I remember the date well because I still have the hospital discharge paperwork.
My first wife and I were living in Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. She was a teacher and we became good friends with her school principal and his girlfriend (later to be wife).
Christine was an artist who lived in a small upstairs apartment on the village’s Main Street. She had a pair of saw horses and resting atop them was a large rectangular piece of glass that had come from a New York City bus shelter.
(How she came into possession of New York City Transit Authority property, I am still not sure.)
The glass on the saw horses served as a flat space for Christine, who would paint and draw. She was moving in with Dan and he asked if I could help carry the glass to a van.
Sure, I said. What could possibly go wrong?
It was summer, and even though we were in the mountains, it was sweltering hot. I sized up the glass and swallowed hard but was confident we could do the job.
Leading to Christine’s walk-up was a very narrow, serpentine staircase.
Dan and I grunted and carefully maneuvered the big pane (that should more appropriately read “big pain”) down the stairs, sweating bullets the whole time.
We got out the downstairs doorway — home free! — and made our way to the van. Dan was closer to the van’s rear doors.
First I heard the noise. It sounded something less than a gunshot but more than a firecracker.
And then my eyes fixed on what caused it: thousands of bits of glass, like flecks of Styrofoam, blanketed the van, the street and the sidewalk.
Somehow we must’ve just tapped the edge of the glass against the van with the right amount of harmonic convergence to cause it to explode.
The noise and the mess were so great that people literally stopped in their tracks.
My forearms were pockmarked with blood as tiny glass meteorites shot into my flesh. But Christine’s arm was a full rivulet of blood as the glass had cut her more deeply.
Dan, who incredibly escaped largely unscathed, took one look at us and whisked us to his car and headed pedal-to-the-metal to the hospital ER.
My problem was not that I was bleeding out but was almost PASSING out from the sight of my own blood.
My face looked like it had been bleached.
In the end, the doctor elevated my feet, got me some Band-Aids for my boo-boos and gauzed up Christine like the second coming of the Mummy.
This all came to mind recently when my wife and I had to take a large broken mirror to our garbage center and the attendant there saw what I was doing and said to me: “Don’t cut yourself.”
Don’t worry, pal.
Been there, done that and have the mental scars to prove it!
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