Hole in My Face!

Lip HoleLiterally … there was a hole in my face … and it wasn’t one of the ones that is supposed to be there. 

In 23 years I had not once made a trip to the emergency room for my own purposes, but apparently surfing is more dangerous than it appears.  That is one of the things that I was the most excited about in my moving out to the west coast.  This was my chance to really become cool … to change from “boring guy who likes to read and drink coffee,” to “mildly interesting guy who likes to read and drink coffee, but is granted the status ‘mildly interesting’ because he surfs.”

But I am now convinced that surfing is only cool if you can do it without getting your ass kicked by the surf board, which disqualifies me.

I’m told that, while small, the wave was steep and so it wasn’t absolutely pathetic that my board dove straight down and nosed into the water.  My reaction had been developed by this point to roll off the board before it endowed, presumably saving me from getting slammed by the wave.  What I didn’t consider was that when laying on your stomach, to roll over is to put your face in the direct path of anything the ocean wants to throw at you.  In this particular instance, the ocean wanted to throw my surfboard … and when the Pacific Ocean decides to throw something, its like Randy Johnson, but the Sea-God version of him.  The antique surfboard had actually been dropped on its end a few times, so instead of a smooth, round end, the board had teeth! 

I won’t say that the surfboard bit me, but if you ever run headlong into someone else’s open mouth and gotten a tooth with some serious force behind it to the face, that was what it felt like.  I knew immediately that there was going to be blood because I could feel the opened flesh on the inside of my bottom lip … but it wasn’t until I had come up from underwater and started towards the shore that I realized the extent to which that surfboard had beaten me.  I touched my soul patch and discovered that, not only was I bleeding into my mouth, but also out of the front of my lip.  The impact of the board had actually put a real, all-the-way-through, hole in my face! 

The doctor had to cut the soul patch off to put the stitches in … that was a sad moment; I take pride in my facial hair.  He numbed my mouth/chin area, and then went to work embroidering the crevasse between my lip and chin, only after a sufficient amount of water had been squirted through my face from inside my mouth (that was really cool!). 

The $150 co-pay really pissed me off, but I had signed something on my health insurance form agreeing to it, so I couldn’t really complain. 

Special thanks to Lindsay for driving me to the ER and keeping me company, to the Cornerstone students (most of them at least) for not laughing at me, and to Rob for forcing me into a killer wave … at least I got a fairly cool story out of it (though it is admittedly less cool since I got injured by my own lack of ability and my own out-of-control surfboard)!

There was really no point to this story … I just thought it was kind of funny.  Hope you enjoyed reading it!

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~ by Will Norman on October 2, 2007.

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