When the doctor on call drew back the hospital curtain, he looked my way and said, “Injury to the face, huh? Nice.”
“Thanks,” I said. I would’ve rolled my eyes but it hurt too much. “Will I need stitches?”
“Not unless you want me to reopen the wound,” he said, reopening my wound as he poked my face. “I would recommend a tetanus shot.”
The real question is why was I in the hospital? That’s a good story. It all started the day I smashed my face at Circus World.
Around this time four years ago, I had just finished reading Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. I loved this book. Loved it.
While researching the author, I learned she did quite a bit of research on traveling circus shows in none other than Baraboo, WI at the Circus World Museum. Winter resting grounds of the legendary Ringling Brothers, Baraboo was just a two hour drive away.
I called up my bestie and invited her on a road trip.
Armed with licorice and mix cds, we headed for a place I was ecstatic to go.
The Circus World Museum contains the largest collection of vintage circus wagons, a room full of circus organs, and costumes, photographs and advertisement posters of the greatest trapeze artists, sideshow freaks, clowns, and their animal counterparts around.
I was engrossed. I needed to explore every inch.
And I wanted photographic evidence I had been there.
I was enamored with the magic of the circus. I took pictures with every cutout image I could stick my face in. I took shots of circus miniatures and mannequin sideshow freaks. The only thing I didn’t photograph was the cheeseburger I ate for lunch at the picnic table, and that’s because Instagram wasn’t a thing yet so I didn’t know the world would WANT to see my cheeseburger from the circus.
I got to feed an elephant, you guys. She was beautiful and her name was Tiny. The owner had an animal rescue plantation down in Florida. Tiny’s parents were killed by poachers and he took her in. As she grew up, she wandered in and out of their house – when she could fit – and when she was bigger, stuck her long trunk in through the windows to greet the family.
Tiny was just like Rosie in Water for Elephants. And I was pretending I was Reese Witherspoon, forming an unbreakable connection with this exotic beast.
I was in a bibliophile’s wet dream!
I was seriously having one of the best times of my life because I felt like I was walking through the world of this book that made me fall in love with the circus.
You could say I got a little carried away.
I was off snapping pictures again. Running both to and from my friend in a harried frenzy. Along the cement sidewalk was one of the old animal cages they used to hitch to a horse or truck for parades. It was open. We could go inside.
“Take my picture,” I told my friend, handing her the camera.
With the reckless abandon of an animal that’s been freed, I headed toward the cage, running at full force up the metal stairs and through the doorway.
Almost through the doorway…
In my blind enthusiasm, I failed to notice that the doorway was shorter than I was, and therefore ran smack into the metal frame which clanged in revolt and propelled my head backwards.
Down the path I heard someone’s father say, “OHMYGOD, are you ok?”
Not even a concussion could stop me from enjoying the circus. Without a single second’s delay, I ducked into the circus cage, grabbed a hold of the bars and feigned normality by bearing my teeth and shouting once more to my friend, “Take my picture!”
“No,” was all she said.
“Am I bleeding?”
I put my hand to my face, which yes, throbbed from its introduction to the doorframe moments ago, but I assumed I was fine.
When I pulled my hand back down it was full of blood.
My friend stood in the grass a few yards away. Speechless.
She ran to me in the cage, threw our stuff down on the floor and said she was going to get some paper towel.
Which left me, for the record, bleeding from the face – in no less than 3 places – from the inside of an animal cage in the middle of Circus World.
Children were running up with their parents to go inside and stopping midway up the stairs. They didn’t expect to see a demon inside.
After what seemed like hours, my friend returned with two handfuls of paper towel.
“I’m sorry! The first person I found, it was like her first day, so she didn’t know where the bathrooms were, and I had to run all the way to the front entrance to get these,” she explained out of breath. “But look at you! Not a drop of blood on your white shirt!”
Both my arms were covered in blood however because I’d used them to plug up all the holes on my face.
“Do I look like Carrie?” I asked, embarrassment settling in.
“Let’s get you to the ladies’ room.” And that’s the sign of true friend.
So the emergency room. I awoke the next morning with two black eyes, a baseball size lump on my forehead, and a chunk – one might say a divot – of skin missing from the bridge of my nose.
Oh, and because I’m not athletic in the slightest, I didn’t know I should’ve iced. *sigh*
You know what? I still enjoyed the circus. After cleaning myself up, frightening more families in the process, I put on some sunglasses and headed into the hippodrome with my bestie.
Damn that was a good time!
Tell me about a time you faced disasters
and still managed to come out smiling.
Or, I’m still in the market for a good scar minimizer.
Got any suggestions?
This blog was originally published as The Devil Made Me Do It in June 2013 as a guest post for Renee Schuls-Jacobson‘s So Wrong blog series. It’s an embarrassing and true tale from my past that I think really portrays the finer details of true love and underpants. Some edits have been made to update the post.
I am a picture-perfect citizen.
