Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Sign of Pain to Come

Since you all seem to take enormous pleasure from my tales of testicular terror(for those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, see my post entitled "Anesthesia is for Pussies"), I've decided to relate an encounter I had as a teenager in my hometown of Bemidji, Minnesota.
I graduated in 1984, much to the surprise of many. For those of you too young to remember, the late seventies and early eighties were the boom of video games. The first was Space Invaders, but the speed at which new games were introduced into local arcades and bowling alleys was astounding. Before I graduated, they even came out with the first home gaming system called Atari. Those were wonderful and magical times, at least for people that had money. Don’t get me wrong, I made and spent more that I should have on games, but they didn’t overshadow a kid's life like they do now. We had no Internet and the Atari was a bit lame.
We still had to entertain ourselves the old fashion way. The way teenagers have been entertaining themselves for hundreds, if not thousands of years. We got into trouble. The ways and types of trouble were limited only by our own imaginations, and we had a lot of imagination. I will refrain from complete descriptions of our high jinks since I'm not familiar with the statute of limitations on all of our activities. I will instead focus only on the return trip from one of our nightly excursions.
It was summer and we were young and restless. We were also tired after a night that involved some running a lot of hiding and even more walking. Despite our tired feet and sated appetite for trouble, we were obliged to complete a ritual we had followed for years any time we passed through a particular section of houses on the way back to the trailer court we lived in. You see my friends; there was a house in that neighborhood that was not like the others. One of those houses wasn't quite the same. It was in fact mostly underground. The roof line was waste high and there were no visible windows. There was a lot of experimental housing back in the seventies, either for environmental purposes or just to be different. Near the house that I lived in before the divorce and our relocation to the trailer court, we lived near a house on stilts.
But it wasn't just the hobbit hole of a house that drew our interest; it was the people that lived inside. They seemed strange to us. We never saw them come or go, yet the place was clearly inhabited. In retrospect, it's obvious we were scared of the place and its inhabitants, but we wouldn't have admitted it to each other at the time. So we did what all kids do when they are afraid of or don’t understand something. We messed with it. We did this by grabbing a piece of fire wood off the pile behind the house and chucking it on top of the roof. Then we would haul ass, laughing like the idiots we were.
On the night in question, something was different. Instead of the usually door slamming and swearing, this night the deafening report of a 12 gauge shotgun trapped the giggles in our throats as the buckshot shredded the pine needles above our heads. To say that we broke into a run in the exact opposite direction of the man with the shotgun doesn’t quite do our flight for survival justice. I had honed my flight or fight response for years by stupidly teasing bullies, and I went from zero to a full balls out sprint in .05 seconds.
We all knew every square foot of the surrounding five miles of land and like a flock of birds, pivoted in silent communication and headed for the clearing that was across the road from our homes and safety. We had chosen speed over stealth and it was the right choice. Three abreast, we broke land speed records together as we escaped the tangle of pines and increased our pace across the open ground. The lights from the trailer court were in site and we knew that once we cleared the wood fence and were out of a line of sight, we would be safe.
The clearing had changed over the years. The most recent addition was a large pole barn on the south side. Large trucks often pulled in churning the sod into a makeshift driveway roundabout. There were no trucks there that night, but a new addition had been made. The people that owned the warehouse were concerned that people may get curious and want a look inside. In response to their concern, they had decided to erect a no trespassing sign. It went up the very next day. Unfortunately, they had been working on it early that day. They got as far as cementing in the bottom section of the sign post. Like many city signs, they would then bolt the upper post that had the sign affixed to the lower section that was cemented into place. The lower sign post was just three inches higher than my inseam, and I assure you the cement had plenty of time to harden.
I hit that raised post in full sprint and running the fastest I'd ever run before or since. I was actually gaining speed and leaving my friends behind as I hit it full force with my nuts.
Let me assure you that the post was just fine. It did not suffer from the impact. I however went from eye watering speed to zero in .00001 seconds. All the air left my body and I collapsed forward onto the pole, where I rotated like a wounded merry go round. My "friends" took half a block to notice and to slow down. They came back, fear quickly being replace by amusement. If you read the other post about my vasectomy, you will understand that I don’t say lightly that I would rather get the vasectomy reversed than relive running ball first into that pole. I had been kicked in the jewels a few times and had other testicular mishaps involving bikes or fence posts over the years, but nothing before or since can really compare to the pain I felt that night. And while there was pain, it was not focused. It included everything from my thighs up to my belly button.
The man with the odd house and twelve-gauge hadn’t followed us and my friends carried me back, trying hard not to laugh. They failed. As teenagers do when they fear discovery or danger, they split after setting me near my front door. No one was home, so I didn’t need to sneak inside. I went to my room and whimpered, waiting for the pain to pass. With nothing else to occupy my mind, I imagined the amount of damage I’d caused to myself. I’d never experienced this amount off pain before and yet there was a numbness that convinced me I had at the very least ruptured a testicle and at worst severed by penis.
It took me over an hour to get up the courage to look. The lack of blood was reassuring and after further examination, I was still intact. Over the next few days, there was swelling and a lot of pain, but I was whole.
We never spoke about the incident again, but my friends and I had come to a silent agreement that our nightly adventures had ended.


  1. I remember the night well, and have actually told the story to others. I think you are down playing the pain you were in. F

  2. F. I also left out punching your brother in the balls for laughing to protect your secret identities :)

  3. LOL, Forgot about that :) F