Friday, July 08, 2005

Dumb burns

Like a lot of people, we keep a candle on the toilet tank. After blowing out the match, I like to throw it into the toilet because it makes a very satisfying hissing sound. Last night I decided to light the candle and pitch the match into the toilet all while I was sitting on it. Knowing that my hand-eye coordination isn’t the best (especially when I’m not looking directly at what I’m doing) I surprised myself by being able to guide the still-hot match past my exposed posterior into the toilet without burning myself. I had to laugh thinking how embarrassing it would be trying to explain to my coworkers the next day why I wasn’t so keen on sitting down.

But it wouldn’t be the first time that I would have injured myself in a stupid way. More specifically, burned myself in a stupid way. Hell, my mom will gladly tell you that my very first word was “hot” and learned shortly after touching the hot stove.
The first time was at a roller rink. When I was growing up, we’d go to the local roller rink, High Roller. High Roller was covered from floor to ceiling with burnt-orange carpet, aside from the rink itself, of course. This included the 3-foot barrier walls around the rink. Not being extremely proficient at stopping when I wanted to, I would often just stop myself on these barrier walls. One day I hit the wall going a bit too fast, and proceeded to give myself some respectable carpet burns on my wrists. I still have a small scar on one of my wrists.

The second time was in my own bedroom. I had a reading lamp that clipped on to the headboard. While reading in bed one summer’s night, I heard something that made me want to stand on my bed to look out of the window (which was directly above the head of my bed). I know you can see where this is going – I leaned against the wall and in doing so, leaned my knee against the hot lamp. That was the worst burn I think I’ve ever gotten in my life. A big fat blister sprung up and looked like a worm clinging to my knee. It was disgusting.

As I grew up, I learned that I was not the only one who was able to burn themselves in stupid ways. In college I was friends with a girl who burned herself with a cigarette. I know, most of you know someone like this. But did your friend burn their nose with their cigarette while trying to do tricks with it? I can’t remember who it was (Chevy Chase comes to mind, but I could be wrong) but they could take a lit cigarette and through some dexterity of the lips and tongue, flip it back and into their mouth, then flip it back out again. This is what she was trying to do. I don’t think the alcohol helped her any.

Coming to work in the lab that I work in now, I met a rather “interesting” coworker. Because we work on a campus that is affiliated with a handful of hospitals, there are often advertisements posted by labs looking for human volunteers to take part in experiments. You could earn money by letting them take blood, perform lavages, etc. One day my coworker decides to take part in a sun block study. This requires him to test several sun block concoctions on his skin by rubbing them in, and then allowing the researchers to expose his skin to UV light. Being a fair-skinned man, all of his “test patches” ended up essentially sun burned. Where did the researchers decide was the best place on the body to conduct these tests? Just above his ass. He wasn’t shy about showing us the perfect little squares of red lined up across his skin.

Granted, that doesn’t really count as an accidental burn. But this same coworker does have a good accidental burn story. Those of you who have eaten a freshly cooked sausage or brat may have noticed that hot “juice” often comes out of the casing. If you’re not careful, you can spill or squirt this juice on your shirt, on your tablecloth, or on your neighbor. If it’s really not your day, you may squirt this hot juice on your skin and burn yourself. That is what my coworker did. Biting into a brat hot off the grill, hot juice squirted out of the brat and directly up his nose. Now that’s good aim. I don’t think he could do it again if he tried, not that he’d want to.

I hope you can learn something from our mistakes, and not just that you have to keep an eye on us around hot things, though that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.


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