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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

56

#56. I broke my nose playing softball.

Okay, see if you can picture this. It’s late — fifth or sixth inning of a seven-inning game. Our team is hopelessly, embarrassingly behind. By, like, eight runs or so, with no prospect that our hibernating bats are ever going to wake up. Morale is down, and we still have a couple of innings until we can go drinking. There is no joy in Mudville.

So, I come up to bat, and get on base. I don’t remember how now, but that’s not important. Maybe it was a solid double into the gap, and maybe the pitcher fell over her shoelaces trying to field my dribbler. It doesn’t matter. Somehow, I get on base. The next hitter makes an out, and then there’s a single. When the dust clears, I’m standing at third with one out, and another guy on first. But forget him — he’s not important any more.

Now, the next hitter snakes a tall fly ball to left field, just behind me. It’s not all that deep, but I decide to tag. I’m all about meaningless runs. Or is it sex? No, no, it’s definitely runs. So I wait for the left fielder to catch it, and I’m off like a shot. Or is it a shotput? Yes, it’s definitely a shotput. A slow, heavy metal ball. That about covers it.

The left fielder throws home.

I race toward home.

The ball screams toward the catcher.

I turn on the jets — such as they are — and thunder down the line.

Now, the whole way towards home, I’m watching the catcher. If he were looking at second base, I’d know that the other runner was tagging, and the left fielder is probably throwing there. That’s not the case. The catcher’s looking over my shoulder the whole time, and high — like at a thrown ball plummeting toward him. Fine. So, I’m ready to slide, or avoid him, or duck underneath him if I have to.

About two steps from the plate, the catcher steps sideways, toward the pitcher’s mound, and leans away from the plate. I take this as a sign that he’s bailing — either the throw’s going to be late, or it’s way off line. So, I focus on the plate, and step on the corner, just behind his back foot…

…just as he catches the barely-off-line ball, and turns back into me. Foot meets plate just as nose meets back of head. *crunch!*

The bleeding, if you’ve never witnessed a broken nose, is immediate. And profuse. As is the advice on what to do, though it took a while to reach a consensus. ‘Tilt your head back.‘ ‘No, lean forward to let it drain.‘ ‘Don’t breathe in through your nose.‘ (As if that was still possible.) ‘Give me your wallet.‘ Nice try.

Eventually, I heard this: ‘Look, I’m a nurse. If you tilt your head back, you might choke on the blood. So lean forward and hold this gauze under your nose.‘ Finally, a voice of reason. I did as she told me. See, I’m not so stubborn when somebody explains how I might die if I don’t do what they say. It’s all about the details.

So, after a while, the blood stopped flowing. Of course, I looked like hell. Blood on my face, blood on my shirt and shorts, and blood all over my nose. There was a lump forming just at the top of my nose, and at least one eye was starting to bruise. So, of course, as soon as the game was over, I did the only reasonable thing.

I immediately went out for beer with the team.

Now, hear me out here. I’m not a complete moron. I had a plan. See, for one thing, the bar we were going to was on the way to the hospital, which I could then walk to. It wasn’t a detour, so much as a pit stop along the way. And I wasn’t driving, so really, I just caught a ride to the bar, and then stopped in to socialize on my way to the hospital. Just being polite, you see.

For another thing, I wanted to see what I was dealing with before I let the docs prod and poke at me. And I knew the bar had a mirror in the bathroom, and a sink where I could clean up a bit and take inventory. So it was really just common sense to stop in, just for a second.

And, of course, when I got there, and saw the lump, I realized that my nose might indeed be broken. Which meant there was a possibility that it would have to be reset. And I hear that can be just a tad painful. So what better anesthesia than three or four… or however many… pints of Guinness? The docs won’t give you painkillers for that sort of piddling injury, so I was just helping myself. It only makes sense, folks.

So, eventually, I stumbled to the hospital. By that time, I couldn’t really feel my nose at all, so I was in pretty good shape. Anesthesia-wise, that is. Luckily, Sunday afternoons are pretty slow at this hospital (apparently), so it wasn’t long before someone came along to help me. The doc took a look, and a good long feel (of my nose, people, my nose — this is a hospital, not a friggin’ church), and declared that the cartilage was, indeed, fractured. But, it hadn’t displaced after breaking, so there was no need to reset it. Unless I had breathing problems, I’d be fine after the swelling subsided. Which was good news. On the other hand, I drank all that beer for nothing. Um, oh shucks. Don’t you hate when that happens?

So, that’s my story. From there, I walked home, and my nose has been okay ever since. Oh, sure, there’s a little bit of a lump at the top of it that you can’t really see, and it does crackle and pop a bit more than it used to, but otherwise, it’s the same old nose I used to have. So, medically speaking, there’s really not much to the story, I’m afraid. But as a Sunday afternoon story? Well, there’s beer, and softball, and bleeding, and heroically scoring a meaningless run on a shallow sacrifice fly. There’s really nothing more you could ask for. And — as I told the doc who worked on me — I did score that run. That team may have sent me to the hospital, but we lost that game by seven instead of eight, dammit, and that’s all I care about. That’s just the kind of crooked-nosed bastard I am.

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