Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Saturday Evening blog Post presents: My Name is Job.

The following story is true. No names have been changed, because there are no innocent to protect:

The wheels of the Otter-9, a plane that looked like a bathtub with wings, touched down in Worcester, and I breathed a sigh of relief that the vacation gone wrong was over. Little did I know that my comedy of errors was just getting started. Perhaps I should have been warned by missing three consecutive connections--but I am a hopeful spirit and paid no attention. I mean, I had broken my shoulder on the first day of a week long skiing vacation; things had to get better. Right? When my ride failed to materialize, I merely threw my skis and bags over my one good shoulder and hoofed it back to my dorm room on Mt. St. James--I later learned there was a bus--as the skies opened and spit a light drizzle over my head.

Two weeks later my shoulder stopped aching and I thought it might be time to get more active, so I grabbed my skates and headed up to the Hart Center for some late-night skating. It was good to get some exercise, and nothing calamitous occurred--until I tried to walk home in a shower of freezing rain. We had almost made it back when I slipped trying to negotiate a pile of snow. My right arm was still in the sling, so I tried to break the fall with my left. But I was carrying my skates, which got fouled in my coat, leaving my nose to do the job. (The pavement remained cracked in that spot until after I graduated.)

The next day my face was swelled to pre-historic proportions--compelling my friend Andy to change my name from Peter Hogenkamp to Peter Cromagnumkamp--and both eyes were blackened. I was so hideous looking I didn't leave my room for a week. How I picked up a cold--in virtual isolation--I will never know, but when I finally left my room to go to Organic Chemisty class I was sneezing profusely.

And I almost made it through class--but not quite. With about 10 minutes left I sneezed into my sleeve and felt something pop in my nose. I wasn't sure what it was until I noticed that my flannel shirt was saturated with blood. I tried to sneak out of the room, but the girl behind me stopped taking notes for a second and started screaming. Since Plan A failed so badly, I moved to Plan B and started running up the steps leading out of the lecture hall, spurting blood like a stuck pig. I almost escaped too, but my back foot slipped in a slick of blood and I landed on my previously healing shoulder, cracking the bone callous I had spent three weeks creating.

So, what was I thinking about as I lay on my newly re-broken shoulder, swallowing the blood surging down my throat?  I was thinking that it sucked to be me, and about escape, of course, as I belly crawled my way toward the exit. But I was also thinking that it must suck to be a vampire as well, because it is impossible to ingest large volumes of blood without vomiting. And so, to add insult to injury, I began to hurl, spouting a maroon geyser all over the floor tiles. There was a major commotion--as the students occupying ground zero scrambled to evacuate--and then a couple of my buddies grabbed me and dragged me to the bathroom, where I could at least vomit blood in privacy.

And that's why you can call me Job.