Last week one of my blogging buddies, Carl D’Agostino, posted this cartoon. I commented, “Ow, ow, ow! Sewed through my own finger once, long ago. My sympathies are entirely with Ed.”

To which Carl replied, “Hey, that would make a great post.”

This just proves my theory that cartoonists are fundamentally cruel people who delight in the suffering of others (which probably explains a lot about my recent foray into cartooning, come to think of it).

So, in the spirit of suffering = amusement, here are a few of the many ways I’ve managed to injure myself over the years. This one’s for you, Carl.

Yes, I did sew my own finger.  My beloved 50-year-old Singer doesn’t have a braking system that stops the needle immediately like modern machines, and several decades ago I took my foot off the control pedal but didn’t move my fingers quite fast enough.  Thunk, the needle went right through the middle of my fingernail. Fortunately it stopped when it hit bone. A bit of blood, some violent profanity, and a couple of weeks to heal, and I was all better.

Construction and automotive projects cost me knuckle-skin on a regular basis, and I consider that the price of admission. But there’s one type of knuckle injury that always fills me with a colossal sense of insult: My kitchen shelves bite me. Regularly.

The edges are sharp as hell, and the shelves are close together. When reaching for something in a hurry it’s far too easy to slam a knuckle into one of them, removing a neat and startlingly painful wedge of knuckle skin. That’s usually followed by a bellow of outrage and sometimes a savage kick at the nearest object, which is, of course, the lower cabinet. There’s a reason why I have good carpentry skills.  I’ve had lots of practice…

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably remember how I punched myself in the eye while kickboxing. That was actually pretty funny, once I recovered from the fear of a detached retina.

But probably the funniest injury I’ve ever sustained was the time I went barrelling out onto our smooth concrete front steps wearing snowy boots. The incident played out in agonizing slow motion:

  • My feet rocketing forward as if the porch was greased.
  • My boots flying up to approximately head-height.
  • My momentum carrying me past the top three steps, just to ensure maximum dropping distance before impact.
  • My mind uttering the most frequently-spoken last words on the planet: “Oh, shit!”
  • My butt crashing down on the edge of the bottom step.

But it didn’t end there. I’m in good shape. And every muscle was tensed to its utmost. You know the expression, ‘You could bounce a quarter off those abs’? Well, apparently you can bounce an entire human being off my ass.

Yes, I bounced. Off my left butt cheek. And landed sitting upright on the sidewalk, legs stretched neatly in front of me.

It’s good to know my core muscles are strong enough to maintain a perfect pike position even through catastrophic impact. So the up side was that I didn’t hit my head or my back on the stairs.

But it totally sucked to have a single spectacular bruise that I couldn’t display when I told the story…

Anybody else have an America’s Funniest Home Videos moment?

48 thoughts on “Ouch!

  1. This cartoon makes me flash back to a job I had many years ago making custom flags and repairing worn flags. We used an industrial machine that had two needles and two bobbins and went as fast as your arms could feed the cloth- or faster still. I had many close calls on that machine and caught a bit of outer dermus occasionally. One coworker was not so lucky. He omanaged two stitches into his finger before he could stop the machine. Both needles shattered and he was sent to the hospital to check for shards left inside his finger. It didn’t stop his sewing career and I have gone on to numerous minor punctures on all manner of sewing machines, industrial and tediously slow home sewing machines. These encounters with needles are so minor in comparison to Aydan getting grazed in the ankle with a bullet or pummeled by opponents or singed by a butain torch.


    • LOL! Maybe, but I think needles have a built-in cringe factor for most people. I always joke that there’s a little of me in everything I sew – it seems as though I usually end up with some minor puncture that bleeds into a seam allowance somewhere. But I enjoy sewing more since I stopped using pins for anything but the most complicated piecing. At least I always know where the sewing needle is…


      • You can count on producing the most blood whenever the cloth is white. I’ve made two wedding dresses which each had plenty of blood worked into the lace and beading. On the positive side, I managed a small crew of seamstress artisans who made about two thousand one-of-a-kind garments during my watch, and I don’t remember any blood getting on a single garment. The only machines we ever used were high speed industrial.


