Calling in sick to work makes me uncomfortable, because no matter how
legitimate my illness, I always sense my boss thinks I'm lying. On one
occasion, I had a valid reason but lied anyway because the truth was too
humiliating to reveal.
I simply mentioned that I had sustained a head injury and I hoped I
would feel up to coming in the next day. By then, I could think up a
doozy to explain the bandage on my crown.
In this case, the truth hurt. I mean it really hurt in the place men
feel the most pain. The accident occurred mainly because I conceded to
my wife's wishes to adopt a cute little kitty.
As the daily routine prescribes, I was taking my shower after
breakfast when I heard my wife, Deb, call out to me from the kitchen.
"Ed!" she hearkened, "The garbage disposal is dead. Come reset it."
"You know where the button is." I protested through the shower
(pitter-patter). "Reset it yourself|"
"I'm scared." she pleaded. "What if it starts going and sucks me in?"
.. .Pause. . . . . "C'mon, it'll only take a second."
No logical assurance about how a disposal can't start itself will
calm the fears of a person who suffers from
"Big-ol-scary-machinephobia," a Condition brought on by watching too
many Stephen King movies.
It is futile to argue or explain, kind of like telling Lloyd Bentsen
Americans are overtaxed. And if a poltergeist did, in fact, possess the
disposal, and she was ground into round, I'd have to live with that the
rest of my life.
So out I came, dripping wet and buck naked, hoping to make a statement
about how her cowardly behavior was not without consequence but it was I
who would suffer.
I crouched down and stuck my head under the sink to find the button.
It is the last action I remember performing. It struck without warning,
without respect to my circumstances. Nay, it wasn't a hexed disposal,
drawing me into its gnashing metal teeth. It was our new kitty, clawing
playfully at the dangling objects she spied between my legs.
She ("Buttons" aka "the Grater") had been poised around the corner
and stalked me as I took the bait under the sink. At precisely the
second I was most vulnerable, she leapt at the toys I unwittingly
offered and snagged them with her needle-like claws.
Now when men feel pain or even sense danger anywhere close to their
masculine region, they lose all rational thought to control orderly
bodily movements. Instinctively, their nerves compel the body to contort
inwardly, while rising upwardly at a violent rate of speed.
Not even a well-trained monk could calmly stand with his groin
supporting the full weight of a kitten and rectify the situation in a
step-by-step procedure. Wild animals are sometimes faced with a "fight
or flight" syndrome; men, in this predicament, choose only the "flight"
Fleeing straight up, I knew at that moment how a cat feels when it is
alarmed. It was a dismal irony. But, whereas cats seek great heights to
escape, I never made it that far. The sink and cabinet bluntly impeded
my ascent; the impact knocked me out cold.
When I awoke, my wife and the paramedics stood over me. Having been
fully briefed by my wife, the paramedics snorted as they tried to
conduct their work while suppressing their hysterical laughter. My wife
told me I should be flattered.
At the office, colleagues tried to coax an explanation out of me. I kept
silent, claiming it was too painful to talk. "What's the matter, cat got
your tongue?" If they had only known.