it’s size, thus allowing me to participate in the two games my team had in the next two days. Adding insult to injury, the equipment manager said, nonchalantly, as I was leaving, “well looks like you’ll have a good bruise tomorrow!” No. No, sir, unfortunately, I won’t.
On Sunday, after playing through both my games in full (a personal accomplishment I was secretly proud of) my knee finally showed some sign of swelling. And! A tiny, penny sized, bruise. Really? A PENNY!?! Come on. Can’t put my full weight on my left leg, and all I get is a damn penny sized bruise?!?
I guess I should count myself lucky that it was even that big. (I should note that the use of two compression sleeves, and foam was used to delay and diminish swelling – it is entirely possible this would have been worse without these nifty little inventions – thanks Skelley).
In conclusion, my main reason for wanting to be a better bruiser is because I don’t actually believe that these incidents would have hurt any more if I were. I would just have external proof of how ridiculously painful it was to be hit by the puck in these circumstances. It hurt like a bitch, all I ask is for a respectable bruise to commemorate the injury for the next week or so. Too much to ask?
On the same note, mostly in that it relates to injuries to my person, I am a profuse bleeder. Work is a very dangerous place. Putting aside the insulation (yes my work involves yellow fiberglass insulation) which I will address fully at a later date, I would like to focus on sharp objects. There are two main sharp objects I deal with on a daily basis, and they are exacto knives and rings.
I know what you’re thinking. Who would trust me with an exacto knife? (Or maybe you’re wondering how a ring could be sharp?) Well I’ll tell you!! My employers, and these are no ordinary rings. No, they were not forged in the fiery depths of Mordor, BUT they are equally as formidable. They are metal (some sort of steel mixture, I assume) and range from 80-315 mm in diameter (or 80-315 inches in circumference – the exact details are lost on me, but I am not overly concerned about this). They are forged here in Linköping at a seemingly harmless machine. But I can see through the veneer of innocence. This machine diabolically carves flat, kind, metalic rings into sharp, warped creatures. (I mean that they become warped literally, because the machine does bend and shape the original metal into a new shape. However calling them ‘creatures’ is merely a literary device.)
The other night I was experiencing my first night shift. I feel neither extremely positive nor extremely negative about the experience…in theory. I get paid more to work into the wee hours of the morning, positive. I got a pea sized chunk carved out of my knuckle by a devilish ring that I had previously attached to a tube, negative.
I realize that usually when someone says ‘it was the size of a pea!’ they are referring to an unbelievably small thing, that they would have expected to be bigger. (Insert penis joke). Or people are reminiscent of ‘the princess and the pea’ where the princes is so sensitive that even the smallest of food items, a pea, will disrupt sleep when placed under numerous mattresses. So I want you to think about this concept for a moment. A chunk of my skin was gouged from my knuckle, and it was the size of a pea. I could place a pea into the now gaping hole in my hand.After removing my “protective” glove I saw the hole in my hand, and I will admit, I become slightly concerned as blood began to bubble up out of it. So, I went to the first aid station to attend to my hand, and upon returning to the scene of the crime I examined my assaulter and found, you guessed it, a PEA sized chunk of flesh still attached to the tube.
I was grossed out.
The exacto knives are actually relatively harmless; mostly I just poke myself with them accidentally when I’m not focusing. Which does get annoying, but I have no one to blame but myself.
In this, my second conclusion, I would like to file my official complaint to God: if I’m such a profuse bleeder, why do I not bruise?! Please rectify this at your convenience.
Now that I’ve completed my thought, I may want to reconsider the notion of ‘if I could only change one thing…’ But then again, maybe not.