I pay my bills on time. I vote. I use hand signals while driving if one of my lights has burned out. One would assume I have control over my bowels.
Let me backup. My husband and I take a vacation together each summer. We’ve traveled to Portland, Oregon and eaten Voodoo Donuts; we’ve visited Toronto, Ontario and viewed the skyline from the CN Tower. Two summers ago, we decided to take a road trip out west. Starting in the Badlands, we made our way to Yellowstone National Park. It was a fabulous trip.
Except for the day we toured Devil’s Tower.
That August day, the temperatures climbed into the 90’s. Being a mature adult, I was prepared. I packed and wore sunscreen. I drank water all morning. I used the bathroom before we left!
It didn’t matter.
We started our hike around the base of the tower. We weren’t too far in when I felt a rumbling in my gut. I asked to sit on a bench for a minute, pretending to enjoy the view. There was a fleeting moment when I thought to myself, “I should turn back… I COULD turn back… The smart thing to do would be to turn back.”
But alas, that’s not the way this story goes.
It became crystal clear, halfway around the tower, that my mind and body were not at peace. In fact, they were in deep negotiation. And things were getting heated.
When the cramping got so bad that I had to sit down again, I started weighing my options.
1.) I could try to skulk off somewhere. I had every intention of doing just that if it wasn’t for the unsuspecting family giving their children piggy back rides nearby. There was nowhere far enough out of eyesight for me to go.
2.) I could stay on the bench and breathe. This wasn’t really working all that well so far, but a girl can pray. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the cramping is with me…”
3.) I could jump off the cliff’s edge and end my misery once and for all.
In retrospect, I wish I’d chosen the cliff.
Because that’s when I shit my pants.
“Sweet Virgin Mother, what the hell just happened?!”
The worst part was telling my husband (who was my boyfriend at that time) what had occurred. How would he ever look at me with any sense of romance or mystery again? I considered myself a dignified person. But I had just shit my pants! In public! And we were only halfway around Devil’s Tower!
Nothing – and I mean nothing – will ever compare to the cold, wet, mall-walker sprint that I made during my descent from Devil’s Tower. And my husband-then-boyfriend, wonderful man that he is, tried to cheer me up on our journey.
“You’re almost there! You got this! On the bright side, I don’t smell anything!” he shouted from a few yards behind me.
Making my way to the crowded public bathroom, I took note of the collateral damage. The underwear was a goner. I was just lucky I wore full coverage undies that day and not a thong.
I shimmied out of my underwear, wrapped my soiled mess in TP, and dumped everything in the plastic bin where women leave their feminine hygiene products. Then I said a little prayer for the park custodian, cleaned myself up, and walked back to the car no longer feeling feminine or hygienic.
So the moral of the story is sometimes even the best of adults crap their pants. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have someone by your side cheering you on with an upbeat, “You got this!” and “I don’t smell anything!” And when you find that special someone…
Ask them to buy you new underwear.
There you have it, my dirty little secret. Has this ever happened to you?
Sweet Mother Mary, tell me I’m not alone!
Post Script… I thought it’d be a fun fact to share with you all that the desktop image on my laptop is a picture of Devil’s Tower. It reminds me to have a sense of humor about life…and to pack extra undies when traveling.
That is exactly what my doctor told me.
Last Thursday Evening:
I sat down at my laptop to get some work done, but I had a tension headache interfere with my productivity. So I took it upon myself to stretch my neck out.
Those of you who’ve been hanging out here for awhile…would you call me an impatient woman?
I’ve fully admitted I’m more of a “boot camp” over “baby steps” kind of girl. So, I stretched my neck with both hands on my head until…ZING!!
I managed to pull a muscle in my neck. Conveniently on the opposite side of my tension headache.
Friday Afternoon at my Emergency Chiropractor’s Visit:
He REFUSED to do an adjustment because my muscles were too inflamed. AND, he made me take X-Rays.
So I spent my Labor Day weekend on the couch with an ice pack behind my head.
Fast Forward to Tuesday Afternoon’s Chiropractor’s Visit:
Entering the exam room with the excitement of what I can only describe as medicinal glee – not unlike children who skip on playgrounds – my doctor slapped my X-rays up on the chart.
Doc: “Take a look!”
Me: *stares at the underwire from my bra that shows up* Awkward!
Doc: “See that.” (points to my hips) “Your left hip is sitting lower than your other one. I’m betting your headaches stem from a bigger issue. When did you stop growing?”
Me: *stares at floor, mumbles* “Middle School”
Doc: (laughing) “Well, we’re gonna measure your legs today and see if my hypothesis is true. But you see how your spine kind of curves from your hips and then over-corrects itself again at the base of your skull?”
Me: “Sooo, you’re saying I’m deformed?”
Doc: “Yes, exactly.”
Me: “And I probably have a gimp?”
Doc: “Most likely.”
So according to my X-ray, my profile picture should look like Nosferatu.
