My senior year of high school I was attending an all-boys boarding school
which was quite small, about 36 boys total. The senior class was a whopping 5 students and, like seniors do, we cut school and generally goofed off a lot.
One fine day the entire senior class (all five of us) decided to cut school for the afternoon and, brace yourself, visit a local art museum. I know this is sort of an unusual concept, but they had a special aquarium exhibit that we all wanted to see. There were plenty of days when we cut school for more traditional purposes like heading to an arcade and getting high.
So we had to walk a mile or two through town to get to the museum and decided to take side streets lest anyone from the school spot us (it wasn't a terribly big town).
This is an important time to tell you about my sunglasses. I had a pair of Vuarnet sunglasses with thick, blue plastic frames. It was the late 1980's and this particular style was popular with skiers and snowboarders. They were quite expensive, about $100 US, I think. Anyway I was very proud of them and wore them as we strolled down the street toward the art museum.
The five of us had just crossed an intersection with me bringing up the rear. Because I was trailing behind a bit I got to see something they didn't -- the light had changed and one car stopped hard. Another car behind that one didn't notice until it was too late, then the driver slammed on the brakes, came to a screeching halt, and just barely tapped the bumper of the first car.
Well, I thought that was damn funny. My friends all turned around to see what was going on and I pointed and laughed at the situation, all the while walking down the sidewalk toward my friends. All of us were getting a good chuckle about it until I turned back toward my friends and...
I walked full-stride into a street sign
. This is the sort of full-contact impact you see in ice hockey
games when a player checks
another player against the glass. I went tumbling over backwards about as hard as I could. My friends now had something better to laugh at than the car accident
and stood around me folded over, holding their stomachs. Tears were streaming down their faces they were laughing so hard.
Meanwhile on the ground, I wasn't quite ready to laugh about it yet. I sat up and held my head for a while, waiting for the stars orbiting around my head to slow down. After a while things got better and I took an inventory of myself. Nothing appeared to be broken, no blood anywhere. Whew. But what about the expensive pair of sunglasses I was wearing? I immediately reached up to pull the glasses off my face and inspect them for damage.
Only, they wouldn't come off. I tugged and pulled, but I couldn't get them off. I was still a little disoriented so I asked one of my friends to help. He couldn't get them off either. It seemed there was a magical force holding the glasses on my face. After several minutes of fiddling with the problem I looked up to see the blue sky above the top rim of my glasses, and my right eyebrow stretched across to the sunglasses frame.
That's right, my entire right eyebrow was trapped between the thick blue frame and the lens of the sunglasses. Somehow the force of the impact had forced a gap between the two which proceeded to swallow my eyebrow. Don't ask me how. Around the time we figured that out, blood started to drip from the wound, forming a neat puddle between my cheek and the bottom part of the frame. There was a Burger King nearby and we wandered into their men's room to try and fix things.
I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say that we got some strange looks from visitors to the restroom that day. Finally I got up the nerve and forced the lens out of the frame with a big popping noise. Looking at my eyebrow in the mirror, I found a neat gash about an inch long and a quarter-inch deep. Now, I don't know much about anatomy, but I must have broken a vein or something because the instant the eyebrow was free of its captor, blood started spurting from the cut all over the place. I started to feel sort of light headed, probably from the loss of blood combined with some amount of shock.
Our little field trip was ruined. I was going to need stitches to fix this one. Three of the other guys started heading back to school while the last one stayed with me, sitting on the ground outside Burger King waiting for a taxi to the hospital. We called the school nurse who agreed to meet us there.
Later that afternoon in the principal's office, he didn't say a word. Just stared at all five of us blankly, one by one, until he got to me. There I was with a big bloody bandage on my head, the recipient of a half dozen stitches to my eyebrow, sitting there looking guilty. At that point he just couldn't hold it in any longer and burst out laughing. He laughed even harder when he found out later that we were cutting school to go to the art museum. Anyway, he threw us out of his office and we didn't cut school again for at least a week.