Pulling Teeth and the First Time Flyer

Don’t know why I’m thinking of this. Yes I do, some of the guys at work were talking about childhood injuries, including losing teeth after an unfortunate face plant on the floor, or during those wonderful tooth pulling sessions we all went through.

One co-worker mentioned that when he was losing his first set of teeth his father would count to three before pulling a tooth out. He said it was murder waiting for the countdown to end, anticipating what was about to happen.

My father had a different approach. Just like my co-worker’s dad he would begin counting to three, but he’d yank the tooth at two and a half. GWAH! Talk about timing. He may have paused just a beat longer but, whatever the rhythm, it worked every time. I didn’t expect it.

It still hurt like hell, but somehow I saw the logic through my watery eyes. The unexpected surprise, and the smirk on my dad’s face afterward, always made me laugh.

Ah, here’s to childhood teeth pulling and other assorted childhood injuries. Fond memories indeed. I guess this is as good a time as any to go ahead and reminisce about a few others…

Do you dare recall your own misadventures and misfortunes of childhood trauma? We’ll leave the worst cases alone and just laugh, or cringe, about the ones we fully recovered from.

I never lost any teeth in a fall, but…

Have Wheels Will Fly!

It was a beautiful summer afternoon. I was about 14 years old, riding my circa 1981 Mongoose BMX bike, complete with a handlebar pad my father made out of pipe insulation. I was zipping along the street, racing out of the little lake community where I was raised, bound for “Rich’s Deli” out on the main highway.

Yep, Rich’s Deli. That’s where my friends and I would gather to pick up Suzi-Qs, Honey Buns and Mountain Dew. Perfect fuel since we spent most of our weekends and summer days pedaling for miles around the streets and woods near our homes.

Keep in mind this is the first time I had ever flown, so it was really quite terrifying.

The knobby tires on my bike grabbed at the earth, pulling me up the grassy bank along the side of the road. They gripped the dirt as I tracked along a well worn bike path, weaving along the crest of the bank, between trees on the left and hedge rows on the right.

Some exposed tree roots provided excellent obstacles, each an opportunity to catch air with some well planned hops. Unfortunately I didn’t clear them all. Poor planning prompted me to become a quick study in the art of the “nose wheelie,” but the bike stayed put, and I assumed the swan dive pose as my body soared unhindered over the handlebars.

At the time — and strangely even now as I recollect — it seemed like I spent an incredibly long hang-time in the air. Even long enough to appreciate my surroundings on some level, but soon I became increasingly aware of the approaching ground. The event provided an excellent example of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, at least to me.

With a massive WHOMP, which forced every bit of air out of my lungs, I impacted the dirt bike trail and continued on my original trajectory, sans wheels. Now it was my nipples chafing against the inside of my T-shirt. My lungs must have still been draining because I managed to avoid sucking in the plume of dirt which stirred before me.

More on relativity… following my touchdown I felt like I slid 10 feet, after soaring through the air for what seemed like 15 feet, but in all likelihood I probably didn’t end up more than eight feet from my bicycle.

I can’t recall if I made it to the deli, or if I turned around and headed back home, but I do remember the incredible soreness in my chest, and the telltale dirt patch down the front of my T-shirt. Luckily kids at that young age are made out of rubber.

Well, that’s enough for now. I’ll dig back into my memory banks and see what other childhood mishaps I can bring forth. There is that time I jumped down the cellar stairs and broke my foot, or the time I landed square on my head on the concrete steps, after tripping over my cat and tumbling from the porch through the open bilco doors which led to the basement. Maybe that’s why I turned out like I did… Ah, memories.

It’s a good thing my grandmother was doctor, she was always on-call with me around.