Fabulous Wendy invited me to the lake with her family for the day. Don’t ask me what the deal was when we got there. We were both grumpy as all get-up and not getting along very well. It was just one of those days.
The only thing you really need to know is that things were tense between us. And the timing, well, it was awful. I mean we were at the lake. We were supposed to be relaxing. It was supposed to be a get-away from any and all stress.
The kids were promised a Wave Runner for a couple hours, so Wendy and I marched all pissy-like up to the rental counter. This won’t freaking do, I thought. I looked around for an opportunity to make Wendy laugh. Or gasp. Or anything that might break the philunkity funk we were in. And then I saw my opportunity. There… on the counter top… a stapler.
Now, I’m 31-years old. I’m not an idiot most of the time. I am rational. I don’t do stupid things (most of the time). But for some reason I had this thought that pretending to staple my finger would make Wendy laugh.
So, I turned to her and I said, “you better laugh or I’ll staple my finger right now.” She looked at me like I was psycho. I guess she had good reason to.
“What are you talking about?”
“If you don’t laugh right now I’ll put a staple right into my finger.” I moved my finger under the stapler head.
The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was a nut job. I guess he had good reason to.
“You’re not going to staple your finger,” she said, annoyed that I would try and lighten the mood. Hell. Everybody knows that the worst thing ever when you’re in a pissy mood is for someone else to try and lighten it.
“Oh, I’ll do it!” I declared. I carefully positioned the stapler so that when I smacked it the staple would go in-between my two slightly-open fingers leaving me unscathed while still offering shock-value and a situation so uncomfortable she’d have no choice but to laugh.
The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was a nut job. I gave him a nod that said, “I’ve got this under control, pal.”
Wendy didn’t laugh.
“What… you want me to staple my finger?”
“Sure. Go ahead.”
I slammed my closed fist down on top of the stapler.
Oh fudge mama crap biscuit, I thought. My eyes moistened and I bit my lip. I didn’t have to look. I knew I’d accidentally stapled my finger. Like for realsies.
The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was a nut job. I gave him a nod that said, “tell me you didn’t see that.”
He gave me a half-cocked grin that said, “oh, I did. You freaking psycho.”
A line had formed behind us.
I pulled my finger from the stapler. Sure enough, completely impaling my finger was a bright shiny staple. Wendy’s giggle turned to a gasp. “There’s a staple in your finger!”
I pretended like it didn’t hurt. I put on my macho face. “Haha. Yep. Ummm, I totally didn’t mean to do that. I thought I had it aimed between two fingers.” At this point I was just trying to save face. It wasn’t happening.
The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was a nut job. The people behind me looked at me like I was a nut job. Wendy looked at me like I was a nut job.
I dug my fingernail under the staple and pried it out. “Boy do I feel stupid.”
I looked at Wendy, ready to cry from embarrassment. She was laughing now. Laughing in a “please don’t act like we’re together” sort of a way. Then she gasped and pointed at my wounded hand.
I didn’t notice, but blood had started dripping from my finger onto the counter. And not just little bits of blood. Lots of blood. It had dripped all over the counter, the stapler, and onto the rental agreement clipboard.
The guy behind the counter kept looking at me like I was a nut job. “Dude, do you want a Band-Aid or something?”
“No, I’m okay.” I said. I could feel that my face had turned beet red which was surprising since most of my lifeblood was gushing from my punctured finger. The people behind me were trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I gave them a look that said, “please have any reason to leave, like right now.”
“Dan, you’re bleeding, take the Band-Aid,” Wendy said. The guy behind the counter started digging in some drawer and produced an entire box of them.
“I’m okay. It’ll stop.” I was in denial.
Nobody is that stupid.
“What’s going on up here?” some chick said as she emerged from the shadows. She was the guy behind the counter’s manager. “Why is there blood all over the place?”
I snatched a Band-Aid from the guy behind the counter and without another word got the hell out of there, bursting through the glares of the people behind me, the confusion of Wendy, and the ever-judging counter-staff.
“It was an accident, I wouldn’t do that on purpose,” I yelled when I was a safe distance away. It didn’t matter. They’d all seen me slam a staple into my finger. There was no redemption from that.
I ran to where the kids were. There was blood making a nice trail from my finger to my elbow. All because of a stupid, freaking staple. The kids started screaming, pointing to my bloody appendage. “What happened?” they demanded.
“Nothing. Leave me the hell alone!”
That’s what I wanted to scream.
“Everybody stop looking at me!”
That’s also what I wanted to scream.
“Nothing. I accidentally poked myself.”
That’s what I said.
Wendy came over with our bloody rental form in hand. “You really just stapled your finger…” We both looked down at the ever-worsening mess.
“And THAT is why we don’t staple our fingers,” I said all authoritative-like, looking at the now-seriously-in-shock kids.
With that, Wendy and I both began… laughing. Hysterically, and uncontrollably laughing.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. I’d easily put this in my top ten most embarrassing moments. Not because getting a finger stapled is all that embarrassing, but because the idea and the fact that I actually would do that was embarrassing. So, what about you? Throw me a your-kind-of-normal bone? When have you done something that afterward left you blushing with embarrassment over how absolutely dumb it was?
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