We have two rabbits as I may have mentioned previously, they're very cute, fairly tame and perpetually hopped up on caffine as rabbits are wont to be. With this summer's unusual heat I've taken to wearing shorts a fair bit, or to be more precise, some old combats I cut off below the knees.
One day the rabbits are out in the back yard running around, we had the back doors open so they could come in and jump up beside us on the couch. The brown (male) came in, jumped up onto my lap and sank his teeth into my weiner.
I've been mauled or injured by a fair number of animals in my time, par for the course living on a farm. I was kicked in the head by a lot of livestock at one time or another, in fact many people attribute a large part of my mentality to three formative concussions.
1) When my mother brought me home as an infant my dad was wallpapering the hall and landings, she slipped on some paste and dropped me on my head.
2) At the age of two or three I decided to get out of a moving car as it was pulling into the yard, fell out and cracked my head on a flagstone.
3) Some months later I managed to get into a field where we kept a cow and her calf. She got protective, I got concussion.
I still have the scars from the first two actually.
There were others, when I was seven I caught a basketball with my head, when I was about 12 I was helping shear sheep, had to chase one of the skittish bastards and ran into a wooden beam at full tilt, bounced off it and cracked the back of my head on a flagstone. I'm pretty sure I got kicked in the head that day too, but it's hazy for obvious reasons. Age 15 while rescuing a puppy from it's ill advised trip into the donkey shed to see what donkey feet looked like I got kicked in the head by a cranky lesbian donkey. Not animal related but: I fell out of the back of a trailer, head first onto a rock when I was about 10.
Years later I had problems with ingrowing toenails, so bad in fact that they had to surgically remove large chunks of my big toenails permenantly. Cavan hospital (or my mutant healing factor) being what it is, they grew back eventually and still cause me troubly today occasionally. They were great for getting out of PE for my entire secondary school years though since our PE teacher only know one kind of physical education, football... Well.... two if you count rubbing himself. Amazing the kinds of things you only remember after particularly vivid nightmares.
So after I got them out and sorted and so on, I had stitches on either side of both big toes. For the first and last time in my life I was trod on by animals - A pony, two cattle and a horse.
Mum saw all this as a learning experience. Technically it wasn't since I'm sure they all made me forget things, scream in pain, cry like a girl or require medical attention, of course this is the woman who accidentally rapped my knuckles with a breadknife and opened my middle right knuckle right to the bone.. I mean you could SEE THE BONE!, NO IT WILL NOT BE FINE I NEED STITCHES!.
Anyway, that amount of damage should have left me drooling for life no doubt, or... I dunnow, with the ability to see dead people, or read minds or see the future but nothing so far, and I'm not inclined to make any experimental efforts to remember civil wars these days. That doesn't stop me from, for example, mixing up the handles for the fridge and freezer in our house and since the freezer door sticks badly, giving it a mighty yank while bending over, bracing myself against the bench, pulling the freezer door open and smacking myself badly with it. I dunnow, I brain myself repeatedly and I'm fine, I turn around in my seat to watch Will and Grace, I feel something snap and I can't move for a week.
Of course my family was very helpful, my Dad once accidentally slammed a car boot shut on my head and my brother once decided we should play swordfights with metal bars, it was cool, we even used different fighting styles, I was zorro, he was conan the fucking barbarian, clocked me on the right of my head and from that day to this I can't hear properly out of my right ear (expensive corrective surgery aside).
And since I never said this was all about me, I might as well mention the time my brother set fire to the kitchen floor. He was a young lad, maybe seven or eight at the time, cute as a button, big blue eyes (for which he was teased mercilessly at school but man alive do the ladies love them. The preening little peacock bastard...) We'd been warned not to let the fire in the stove go out, this is before the days of gas fired heating had hit the countryside and sure enough we never looked at the thing the whole night. I was busy with computer games, he was tinkering with something lego, my sister was doing something with dolls, probably dismembering them if I know her. In the end though it was my brother who noticed the ice in his hair and decided to do something about it. He was always the more mechanically minded of us, the problem solver.