I figure in a few years, I’ll only post pictures of my good side. (which will be what? My left earlobe? God, I hope something stays in place.)
For now, I’ll just take my gimp leg with me and go back to icing.
How was your week?
Today I’m guest blogging at the fabulous Renee Schuls-Jacobson‘s blog as part of her #SoWrong Series. If you haven’t been following along, you can find links to all the past posts by clicking the eyeball below. And trust me, they’re worth a read! TOTALLY MAKE YOUR WEEKEND kind of material here, folks.
Get ready to hear my most embarrassing moment EVER! Before today, only 3 people in the whole world knew what happened at Devil’s Tower that fateful afternoon. And ONLY for Renee, would I dare to share it now. And of course, with all of YOU! Here’s hoping we can still be friends! 😀
I’m so pleased to welcome our first Guilty Pleasures Guest of the year! If you haven’t been following Julie Glover on her blog Threading the Labyrinth, you’re missing out! With posts on wordplay and word games, ROW80 motivations, and even High School memories, Julie is a fun and inspiring blogger! Just check out her bio!
As a city girl from the Lone Star State, Julie Glover owns both go-go boots and cowboy boots; has been to Broadway shows and rodeos; enjoys chateaubriand and rattlesnake sausage; and likes Led Zeppelin and Rascal Flatts. When she isn’t daydreaming about a personal chef or wrestling the family’s laundry, Julie pens mysteries and young adult fiction.
Thanks so much for kicking off our Guilty Pleasure Fridays, Julie! Can’t wait to hear what no good you’re up to! Take it away!
When I received word from Jess that I would get to write a guest post about my guilty pleasure, I struggled with the topic:
Um, okay, what’s my guilty pleasure? *tapping fingers on desk* Guilty pleasure, guilty pleasure… *tapping*
I can’t think of anything! I have NO guilty pleasures.
Am I doing nothing decadent?! What happened to the rebel I once was? Was I ever a rebel? Sheesh.
I’m not perfect. I’m plenty guilty. I swipe my son’s chocolate when he’s not looking and neglect housework so long that a HazMat team might simply throw up their hands. I can be selfish and annoying. But I’m not proud of that. It’s not pleasurable.
So what do I take pleasure in…that maybe I shouldn’t do quite so much?
Aha! Embarrassing my kids.
Which isn’t hard now that they are both teens.
I don’t want to cause permanent shame or public humiliation or spur my children to consider joining the circus instead because those people must draw less attention than their uncool mother. But hey, they embarrassed me like crazy when they were toddlers throwing fits in Walmart, Chuck E. Cheese, McDonald’s, you-name-it!
A sampling of the payback:
Mama in Pajamas. A couple of years ago, my sons kept missing the bus and asking me to drive them to school. Taking them there and returning home sucked about 30 minutes out of my day. That’s 30 minutes I could be cleaning, writing, painting my toenails. Unacceptable!
I explained that I would happily take them to school if they missed the bus. But I would wear whatever I happened to have on. Note that the rest of my family showers and leaves before I even start my daily grooming.
The first time my son missed the bus, I drove him to school in my jammies, robe, slippers and let him out in the car line.
The second time he missed, I parked the car. And walked him to the entrance—jammies, robe, slippers.
That evening, my husband suggested to me and said son that I give him a goodbye hug next time. After all, our son needed to know how much we love him.
He was never late again. *grin*
Mama Loves You. The threat that I might kiss a kid in public is enough to send either boy into pleas for mercy. Those little boys who once gave me big hugs and smackeroos when they were in preschool are now young men who prefer to save their lips for future girlfriends.
Yet I constantly try to give those big boys some much-needed PDA. And I snapped this pic, which could be used at any time to embarrass my son on Facebook.
Oh wait. I guess I already did it here. *grin*
Mama Has Sex. This is a shocker to all children everywhere, right?
If we ever want to clear the room, all my husband and I need to do is melt into one another’s arms and let our mouths comingle. Four rolled eyes and five seconds later, our kids are nowhere to be seen.
But our vocal flirtations really leave my kids blushing crimson and me tickled pink. For instance, the time during dinner when my husband alluded to his desire to see me shirtless left my sons speechless.
Guess they know now. Mama and Daddy didn’t just do it those two times. *grin*
I threaten to embarrass my kids more than I do. Since I have managed to embarrass my kids a time or two or twenty, they’re never quite certain when I might act. Keeping your kids on edge a little can be a good thing.
In case my sons are reading this post, I want to assure them that my karaoke act is ready at any time that the music piped through grocery store so moves me. I kept all of your naked baby pictures. And the school dance needs more chaperones, especially ones who can teach both the Chicken Dance and Gangnam Style.
Thanks again Julie for guest posting! Remind me not to get on your bad side, I fear the repercussions! I can just see it now, you walking into the DFW Writers Conference in your jammies, robe and slippers!
Got a guilty pleasure story to share? Can you top Julie’s embarrassing kid stories? Share with us!