        • Wow, that’s an impressive safety record! I rented a high-speed industrial machine once so I could make a leather motorcycle jacket. It was great to have all that power at my fingertips (literally), but you can bet I was very, very careful! 😉


  2. As one of the most uncoordinated souls on the planet I have many to choose from but I will go back to my childhood. My Mom had a ringer washer…look up antique washers. It was electric and you put the clothes through two wooden rollers to squeeze the water out. The precursor to the modern spin cycle. I had long hair which I wore in pig tails. one of my pigtails got caught in the ringer pulling my head closer and closer to the machine. My screaming got my Mom’s attention and she hit the safety switch to release my hair just as my ear was pressed against the rollers. Can you say child hazards in the home? 🙂


    • Oh, those things were deadly! I did laundry with one for years. My mom taught me how to use it when I was a young teen, and the first thing she demonstrated was the emergency wringer release. Thanks to that, I never actually hurt myself, but it was such a pain when the clothes would wind themselves around and around the wringer and you’d have to stop the whole thing and unravel the mess. Good times…


      • We had one of those arm breakers too. I was too young to actually “do” the laundry but I put the clothes from the wringer into the rinse tub. My sister was the one that got her arm caught, broke just above the wrist. The wringers were so jammed that the release switch was jammed too. Mom, who had the strongest grip of any woman on the planet, took hold of the top and pried the wringers apart. To this day I can still see the broken bone and the look on her face and the look on my Mom’s face when she broke that thing apart. I had a whole new reason not to piss off my Mom after that!


  3. Despite having inadvertently proven that I cannot support my body weight with my left arm at full extension, by dint of dislocating said left arm at the shoulder … twice …. my best was actually an incident involving the lawn. I was outside, mowing the grass. I decided that the grass needed to be shorter than I was making it, so I stopped the mower – of course I stopped the mower! I’m not stupid, after all. I stopped the mower, then adjusted the wheels next to me. Being always economical of motion, which is not the same as lazy, thank you very much, I leaned over the mower to adjust the wheels on the other side. I realized I didn’t have the leverage to quite reach, so I leaned on the top of the mower with my right hand.

    Do you know what’s on the top of the mower? The exhaust manifold, it turns out. Can you describe the exhaust manifold of a gas mower that’s been running for 10 minutes or so? If you said, HOT, you’re right.

    There were two parts of this that were embarrassing. The first was that my wife insisted on driving me to the local ER/Clinic. This is not a full fledged ER or hospital, this is just a “patch them up, put it in a cast and send them on their way” type station. We walk in and the people behind the desk start panicking, telling us, “No, no! We’re not equipped, we can’t do this here?” That’s when I realized that they were looking at a man walking in under his own power next to his 8-and-a-half months pregnant wife. SOBUMD waved them off, pointed at me, and said, “Don’t worry, I’m with Stupid.”

    The worst part of the ER trip was that this time, SOBUMD was with me when the nurse asked me when my last tetanus shot had been. “Oh, I don’t remember, but certainly in the last 3 or 4 years,” said the guy who hates needles and really didn’t want a tetanus shot. “You liar,” pipes up my lovely bride, “We’ve been married more than 11 years and you haven’t had a tetanus shot since I’ve known you!” WHAM, right in the shoulder, like my body didn’t hurt enough already.

    But that wasn’t the MOST embarrassing part of the burn. That was reserved for the scar, which was, essentially, a brand. You see, the exhaust manifold of the mower assumes that you might not read English, so the warnings are in symbols. Specifically, there’s a picture of a hand – a right hand, even – inside a circle, with a big line through it – a universal Do Not Touch. This symbol, along with several of the holes from the exhaust manifold, was now neatly branded onto my palm.

    There are few things that have ever managed to highlight my own idiocy as effectively!


    • Ow, ow, ow!!! Talk about adding insult to injury! (I’m talking about the branded palm, not the tetanus shot. I’d do the same thing in SOBUMD’s place. Sorry, but that’s how we wimmenfolk look after our guys.)

      Still, though, if you made up a cool story to go with the scar, you could look like a real hero. Maybe something about saving a cute fuzzy animal from imminent slicing and dicing… but I recommend you don’t tell it in front of SOBUMD.


  4. To quote a wise person, “Oh, eww, oww!” you sewed through your finger? Aggh, the thought makes me cringe. Glad I don’t have a sewing machine anymore, because I’m never sewing again.


