Childhood mishaps

In Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” which is a journalistic exploration of where our food comes from, he mentions being an accident-prone individual. He says, parenthetically, that “childhood mishaps included getting bitten in the cheek by a seagull and breaking my nose falling out of bed.”

Ha ha! But we can all sympathize, right? I never had either of those things happen, and in fact made it through childhood without breaking any bones, but three accidents quickly came to mind.

I once poked my head between two bars in a wrought iron stair railing and couldn’t dislodge myself for a few scary minutes.

Attempting to carve a soapbox derby car from a block of wood with a pocketknife, I cut my hand because I was carving toward myself, not away. (The project, only a few shavings in, was abandoned.)

And when a moving van was in our driveway, I walked into the edge of the loading platform while bouncing a basketball and cut my face about an inch above my eye. I still have a scar, but it could’ve been a lot worse. Yikes!

Your turn. What physical mishaps, the more absurd the better, occurred to you in childhood?

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  • in elementary school, I left the house, then remembered something i was supposed to take with me, and ran back in. My feet were wet because it was raining outside, and when i ran back in and hit the tile hallway, i slipped, went sliding down the hallway on my back , and knocked a closed door off it’s hinges when my feet hit it!

    • davidallen909

      Ha ha! That’s almost like an animated cartoon. Thanks, Alicia.

  • I seemed to have gotten through childhood okay. My adult life hasn’t fared as well. Two years ago I tripped over my purse and broke my foot. 🙁

    • davidallen909

      Second childhood? Thanks, Lois.

  • Ramona

    My injuries consisted almost entirely from skinned knees. While riding my bike – with my Dad watching – I hit loose gravel, skidded about 10 feet, letting go of the bike which then hit a walnut tree in the front yard. I was probably around 10 years old at the time.

    My Dad called for Mom but he didn’t know whether to laugh at the ridiculous scenario, or to moan at my injuries.

    Fortunately, Mom’s cool head prevailed as she approached with a wet wash cloth – that always makes everything feel better, doncha know – and helped me into the house. Yep. Skinned knee.

    My Dad recovered himself enough to pick up the bike and assess it. It was fine and I was back to riding the next day. Bandaged, but riding. And avoiding that darned loose gravel.

    Other skinned knees were the result of being fat and/or not watching where I was going. My last one of memory occurred during junior high school.

    • davidallen909

      You really hit the skids, Ramona!

  • Mark Allen

    One day when I was in preschool or kindergarten, something happened that required me to go to school later than usual. Dad picked me up. I pushed in the cigarette lighter, as was my wont, because I was always fascinated by how it glowed such a magnificent orange.

    That day, I finally decided to get down to the mystery of how the crayon got on the lighter by touching it with my finger.

    It burned.

    Dad was none too pleased and returned home to get ice.

    Generally typing, my body was immune to damage during childhood. We spent one afternoon hurling ourselves from a half-flight of steps and onto a concrete basement floor. I think my stupid body is now paying me back.

    • davidallen909

      We did? Oh, yeah, I guess we did. Although “jumping” seems more accurate than “hurling”…we weren’t landing on our stomachs or anything.

      • Mark Allen

        You weren’t there for this escapade. It was at the house directly across the backyard. There was plenty of nonchalant hurling.

  • DebB

    My childhood left me mostly unscathed, except for one scar on my hand from breaking a glass when I was washing dishes (I’ve ALWAYS hated washing dishes). Oddly enough, I did the exact same thing in college and have a second scar in almost the same place!

    The only other childhood accident happened one morning when my brother was maybe 2 and I was 6-ish. He reached for the hot toaster and I intervened, burning my hand in the process. Ah, the things we suffer for our loved ones.

    As an adult I’m much more clutzy, once walking into the corner of a low-hanging roof and requiring stitches in my scalp. For several years I rode show horses, and fell regularly, but amazingly never broke a bone!

    • davidallen909

      As a (putative) adult, I walked into a sliding glass door and caromed off. My glasses were bent but, thanks to carpeting, I was unhurt.

  • John Clifford

    Of course I suffered that perennial childhood mishap of getting my fingers shut in the car door. It’s amazing how flexible children’s finger bones are. I think each of my 5 brothers and sisters had this happen at one time or another and never a broken bone.

    • davidallen909

      I did that as an adult. Got the door open, sat down and fainted.

  • I ran my bicycle into a wall the day before the third grade and knocked out two of my front teeth. 37 years later, I’m still (literally) paying for it. I’m finishing up a seven-year-long orthodontic procedure to replace the early-’80s repair that never looked quite right and only got worse as I got older and my gumline changed. This past Sunday (the day before you posted this), my temporary crowns fell out while I was on a solo run, recreating the toothless gap I’d had back in 1976. I spend the rest of the run trying to keep my mouth closed (hard to breathe like that), and had an emergency dental appointment Monday to have them put back in. Fun fact: I’m going to the same Whittier dentist I’ve had since 1974!

    • davidallen909

      A childhood mishap that continues well into adulthood really is a mishap. If only Doctor Who could go back to the 1970s and prevent your accident, he could really do you a good turn!