Tag Archives: little kid

I had a pencil sticking out of my leg

One time when I was like ten or eleven, I remember running around the house, a full sprint through the living room, around the kitchen, back again into the TV room. I was just doing laps, a little kid with way too much energy and nowhere to go, no place to really burn off any steam. On this particular day, my theatrics weren’t getting any attention, nobody yelled at me to stop, or calm down, and so after a while it got kind of boring, like a flame deprived of oxygen, without managing to get a reaction out of anybody, I slowly burned myself out.


But not before going out with a bang, my cooped up, ten or eleven year old version of a stuck-inside-the-house grand finale. I climbed up onto the arm of the sofa, jumped into the air, and tucked my legs under my arms, hoping to land like a cannonball onto the couch cushions.

Only, as soon as I hit the furniture, I felt something sharp, stabbing me in the leg. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, really. I’m the oldest of six, and back when we were all younger, a house jam-packed with little kids, there was just stuff everywhere, little pieces of toys, crayons. This time there happened to be a pencil stuck in between the couch cushions. How it got like that, positioned so that the point was sticking straight up, I have no idea.

But that’s how it was, like a spike, my right leg landing directly on top with all my body’s weight to really drive it in. I looked at my leg, I couldn’t even react, not really. It was such a weird sight. The pencil had to have been at least an inch and a half deep inside my shin. You couldn’t see the point, or any of the wood, just the yellow back end protruding from my leg.

My little sister Emily was like four or five years old, and she was the only one close enough to actually see the whole impaling go down. But she was a little kid, and while I appreciated her look of shock, this was a much bigger deal that just that, worthy of a lot more attention, the kind of attention I was constantly craving, my need for spectacle the driving force behind most of my actions, my running around the house, my indoor acrobatics.

My mom wasn’t in the house. She was there just a second ago, but now I couldn’t find her. I needed her to see this. I ran outside of the house and down the driveway, but no luck. After a minute or so, I looked down at my leg. For the first time, I was starting to freak out a little, the gravity of the situation sunk in somewhat, that I had a pencil in my leg. I reached down and yanked it out.

And it just slid right out, easily. It bled, but not that badly. In fact, looking at the wound from the outside, you couldn’t really tell that a whole pencil had been lodged inside just a second earlier. I deflated a little, like maybe I should have kept it in there a while longer.

When I went back inside, my mom was back in the kitchen. “Mom, where were you! I just stabbed myself with a pencil. It was in really deep! Mom, look, it’s bleeding! Mom! Mom!” And she looked at it, but like I said, the after shot didn’t really do any justice to how severe this thing looked when it was still sticking out of my leg.

“Yeah?” she asked, “Well, it doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll be OK.” But she didn’t get it. Nobody got it. Nobody except for my little sister Emily, but she was way too little to have any sort of a significant testimony. I had wasted it, a golden opportunity to make use of what looked like a potentially serious injury, without any real danger or lasting damage.

Because, for real, why didn’t it bleed? I swear I’m not exaggerating, that thing was in deep. Shouldn’t it have hit something? Wouldn’t you have expected a lot more pain?

My only consolation is that, after all these years, my sister Emily still claims to remember exactly how the situation played out, my dramatic leap onto the couch, the heart-stopping realization that there was a pencil stuck deep inside of my leg. And so it’s nice to have some sort of confirmation that I hadn’t just made it all up. I think so. I hope so. I mean, she was really little. Part of me wonders if I hadn’t coerced the memory onto her by sheer force of will. I just wish that everybody could have seen it. I wish that everybody could have been paying attention to me.

Let the dog have his bones

I feel bad that my dog doesn’t have an iPhone. I have an iPhone. All that my dog has is a bunch of dumb bones that I bought at Petco. He’s happy with them for a while, until there’s no more liver-flavored paste in the center. After that they just kind of take up space. I try to keep all of his old bones in one central location, but he much prefers it if they’re scattered across the living room floor. I should just throw the old ones away whenever I buy a new one, but I feel like he’s always looking at me, right as I’m about to toss them in the trash, he’s thinking, “Come on Rob, you have an iPhone, you have the Internet. For me, it’s just these bones, and that’s it. You really want to throw them away?”