  5. It isn’t an official day for me if I haven’t cracked my hand against something hard. Often it’s a doorknob, one that I’ve managed to walk past, without injury, ten or fifteen times during the same afternoon. And then, I simply forget it’s there.

    But this is what will be haunting my dreams tonight:

    “…the needle went right through the middle of my fingernail. Fortunately it stopped when it hit bone.”


  6. Oh sure. I was putting away a card table and flipped it on its side to snap the legs into it, and I decided I could reach the bottom ones without rotating it (not sure why), which I couldn’t, but I did somersault over the whole thing and hit the wall. Also, once I ran full tilt at a sapling because I was certain it would yield and fling me back and it would be fun, but it didn’t move at all. Onlookers were amazed.


    • Oh, ouch! I never trust card tables – they’re accidents poised to happen, like malevolent little half-spiders on four spindly legs. But the sapling thing makes perfect sense to me – after all, you see it on the cartoons all the time, so it must be true…


  7. Oh mercy, the thought of a sewing machine needle going through any flesh makes me queasy. There’s many reasons I have retired a dozen or so Guardian Angels over the years and not enough RAM to post them here. One of my funniest ones involved a camping trip to a lake in No. California when I was roughly 12-13 years old. I was always a good swimmer, a strong one, but not so good at water sports involving skis, surfboards etc. I was talked into getting on some water skis and giving it a try. Never having done it before I figured why not? #1 reason not to was that the skis were way too big. #2 reason not to, the driver of the boat had been drinking beer most of the morning! #3 reason not to, my parents had told me not to go there in the first place! Sure, I always listened. After getting the skis on my feet and sliding to the waters edge, I was given the rope and told to bend at the knees and hang on. Boat took off, my butt left the edge of the water, I was hurled in the air and the skis came off. I fell back into the water and from then on I was in and out of the water like a dolphin! Each time I came up I could see 2 people on the boat waving but I never heard them when they said to “let go of the rope!” I was back under the water by that point. Someone finally got the driver to slow down and another driver came back for me. Outside of the fact that people on shore were laughing their arses off (not my parents, they were on the bank with arms folded and NOT smiling) I managed to not drown and only got minimal grounding. Never tried water skiing again. LOL


    • Ay-yi-yi! That’s the kind of thing that’s only funny for the onlookers. No wonder you never tried water skiing again – just reading your story is enough to make me say “No thanks”!


  8. I slammed the tip of my middle finger in a door when I was a kid. Sideways, so the whole fingernail popped up like the hood of a car. The pain left me so breathless I couldn’t make a sound. There’s a reason ripping off fingernails is an effective form of torture. *wry grin*


  9. At the end of winter once, Diane, I was rushing to reach the shop before it closed. Most of the snow had cleared apart from the odd patch here or there, one patch which was between me and the shop door. As I ran, my left foot went into this patch of remaining snow, my right foot then stepped on the dry ground again in front. My left foot then came forward, but on impact with the ground scooted forwards, dragging me completely into the air to about waist height. I then fell to the ground – and as you, promptly bounced. I got up, pretended nothing happened, and dashed into the shop. I bought my things, and then left the shop to find a group of ladies had gathered outside. I cringed as I heard one of them say “Here he is now…”
    You’ve done well when you bounce! (And sorry, but I was chuckling as I read this post… couldn’t help it!)


    • That’s okay, you made me chuckle, too, even while I was wincing in sympathy. I wonder what it is that makes us think we have to jump up and pretend nothing has happened? We’ve all fallen at some point; we all know how much it hurts and all we want to do is lie there and groan for a while, but we jump up anyway. It must be some bizarre holdover from evolution – “the injured ones get eaten first”! 😉


  10. Not exactly a flying accident… this true story, however, starts in the sitting-neatly-with-legs-splayed-in-front-of-me-position on Po’ipu beach in Kaua’i. A few years earlier taifoon Iliki had hit the island smashing many buildings, including a bunch of chicken coops. The released chickens are doing very well and can now be found everywhere, including the beach. There were roosters strutting about and hens with tiny, downy chicks in tow. One little chick strayed from Mama, hopped over one of my legs, continued up to my crotch, then hopped over the other leg and back to Mama. My hubby-dear was watching amused as this little tableau was unfolding. Then he said: “I don’t think I’d date that girl, she’s got Chickens”


  11. I took a stitch across the end of a finger once while sewing a parachute for a high power rocket a few years ago. In a classroom full of high school students. Not one of my better moments.

