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Gruesome Accident Tales Part I: "I'll close the door, and you can scream as loud as you want."

Pete Saladino, my neighbor and best friend, had two pool tables in his basement (one regular and one bumper), two older sisters, and two VERY ITALIAN parents. He also had a house with a white stucco-y brick exterior. One day, and Iím not sure how this happened, but we noticed that if we put water on the mortar, it looked like it was a totally different color. We got his Mom to grudgingly hook us up with a couple of spray bottles, and then we went outside to "paint" his house.

For some reason I found this really exciting. I was sort of dancing and spinning around like the little dorky nut I was, all giddy with the pleasure of the spray bottle. How exciting! In all my spinning, though, I tripped over myself and plunged to the groundÖwith no outside assistance whatsoever, and landed on my poor little pinky. Pete and I both heard the yucky sound of it, and I unhappily nursed my hand all the way home.

When I got home, my mom was on the phone. I sat down in the chair and sort of whimpered (cause, you know, you didnít disturb my mom when she was on the phone) until she was finished. When she was done, she hung up and asked me what was wrong.

"I think I broke my pinkie," I said calmly. "What?! And you just sat there for twenty minutes?" she said. She took me to the hospital.

We got there and the doc told me that not only did I break the damn thing, but I also dislocated it. Now what exactly did this mean to a terrified second-grader? It meant that he had to get my broken finger in his hand and sort of bend it back the other way until the offending joint popped back into place.

I expressed that I would rather he didnít, if it were at all possible to avoid it.

"Well," he said, (he was a "funny" doctor) "either I do it, or you have one pinkie that points south for the rest of your life." When he saw I was considering this as a viable option, however, he informed me that I really didnít have a choice. My parents confirmed this grim reality.

"Iíll close the door and you can scream as loud as you want," he said.

It hurt a lot, as I remember. Then he casted me up in a good old fashioned plaster cast, (These kids nowadays all have purple fiberglass ones!) and sent me home. The darn thing is still a little crooked to this day.

You think thatís bad? Well, my friendsÖwe have a lot of week left.