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And I make it a point to just do it, because I can’t have these bones everywhere. It’s like, even when I think they’re all accounted for, there is always at least one or two hidden away where I’ll never be able to find them. Sometimes I think they’re so well hidden that even my dog loses track of where they are. And it’s like one day I’ll be looking for the remote or for my phone and I’ll lift up the couch to see if there’s any way that it’s maybe stuck deep between the cushions, and out falls a bone, sometimes right on my foot. I’ll go to throw it away but there he is again, he’s so happy to see this particular bone. Even though there’s no more liver-paste, it’s like he totally forgot about this bone.

It’s kind of like when you’re a little kid and your mom makes an effort to really clean out the downstairs closet. And you see that she’s putting your old Nerf gun into a black trash bag. Of course you haven’t played with it in years, but you also haven’t seen it forever. It’s been buried under all of your Lego sets and wrestling actions figures, you’re like, “Mom! Don’t throw that out, that’s such a cool Nerf gun!” and she’s like, “You never play with this stuff, come on, it’s just taking up space.” But you’re insistent, and you kind of even believe at some level that you’ll use it again, but you’re mistaking this nostalgia for a forgotten item with a feeling of genuine interest in a toy that … well, sure, go ahead, fire off a few rounds.

By tomorrow your mom’s going to be looking at this plastic piece of junk lying in the corner, saying stuff like, “See? I told you we should have thrown it out. Now it’s just another piece of clutter taking up visible space.” And so you pretend to play with it for a little while longer, just until she leaves the room, and then you bury it back under the Sit-n-Spin, somewhere you can’t see it. You don’t want to play with it, but you don’t want to face the idea that you’ll never be able to play with it again either.

And yeah, maybe things would have been different if you were a little kid today. But only if you were a kid and you had an iPhone. Would you have had an iPhone? I don’t know. Your mom wouldn’t buy you a Sega Genesis back then, she probably wouldn’t buy you an iPhone. You can just hear it now, “What does a little kid need an iPhone for?”

My dog doesn’t have an iPhone either, and I’m always wondering whether or not he’s secretly jealous, watching me spend so much time staring at my little screen. Why don’t they make iPhones for dogs? Something a little more durable, so he could chew on it while he’s not surfing the web, watching clips of the Puppy Bowl on YouTube, I’m just kind of throwing out dog-related Internet activities, I’m not sure exactly what he’d use an iPhone for, or if it would have the same user interface as human iPhones do.

But even if they did exist, am I really going to spend that much money on a piece of equipment that I’m not even really sure my dog would even enjoy? No, just let him have his bones. Sure, he’s figuring out how to get at that liver paste faster and faster each time, it’s like I can’t keep up with all of the empty bones lying around everywhere. And just last week, I woke up and came downstairs barefooted in my pajamas, my dog walked up to me, but I didn’t realize that he had a bone in his mouth. This one had to have been his biggest bone, and these things are heavy, sometimes too heavy for him to keep in his jaw. And I don’t know if he was just happy to see me, but he walked over with this thing in his mouth and dropped it right on my foot. It hurt so badly, a sharp pain that shot straight up my leg, like I could feel it in my shoulders.

And I wanted to round up all the bones right there and toss them in the trash. But then my iPhone made a buzz, like I got a message or an email, and my dog went over to the coffee table to investigate the sound. For a minute I thought, is he looking at the phone? Is he interested in text messages? At the very least, I thought he looked curious, and maybe he really does want one, and so I forgot all about my foot. I’ve got my technology, let the dog have his bones. So what if the place is a mess? What right do I have to take them away?

The Candy Aisle

I was at the grocery store the other day and I when I got to the checkout, for some reason, I don’t know why, I turned my head to the side, right at that wall of candy they always put next to every cashier. That’s so lame, what a cheap trick. It’s like, we’re already shopping at your store because, well, we have to. This is where we get food. And we’re just trying to do our thing, get our meat and veggies, our bread and juice and milk, whatever, take the money. But then we have to wait on line and get taunted by candy?


