A stitch in time saves nine or maybe more

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of exercise. The mayor regularly consults me on ways to prevent wayward youths from getting into sports, and the National Association for the Advancement of Obesity has awarded me their largest merit badge three years running. But, I am also hypocritical, so despite my outspoken advocacy against movement, I occasionally get roped into a game of squash. Normally, the consequences don’t get any more serious than an increasingly sweat-stained white t-shirt that used to belong to my ex-wife, but last Sunday things took a disturbing turn.

There I was, cleaning the floor with my honourable opponent (as I’m sure he’ll testify regularly happens when we play), when a giant bat appeared. At least, I’d like to think it was a giant bat, or something similarly alarming, because for some odd reason my opponent decided to strike me across the face with his racket mid-game. I charitably ascribe this to a sudden distraction, not a belated reaction to the solid thumping he received at ping-pong from me two weeks prior. I suppose it could also have been related to me reporting him to the RCMP for smoking inside UVic’s Ring Road. Regardless, the sudden blow proved quite a stunning turn of events, and I was momentarily knocked ass-backward to the squeaky-clean floor.

Blood sprayed everywhere. I hope to God nobody actually gets murdered on that squash court, because the only thing those CSI teams are going to be able to find is my blood under every floorboard. I want you to imagine Kill Bill, and then remove what was undoubtedly a sizable reduction in blood due to censorship requirements for that film.

My opponent and I managed to slip-and-slide our way to the exit and get to the hospital in the back of a cab that will now probably have to be sold to a drug dealer. After two-and-a-half hours spent sitting next to a young woman sobbing uncontrollably, then in the company of a doctor — frankly the most beautiful individual in a lab coat I’ve seen since McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy — my face was put back together with dental floss. The doctor also administered a quick tetanus shot in case I hadn’t had my epidermis penetrated enough that night, and then I was sent on my way.

As we left, I wanted to give the sobbing girl a reassuring pat on the back, but I hadn’t had the chance to wash my hands yet, so I wasn’t sure how comforted she would be. I decided to play it cool and limit myself to a pained grin which, I hoped said, “Don’t worry: the doctor’s gorgeous and might do good work, too, but we’ll have to wait and see to know that for sure.”

Am I bitter? Of course not. My friend is not the first person to mistake my face for something desperately deserving of a good thrashing with the business end of a racket. (I still have a scar from the time my father hit me in the face with a golf ball when I was seven, because, and I quote, “I thought there was a fly on your nose.”) And, of course, he likely won’t be the last, especially if I ever get married again. But, after some serious self-reflection, I came away with one good lesson: if you do have to go to the hospital, try not to come into contact with coughing people. Seriously — I think my whole office has the plague now.

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