Monday, April 14, 2008

Ah, nostalgia

Tonight, I got to take another parent, this time my dad, to the emergency room. During the annual burning-of-the-switch grass (helps growth), he not only managed to set his pants leg on fire, AGAIN, but he cut the hell out of one of his fingers, necessitating a trip for 5 stitches and a tetanus shot. Hmm, wonder if the cut had anything to do with the empty beer cans I saw on the tailgate of his truck? No...

See the "again?" He's done this once before. When I was in college, I was minding my own business, checking my email at one of the computer labs in Durham Center, when I saw a message from my mom entitled, "Dad's On Fire." He got a little over-enthusiastic with the gas can, and lit the entire hill by one of our ponds on fire.

He was panicking about this (it was getting awfully close to the house), when he noticed that his pants were smoldering. He jumped in the pond, and called the fire department. Dad had just recently retired as the town's assistant fire chief. Typical. He is a bit accident-prone. Just off the top of my head, he has-

-cut two fingers off with a hatchet, and had them re-attached (AT AGE 9)
-gotten heat exhaustion twice at fires, one of them before our family vacation to Florida. In August. I don't like to remember that one. He was a smidgen grouchy
-accidentally driven the lawn tractor into the pond. Mom was not amused

However, no injuries of his can compare with what my girls, Casey and Wendy, and I experienced one random Saturday night at Iowa State. We were, atypically, not out at the bars (because Wen's ex-fiance was acting, shall we say, a bit unhinged. But that's another story), and were hanging out at our friend Ken's apartment, which he shared with another friend, John.

John is, er, unique. And in college, we all drank quite a bit. Okay, a lot. Hello,
Iowa State? Anyway, we were hanging at Ken and John's apartment watching, if memory serves, 'Orgasmo,' when John came staggering in the door, heading straight for the bathroom. This was not unusual.

However, when he hadn't emerged 10 minutes later, Wen went to check on him. John was laying on the absolutely disgusting toilet, bleeding profusely. We were alarmed. John insisted he'd go to the doctor in the morning. We were even more alarmed.

So, Wendy, being a take-charge individual, told him "You may go to the hospital by Monte* or you may go by ambulance. You choose." He decided former route. Wendy stayed back with Ken, and Casey and I took drunkass down to the Monte.

As the car was really new at the time, I was a bit concerned about having, you know, BLOOD, all over it, so I made John put his seat belt on and hang his arm out the window. This was all well and good until Johnny decided that he needed a smoke. Then I made him hang his whole upper body out the window.

We arrived at the hospital, where shockingly enough in a college town on a Saturday night, the ER was packed. So Case took the bleeding inebriate in, and I parked the car. When I joined her in the waiting area, Casey was in tears laughing. This is the scene as I remember it-

Check-in nurse- "Why are you here?"

John- "I fell somehow and cut my arm."

Check-in nurse- "Was alcohol involved?"

John (holding up gash in the arm)- "What do you think? Oh God, don't tell my mom."

Check-in nurse- "Son, if you're on her insurance, she's going to find out eventually."

Case about wet her pants. So, while we were waiting for them to sew Johnny back up, we noticed a whole bunch of jacket-wearing sorority and fraternity-types, sitting huddled together and looking upset. We took one look at each other and said at the same time, "Alcohol poisoning." We are actually that mean sometimes.

Anyway, 17 stitches later, John emerged and tried give hugs to express his thanks in taking care of him. We declined, as when John fell and cut his arm (we believe maybe at an adjacent construction site), he somehow managed to roll in dog shit. Yes, in my new car, all in the same night, we had smoke, blood and animal excrement.

Believe it or not, this is one of my tamer college stories. Why yes, we all read entirely too much Hunter S. Thompson, why do you ask? Actually, I think Ken still has my dog-eared copy of 'Fear and Loathing.' Bastard.

Next in the "Cygirl's (vague) Recollections From College" series- "Dumb Things My Guy Friends Did While Drunk And/Or Stoned." Yes, Casey, this includes the legendary cheesecake and turkey incidents...

*my car, the Monte Carlo. I know, such a clever nickname.

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