Ok here’s a quick one for Monday; I know, it’s like I’m still that kid on the bus doing his homework on the way to school.
Every summer for a few years our mom would rent a beach house in a place called Sea Cliff. Sea Cliff is a beach most famous for a half sunken ship: the S.S.Palo Alto, which was made entirely out of poured concrete and is spending its retirement as an increasingly dangerous eyesore covered in bird shit.
We had a nice ritual where we would walk to a minimart on the way to the beach, buy comic books and snacks, and then spend all day playing on the beach. One year I brought along some fishing tackle. This was before I fully understood the family curse.
After spending the week getting sunburned and salty we’re driving back across the mountains when we hear MILK say, “Uh Oh.” My mom glances in the rearview to see MILK with a fishing pole stuck on her finger. My fishing pole. In a classic moment of kid curiosity, she had put her finger through one of the hoops, it was apparently a one way trip for her finger.
“Awww crap, when we get home I’ll get some butter,” sighed mom.
We tried butter, WD40, spit, Windex and I think Crisco, but no dice. Mom finally decided that we should go to an urgent care center to see what the pros could do. It was an awkward ride to say the least because MILK had a three foot section of fishing pole that she was wearing like a ring, and she had to ride in the back seat of a Honda Prelude.
We arrive at the urgent care center. If you’ve never been to one, it’s pretty much where people go who did something dumb or were drunk and got hurt, but not hurt enough for an ambulance. There are also some freaked out new moms holding kids with fevers or whatever. For the most part urgent care means stitches and tetanus shots, and getting stuff removed from your body such as fishing poles, fishing hooks, screws, darts, lawn darts, sex toys, etc. Our dad was on a first name basis with the one closest to his house because the weekends tended to feature the adventures of two boys, and a girl who would run and tell on them.
So the urgent care doctor looks at MILK and chuckles a little. “Have that off in a jiffy, little girl!” he says. Then the fishing rod problem becomes a curiosity for much of the staff because the jiffy was running long. Various people with various safety school degrees try different lubricants, ice, etc, but no dice. Everyone has some old wive’s cure for stuck rings, but the fishing pole is proving stubborn. I, for the most part, wait in abject boredom in a nearby chair, reading an X-Men comic. Then I hear, “well, I guess we just have to cut it off with the thing that cuts rings off fat people,” a nurse suggests. That got my attention.
“Wait, no my new fishing pole, don’t be crazy!” I plead, suddenly very interested in my sister’s predicament. The adults all look at me like I’m the crazy one. Did these idiots even realize what a good fishing pole meant to a 12 year old me??? No! They were just trying to save my stupid little sister from walking around with it on her hand the rest of her life. That would make fishing more challenging I had to admit, plus I would have to drag her along every time I wanted to fish.
Yet another nurse comes into the room, brushes past the growing crowd of doctors, and takes the tearful MILK in hand. “Sorry it took so long, I had to run next door,” she says. Then she wraps a yard of dental floss around MILK’s finger, effectively threading her finger like a bolt, and simply unscrews the pole. I rush forward and snatch my fishing pole back before it became medical waste or something. “Cool trick!” Exclaims someone who went to med school in Grenada.
That’ll be $350.00 the checkout nurse tells my mom. Mom just sighs and pulls out her battle worn credit card. As we walk to the car she says, “you couldn’t have pulled that little trick on your father’s watch?”
“Can we stop for pizza?” MILK replies.
Frankly, it was probably mom’s turn anyway.