“Stop eating your hands!” my dad yelled from the small portable bleachers. I was a good soccer player, but when not actively engaged, I stood on the field biting my finger nails like a squirrel. He shamed me for the better part of a year, and I’m sure his chiding wasn’t aimed only at encouraging me to consider my nervous habit as self-cannibalization, but also at making the other parents laugh. Like me, he loves a crowd and each time I’d disassociate to nibble on my thumb, that same booming voice brought me back to reality, “Stop eating your hands…JASON.” Sometimes he’d punctuate his request with my name, as if I weren’t the only 11 year old enjoying a fleshy snack midway through the first half.
Category: Memoirish stuff
It's either day 6 or 7. I can't remember. After a while, the days without routine and electricity blend together into a foggy-headed smoothie that tastes like the middle of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" sounds. We're all walking around with grim heavy-metal faces, but all feel confused and awkward, like maybe we accidentally ate some Percocet dusted catnip.
A pediatric nurse shouldn’t have neck tattoos, black fingernails, lip piercings, or anything else that makes her appear sad, recently paroled, or Goth. I was already nervous; my son Silas was nervous, and then Ms. Front-Row-at-Marilyn-Manson, RN scoots in the door yawning. “Oh, sorry, long day so far. You’re here for a Polio vaccine today?” I’m a conflict avoider, so didn’t ask if this particular shot required its administrator to be alert. I nodded, smiled, and shrugged off the ample evidence that she’d been up all night training ferrets with a warlock.
Silas could sense that I was uneasy and added some “oh h-to the-hell-no” of his own.