I recently read a research study that proved swearing is a great pain reliever. This afternoon I needed the vocabulary of an old, hardened, life-tainted long-haul sailor.
I managed, somehow, to scrape the garden gate over my toes. For a brief moment, time stood still. Until the pain reached my brain – the signal to swear. Unfortunately (or fortunately for those near me), I temporarily lost my ability to speak and ineffectively held my knee, breathing deeply.
Who knew such a tiny piece of you could bleed so profusely? By the time I got my voice back there was a puddle of the stuff spreading out under my mangled toes like a miniature crime scene.
After shouting for someone to bring a hosepipe to sluice down the scene, I managed to hobble over to a chair and elevate my injury. As I sat there trying to see through the intense ache, I pondered on the incredible wonder of the human body. Doctors say that pain is an indication that something’s wrong (duh, really?). Watching my poor little piggy, though, filled me with intense awe – my body is beautiful and such a finely tuned work of art. The bleeding was soon stemmed and the throbbing subsided enough so I could pinpoint the exact part that was sore (although the blood did give me a clue). Quickly, I knew exactly what had happened and could administer my favourite Chinese herbal spray to the area – to obviate excessive bruising (I mean, who wants a purple toe).
I’m not very careful with my toes. As a child I invariably sported a blood blister or at the very least a bruise on at least one of them. I once jumped out of a tree and landed on a really long thorn that pierced my foot the whole way through (I could see both ends of the thorn). A few years ago I dropped a cast iron pot lid on the same toe that suffered so much damage today.
And yet, I don’t consider myself clumsy. I can dance Fred Astaire under the table any day.
Perhaps I’m too grounded. Perhaps my toes are too embedded in the earth and that’s why they seem to get in the way a lot. Perhaps I’m always too much in a hurry to get things done. A friend of mine once went to a homeopath who told her she was so ungrounded she literally floated. How wonderful – that reminds me of Douglas Adam’s description of the art of flying in his Hitchhiker’s trilogy.
Whatever the problem is, whatever the reason, I’m not going anywhere fast for a while. Instead, I’m sitting here with my foot propped up, toe enrobed in a bright pink Barbie plaster, throbbing just enough to let me know jogging is out of the question.
Perhaps it’s time for bed.