Thursday, December 10, 2009

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 9

Holidays. They're fun times with friends and families. There's food, celebration, laughter...and in my case injury.

Take Easter Sunday of my senior year. Instead of eating a metric ton of Easter food, I got to go to the emergency room because I wrecked the shit out of my car. Snapped my collar bone in three places. They gave me a hefty dose on pain killers and gave me the orders to take it easy, and stay in bed, to try to let the bone heal. This also being the Easter sunday that started spring break. Of my senior year. yaaaaay.

So, needless to say, holidays and I have a bit of a history. It was Christmas Eve. I want to say that I was 11 or 12. I was giving the marching orders by my mother to take out a bag of trash. It was unusually warm that year, so I was wearing shorts. So, this entry gets credited to God tagteaming with my Mother. I took the trash bag outside, and started swinging it to get some motion to throw over the wall and into the bed of my dad's truck. I felt a tinge on the side of my leg, as on the last powerful swing got it into the truck. I didn't think anything of it, because it didn't hurt...thought maybe the trash bag breezed my leg. As I began to feel warm liquid filling my sock, and knowing full well that I hadn't pissed myself, I looked down to see that the garbage bag hadn't breezed my leg, it full on gashed the ever loving shit out of it. Turns out mom had dumped some broken glass in the bag, and had forgotten to give me that bit of important information.

Having been the first time I've ever seen what the inside of my body looks like, I freaked out just a little bit. I was sure that I would bleed to death, and not be able to open gifts Christmas morning.

We put some ripped fabric on to keep pressure, and then I over heard dad contemplating whether or not he could take me to his Veterinary friend to get me stitched up. I'm not joking and neither was he. For some reason, he decided to take me over to his team roping buddy's house to let him see what he thought of Vet vs. Dr, because in my dad's eyes cattleman's oppinion = doctor's.

He seemed to be disgruntled that Joe told him to take me to the doctor. So, I got the next best thing, MedPlus. AKA Doc-in-a-box. For those who don't know, MedPlus is to Hospital as McDonalds is to Five Star Restaurant.

The doc examined my leg, and asked if I wanted "MERRY XMAS" stitched in my leg. "ARE YOU SHITTING ME?...JUST STITCH." He jammed the syringe into my leg to numb the pain, but what I needed was something to numb the pain for the syringe, because that really really hurt. He stitched me up...I caught a glimpse, and almost passed out. We went home, and I laid on the couch. Then Justin whipped a G.I.Joe at me, and it hit me right in the eye.

More stories to come!

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 8

Hard facts time people. Some folks are not good at sports. I happen to be one of those people. I know, its hard to swallow. Its not that I didn't try. Its that my hands and feet do not operate together that one playing active sports needs. I can run. I can catch a ball. I can not run and catch a ball.

My dad really wanted me to play sports though, and I had to make a choice. Football was out of the question, as I didn't want to get the crap kicked out of me anymore than what happened on a non-football basis. Basketball wasn't happening either...walking/running and dribbling a basketball...HA! My only other option was Baseball. Seeing as how I was absolutely horrible, and every kid was guaranteed to play at least one inning, I was sent out to right field. Which suited me fine. The ball never came my way, so I never had to be alert. I just had to pretend I was. Unfortunately, even in the smallest of roles that I played on my team, there was still almost daily practice. I hated practice. So much so, that I would often hide in the nearby woods until it was over. When I did get stuck on the field, my coach insisted on hitting ground balls directly at me.

These things came rolling on the ground like they were shot out of a cannon. Now, I'm not claiming that my coach was a witch, a jedi or the devil, but he always knew where to hit the ball where it would smack me in one or two places. The balls or the face. One practice, he went for broke and nailed both.

Coach yelled "HENDERSON, GROUND BALL"
Dammit...why? When I'm playing outfield, there is never a ball within 100 feet of me. Much less one rocketing a mach 10 in my direction. While thinking about all of this, I should have noticed the rock that was placed on the field in the ball's path. But I didn't. Was it fate? God? Or did Coach place it there in the random hope I would be standing three feet from it? No one really knows for sure. All I know is that Coach working with physics made that ball bounce off the rock, and hit me square in the coin purse.