And I can’t even imagine what that’s got to be like for a mom or a dad, like if they’re raising little kids and can’t find somebody to watch them while they get the grocery shopping done. I remember being a little kid myself, I would be super bored having to walk through the whole grocery store with my mom, not watching TV, not playing with any of my action figures or Legos.

And once you finally get close to the end, you’re on line to check out, this time the waiting is worse, because you have to stare at this whole wall of candy taunting you, it’s saying, “Hey buddy, why don’t you ask your mom if you can buy some of us? We’re so tasty and sweet! Come on do it!” and you’re like, “Hey Mom. Mom? Mom. Mom! Mom! Mom!” and she’s like, “What? What is it?” and you’re like, “Mom. Can I get some candy?” And she’s like, “How many times do I have to tell you to stop asking me to buy candy? We’re not buying any candy!”

And then you look back at the candy, at those sugar covered peach rings and Skittles and giant peanut looking pink gummy things, and you’re like, “Sorry guys, my mom said no.” But they don’t stop. They start giggling, taunting, you’re thinking, what’s so funny? Are they laughing at me? They say, “No, we’re not laughing at you. We’re laughing because it’s so simple, just pick us up, put us on the conveyor belt. Your mom’s not going to see. And then after she pays, just take us out of the shopping bag and bring us up to your bedroom.”

So you look to your mom, she’s counting coupons or helping bag the groceries and you think, yeah, maybe I can get away with it. Maybe I’ll just go for the Sour Patch Watermelons here, and as long as the cashier slides them into the bag before … “Hey!” your mom saw you moving your arm toward the candy, “Don’t even think about it!”

And that’s the end of that. But I’m an adult now, I’m a man. I was at that grocery store the other day, I looked at that wall for the first time in I don’t know how long, and I heard the candy again, they were like, “Rob! What the hell man? You’re an adult now! You’re a man! You can buy all of us! Come on dude, don’t be such a pansy, buy every single one of us, go home, open all the bags at once, and start eating until you throw up. Do it! We’re not fucking around here!”

So I was like, all right, all right, I’m going to buy some candy. It was weird though, it all looked so much brighter and better when I was a little kid. None of this stuff was even name brand, it was all just random loose candy in a generic plastic pouch, nothing even had any labels on it, it was like these grocery people bought the stuff in bulk and put it out for sale in cheap-o individual packets.

And while, yes, the selection was huge, when you go to inspect just what’s available for purchase, it’s all kind of weird stuff. Like one of the bags were these individually wrapped colorless, clear hard candies. With no label, I couldn’t figure out what they’d taste like. I took the bag and brought it close to my face, seeing if the individual labels might not provide a hint. They said, “menthol.” That was it, menthol. What the hell is that? Isn’t that a cigarette flavor? It’s like, it’s not mint, but it’s cold like mint, and that’s it. What kind of a psychopath buys a whole bag of plain menthol hard candies?

I was getting a little freaked out, so I went for a trusted classic, some sour gummy worms. At least, I though it was a trusted classic. I got home and opened them up, they didn’t really taste like sour gummy worms. They tasted like cotton candy. Not even. They tasted like cotton candy flavored bubble gum. And the consistency was all off. Instead of being like chewy and gummy, they were soft and gooey, like fruit snacks, like a really warm fruit roll-up.

But I still ate the whole thing. And now my mouth hurts. It’s all dry. I drank like three glasses of water but it didn’t quench the thirst, it just made me overly full and nauseous. I went online and started searching, seeing if there wasn’t anything that might help alleviate my discomfort. “Try some menthol hard candies!” it said, and I was like, no fucking way, this ends right now. But the next time I was at the grocery store, I turned toward that candy wall, and the menthol candies started screaming out to me, they were talking in this hoarse old-lady voice, “Come on Rob! You know you’re going to do it! Don’t make me ask twice, because I’m in your head now, get ready, it’s all menthol for you from here on out! Pucker up baby!”