The *Stoopid Accident* Hall of Fame
Over the weekend: a new entry
in the Stoopid Accident Hall of Fame.
Until now, my "Six Pack of Root
Beer Dropped on Big Toe" (1993) has held the top spot ... followed
closely by "Toxic Lasagna" (1987), "Flaming Oven Mitts of Doom" (1998)
and "Rusty Nail Through Bottom of Wafflestomper" (1973). I'm not even
counting the assorted car wrecks, contusions and cheap-chablis-related
injuries I've racked up over the years. Let's just say that for a
couple of decades, I was on a first-name basis with the nice folks at
the TicTac General Emergency Room.
But Daughter #1 managed to zoom
to the top of the Hall of Fame on Saturday, and she didn't even have
to fall out of a tree this time to do it.
David and I got home from our
ride late Saturday afternoon: a long, meandering ride over on the Marin
County side of the Bay, riding along the Nicasio Reservoir. We saw the
message light blinking on our answering machine the moment we walked
through the door. This is almost never a good thing ... especially on a
Saturday. Usually it means that our Saturday night plans are about to
change in some fundamental, unexpected, generally not-good way. We
looked at the little blinking light, and then we looked at each other. Do
we really want to listen to it right now?
"Let's nap for half an hour,"
David suggested, "and then we'll listen to the message."
Forty seconds later he was
sound asleep -- he was snoring before I'd even finished pulling my bike
shoes off, basically -- but even though I was seriously wiped out from
the bike ride, I couldn't seem to drift off. That blinking message
light was bugging me. What if it's one of the Tots?
Lately, it's been one crisis after another in TicTac: dental
emergencies, legal emergencies, financial emergencies, PaintShop Pro
emergencies. ("How do I get that little squiggly line to go
away?") I knew I wasn't going to rest easy until I knew for
sure that everybody was OK.
So while David slept, I tiptoed
out to the kitchen and quietly pushed the button on the answering
It was Daughter #1. "Hi
Mom," her message said, in the voice I instantly
recognized as the I Hope You're Sitting Down Voice. "I've
just ... uhh ... gotten back from the emergency room. I hurt my hand
today, in a really stoopid way" -- here
she laughed a little, but it was laughter tinged with pain and
embarrassment -- "and I'll tell you all about it when you
And then she added, quite
needlessly: "So call me, OK?"
The 43,897,621 different ways
she might have "hurt her hand" flashed before my eyes like a series of
grim Public Service Announcements. This is the family that invented
the Stoopid Accidents Hall of Fame, after all. Did she set her oven
mitts on fire? Did she get her finger stuck in a plastic gingerbread
house? Did she lop off half her thumb with a rusty Benchmade automatic?
Without even stopping to catch my breath, I dialed her at home -- the
TicTac rental house she shares with a platoon of roommates -- but I got
the communal answering machine instead of a live person.
Jaymi know that her mother is trying to get hold of her," I said to the
machine, keeping my voice very level, very calm, very
non-Hysterical-Mom. Next I tried her cell phone, but it rang a couple
of times and then clicked over to voicemail. Frustrated, I disconnected
without leaving a message. I wanted live, not Memorex.
Finally I tried her at Joel's.
She picked up the phone on the second ring.
"Hi Mom," she said --
either through the magic of mother/daughter telepathy or Caller ID, I'm
not sure which -- and right away she assured me she was OK, she was
still breathing, nothing was broken or bleeding or permanently
disfigured. In fact, the doctors said she would probably be able to
play the ukelele again someday.
It was then that the full story
She woke up late on Saturday
morning, ravenously hungry, and decided to cook herself a chicken pot
pie for "breakfast." (Yeah, I know. They grow up and move out on their
own, and suddenly they forget all about oatmeal and One-A-Days and
Mom's World Famous Breakfast Scramble.) After her pot pie was cooked,
she took it out of the oven and carried it into her bedroom and set it
down on her nightstand, on top of a stack of magazines, to cool off a
little before she ate it ... except that she didn't set it down
securely enough, and after a couple of seconds the pie started to slide
off the top of the magazines, heading for the floor. She reflexively
reached out to grab it.
The next thing she knew: she
was wearing that chicken pot pie like a catcher's mitt.
If you've ever scalded the roof
of your mouth with a bite of straight-out-of-the-oven chicken pot pie,
you know how hot that stuff can get: it's like shovelling a forkful of
molten asphalt into your mouth. Imagine how much worse it must be to
stick your entire HAND into the middle of one of
these little lava pools. Plus the gravy in a pot pie is stickier than
carpenter's glue. The instant she plunged her hand into the pie, all of
that gluey chicken gravy adhered to the tender crevices and sensitive
creases between her fingers like an Elmer's glove. By the time she
managed to dash to the sink and rinse it off with cold water, her right
hand was pretty thoroughly parboiled.
"The doctor says he doesn't
think it's going to blister," she said. "But I'll have to go back to
the hospital tomorrow to make sure."
I told her how glad I was to
hear that it wasn't anything more serious, and how relieved I was to
know she wasn't injured badly, and how proud I was that she'd had the
presence of mind to go to the emergency room.
And then, to my absolute horror
... I giggled.
I'm willing to bet that there's
a special place in hell for mothers who giggle at their children's
Stoopid Accidents. (The non-traumatic/non-life-threatening variety of
Stoopid Accident, I mean. If this had been anything more than a minor
burn, you'd better believe I would be writing to you from TicTac, even
as we speak.) But I couldn't help it. It was the sheer poetic
ludicrousness of the incident that did it. Sticking your hand
in a chicken pot pie?? That sounds like something *I* would
have done at her age. (Hell. It sounds like something I would do at MY
age.) I had to struggle for a long, painful moment to get my emotions
under control before I could speak again.
"Congratulations," I told her
finally ... my sides aching from all that unspent mirth. "You win."
And then we both burst into
Daughter #1 may not have
inherited my blue eyes or my bad teeth or my little round chin. She may
have completely bypassed my crappy money management skills and my
fondness for pseudo-reality TV shows. But there's no doubt about it:
she's definitely inherited my *Stoopid Accident* gene.
And my sense