    A tie rod end broke on my first car, a ’66 Mustang, and my buddy and I bounced and rolled 600 feet down the side of a steep mountain. On the way down, he said, “Hey, is this any way to run an airline?” No kidding. We walked, or rather hobbled, away from it. It could’ve been worse. The car came to rest right side up, mostly, sideways against a scrubby bush. Two feet farther, and it was a couple hundred feet straight down. Not one of my better moments.

    I’d just gotten my driver’s license a hunnerd or two years ago, stopped at one of three stoplights in the tiny little town I grew up in. Making the last drag down main before heading for the house so I could be there a few minutes before my curfew. Wham, got rear ended by an older kid. I remember seeing the trunk lid pop up on my dad’s car just before bouncing my face off the steering wheel from hitting the stopped car in front of me. And yes, I was in big trouble when I got home for being late. And my neck wouldn’t move for a week or so. Not one of my better moments.

    There’s more. Lots more…



    • Holy SHIT! Are you sure you’re still alive?

      Hubby was lucky when the driver’s side A-arm broke on his ’69 Mustang. Dropped the chassis to the pavement and skidded to a (relatively sedate) halt, but it would’ve been a different story if it had happened just minutes before when he was driving a 100-km-hr stretch of busy 6-lane highway. You just can’t trust those ’60s ‘Stang front ends. But kudos to your buddy for wisecracking at a time like that!

      And, ah yes, the early driving years. I have a vivid memory of hitting corduroy on a gravel road and vibrating into a 4-wheel-drift with the steering wheel cranked over 180 degrees just to keep the rubber on the road… but I got away with it. Never mentioned that one to my parents…


      • Well, of course I’m alive. If ya wanna call this livin…

        /Rimshot/ 🙂

        Then there was the time when I was a mere child in the Army. Stationed on top of a mountain at a missile base. Lots of annual snowfall, and all the sidewalks were covered with those open-sided roof things you see sometimes in snow country. Occasionally, some clown would jump up, grab the rafters of the sidewalk cover roof, and monkey-bar into the mess hall. Hadn’t been done in a while, so I took it upon myself to do so. Wrong. My fingers slipped off the rafter as I swung under it, and I fell. Landed on left elbow and broke my arm. Duh. Eight weeks in a cast. One bright side out of this incident. It improved my pool game. I could plop the cast down on the table and shoot off of it. My hold on the cue stick was much better. My game went all the way up from horrible to merely awful. 🙂

        And then there was the time…nah, you get the picture…


        • As one of my friends always used to say when she hurt herself in a publicly embarrassing way: “Oh, agony and disgust!” I bet you didn’t hear the end of that for a while.

          I like shooting pool, but I’m not willing to break my arm to get better at it. I prefer to seek the performance-enhancing benefits of Optimum Beer Saturation Level (OBSL). It’s fleeting, but so much more enjoyable than broken bones.


          • OBSL is an absolutely real phenomenon. But isn’t it interesting how the level varies for different circumstances? For instance, for shooting pool, it’s between one and two beers. For getting over a freshly broken arm, it’s about six, maybe seven. For getting over the hangover the next morning, it’s two more. For getting everybody else off my back about the broken arm, it was just over two cases, more or less evenly distributed amongst them. 🙂


  12. Apparently you have nine lives. Careful. I’m not sure how many you have left based on your track record! Of course, I’m not one to talk. I broke my nose opening my fridge door once. One of my finer moments. Luckily it was a tiny inferior bone so no deformity, but it hurt like the dickens. And yes, I just said ‘dickens.’


    • OMG, owie!!! I think the worst part about those injuries is the knowledge that we’ve done them to ourselves. And if I am working on nine lives, I hope a camera’s around to capture my final one – I have a feeling it’ll be a doozy…

      P.S. Yes, you did. You did say ‘dickens’. 😉


  13. I once ran into a closed bedroom door so fast that I ricocheted clear across the bedroom, landing on the floor. (The lights were off, and I thought the door was open.) Luckily, I was unfazed. My cat did something similar, except she ran into the kitchen wall so fast (she heard a noise coming from the apartment next door) she ricocheted clear out of the kitchen and into the hallway. No video for either, unfortunately. They would’ve been contenders.


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