He solved this problem by getting two firelighters (lumps of parafin and charcoal and petrol and semtex and C4 and depleted uranium - Mum never bought the big brand name lighters since they were crap so we bought store brand ones, or ones with names like "Inferno" and "Gunpowder" and "Dirty Sanchez's eyeblinder" and "First degree burns to the hand and upper arm") putting them into a discarded teabag box. I'll get back to the fire in a minute, first I'll explain the teabag box thing. Firstly, for you colonists over the pond, I don't know if you even have teabags or have even heard of tea: It's like coffee except it tastes nice and doesn't make you shit liquid fire if you drink too much. You can get it loose as tealeaves or in convenient bags that keep the leaves inside a cottonish sachet so you're not picking leaves out of your teeth for hours afterwards. Tea in ireland is traditional made to have a consistency that can only be described as "slicable". Tea made in the morning is still fine that evening, even if it went cold, you just put it back on the heat.
There was a brand of teabags, which I believe is still around today (I'm a lyons tea man myself) which went by the name of "Minstrels". It had one of the most spectacularly racist brandings you'll ever see outside of kansas. Basically the cover was emblazoned with a picture of five or six "Minstrels"... or as they are better know, "Gollywogs" - white men who painted themselves black with big white lips to sing songs about slavery and yell things like "Yes Massah!" and carried canes and those hats that are sort of like a top hat only shorter. Seriously... I mean even as a kid who had never even SEEN anyone with a skin color other than pasty white I knew something was a bit fucked up there. There were also a brand of sweets with the same kind of branding now I think about it. This shit would have gone down a storm at a KKK rally, get my drift?
Now we start to veer slowly back to the point. The teabag boxes had tokens you could cut out and save for something, I seem to recall the prospect of winning a car being involved. My mum collected them for about fifteen years, we had thousands of them around the house, there were so many they were a fire hazard all of their own. Little did we realise the irony of this.
The tokens safely stashed beside, I dunnow... probably our fireworks collection (yup, they're illegal here but far be it from us to let a little law stop us from having them. Another quick aside, I lived in Artane in dublin for a year or so some time back. One weekend when I wasn't there a friend came over with some fireworks he'd found in his place, set them off and the neighbour's bushes several doors down was filled with a pretty blue and red flame for about five minutes.
My brother now takes the tokenless box and puts the fire lighter into it. His idea, apparantly was to put a lit match to the lighter while it was in the box, balanced on the edge of the fire compartment, push the box in and let it all catch fire, Mum would never be any the wiser once we thawed the dog out (remember why we were doing this?, mum wanted the fire to be kept lit). He lit the firelighter and when pulling his hand back, knocked the box onto the floor, the box opened and the lighter fell out onto the linolium.
Remember I said my brother was mechanically minded? Well he made up for it with a lack of common sense. When faced with a lump of loosely bound burning petrol and charcoal you should lift it up with a dustpan or something, not try to stamp it out with your foot as you would a match or a cigarette butt.
Unfortunately this is exactly what he did. I didn't see it but from the scene I arrived to (and the holes in the lino for years afterwards) I summarise that the fucking thing exploded and scattered everywhere in little burning lumps. Naturally he chose THIS point to ask me for help, loudly and repeatedly. I ran to the kitchen to see whatever the matter could be and saw something which can really only be understood using the miracle of video or photo. In the absence of those however: He is standing by the oven, surrounded by flames an inch or two high doing the panic dance - a dance that involves hopping from one leg to another while sort of doing an impression of a tyrannasaurus rex's stumpy little arms. Getting the picture yet?
Then you'll understand why I fell over onto the floor laughing.
My dad, who was out in his garage making something twice as powerful as the manufacturer ever intended to be safe heard the screams, ran into the house in his overalls, stamped out what was left of the fire. Stood there a second, looked at me and said
"yeh little bollocks"