||[Oct. 12th, 2010|02:10 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
Something Spike (the comic-maker) tweeted about getting a concussion at the age of 12 that reminded me of my own concussion.
I think I was 12 at the time (just like Spike), so cast your mind back to 1982. Big hair. Everyone was wearing Gold Digger jeans, which I wanted to bad I could taste it.
It was gym class. We were wearing uniforms, which were these horrible one-piece things. They were navy-blue and white striped shirts and navy-blue shorts. I think the shirts were striped across, which made me look extra awful as I hadn't hit my growth spurt yet (although I was nevertheless the tallest person in the school with the exception of one REALLY tall boy) and was still hella chubby.
We were playing dodge ball. Unlike many nerds, I wasn't too bad at dodge ball, so I was one of the last ones standing and competition was getting fierce. I took my eye off the ball for a moment and got a ROCKET shot in the face which hit me so hard I went down flat. By which I mean the first thing that hit the floor was the back of my head.
It hurt SPECTACULARLY bad, worst pain I'd ever felt I think. By this point in my life I had a couple of friends and I had a major crush on a handsome boy named Derrick, so I let him copy a lot of my homework. (He was smart but lazy.) But I was still quiet and soft-spoken and desperately shy. The only reason I was able to talk to Derrick is because he was so funny & friendly & really wanted my homework.
So imagine this big, fat, shy girl with pimples and braces who had to make an effort to raise her voice loud enough for a teacher to hear the answer to a question. She is on the floor, in shock, face beet red. The entire class has rushed over and the teacher is kneeling beside her asking "Are you OK?" What does she say?
She says "FUCK!" as loud as you can possibly imagine. A whole lotta pain and frustration came out in that primal cry. Derrick went from looking terrified (I think he might've been the one who threw the ball) to laughing so hard he could barely stand.
I suspect that epithet is why I was sent to the nurse on my own. I couldn't really walk straight. I clearly recall hanging on the handrail to get to the office. I don't remember anything else about that walk. I begged the nurse to call my Mom because I didn't have the ability to recall that my Dad was literally down the street (he worked up the road from our school) while Mom was 45 minutes away. She was so pissed. I don't think we went to the doctor or the hospital or anything. I remember nothing else about that day.
It is a painful but amusing memory, and kind of a turning point in the path to the person I would become.