Down I went, grabbing my crotchial area, grasping for breath, and ease of pain...but I wouldn't find any. When the pain finally subsided, I thought that would be it for the day....surely I would be relived from practice. Dad or Coach would understand...right? Wrong. "Get back up, here come's another!" Almost gleefully sounding the Coach was, as he hit another ground ball my way. This time I thought "I'm placing my glove over my crotch, there's no way that things gonna...." *BING* Right between the eyes.

So yay. On the same day I got a bruised face, crotch & ego.

After a few years of getting annihilated by baseballs, either by random acts of malice, or my coach saying "take one for the team, lean into the next pitch" I opted out of baseball. I thought "there is no way I can get hit anymore if I'm safely behind the dugout. Wrong.

While watching one of my brothers' games, I decided to quench my thirst, and go to the concession stand for a soda. I got my drink and a cheeseburger. I heard the call "POP FLY" which means, "look out, ball is high in the air" Not "look out, ball is high in the air, and has a computer guided attack planned for my face." As soon as I walked out from under the over hang of the concession stand, I looked up into the pretty blue sky, and caught the glimpse of a round object right before it obliterated my face. I woke up a few moments later to people standing around me.

Now, I just don't go near baseball fields at all. I still wake up in the middle of the night, from nightmares about baseballs chasing me down. I wonder what Freud would say about that.

Up next, I asked for video games for Christmas...not stitches.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 7

I've never liked heights. Never. Ever. When I rode in a cable car that takes you from one side of a theme park to another, I grip the pole, and close my eyes, and pray the cable doesn't snap. When my dad made me go to the top of the faux Eiffel Tower at Kings Dominion in Virgina, I dug my fingers in to the walls of the elevator. I just don't do well with heights. So naturally, I don't like roller coasters either.

I had managed to never get on a roller coaster for many years, dodging them at every turn. That was until a class trip when I was in the 6th grade. Dad was a chaperon for this trip, and he loves to ride roller coasters. My friends that were on the trip loved to ride roller coasters. So, they would ride while I waited. Safely on the ground below.

In what may have been Dad trying to get me into a "man-up" moment, he decided that he was going to goad me into riding one. Seeing as calling me out in front of my friends would probably work, that's what he did. I finally gave in.

I had to sit at the front of the ride. Dad's orders. So, the coaster starts, it goes over a small hill or two, and then starts to chug up the highest point, so as that from there on out, gravity takes over. Chuck chuck chuck chuck chuck the coaster goes up to the high point. I'm already pretty damned scared, at which point...God in his infinite wisdom of loving to play pranks on me decided now would be a good time to throw in a thunderstorm on what was just thirty seconds ago, a very sunny day. The coaster in its very slow motion continues to go until it gets to the top. Then, before gravity can take hold, it stops. Dead. Power had gone down over the park. Folks in the cable cars above us were stuck, nothing was moving.

It would be right here that I freak out. And continued to freak out, as lightning started striking.
Finally, after 30-45 minutes or so, the power came back on, and the coaster shot off like a bat out of hell. I kept my eyes closed for the rest of the trip. I got off, and told my dad "That is exactly why I don't ride those."

As you can see, in a one in a million scenario, on my first and last roller coaster ride why I'll never go on another one again.

Next time, how many times can one face get hit by a baseball?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 6

God bless my Dad. He tried so hard to ensure that I could grow up and work with cows and horses. I reckon God had other plans.

As mentioned before, Dad had taken up the hobby of Team Roping. This is a sport that is usually showcased in rodeos. It involves two cowboys, two horses and one steer. (A steer is a male bull that has been castrated...usually at the hands of my dad. Who would then eat the stolen testicles. And would try to fake them off on me by disguising the name to make it sound more like chicken fried steak. Seriously, if you heard "bull fries", would you think they were battered pieces of steak, or battered testicles?) The header or cowboy who ropes the head would nod his head, and let the person controlling the chute that the steer is located in, to release the steer, at which point the team ropers would rope said steer. To keep this going, you had to have a continual stream of steer to come to the chute.

Dad had me run the steer one time. He told me to get the hot shot (which is a device to give a shock to the steer...much like a tazer...but no where near the knock out power) and get the steer to move up to the chute.

I took the hot shot, and climbed into the small area that leads the steer to the chute. I pop the last one on the butt to get it going. As if he went, then he would push the ones in front of him forward. Save for one little hiccup. This steer had no intentions in moving.

"Dad, this steer won't budge"

"Hit him again."

I zapped the steer again.

"Dad, I really don't think he wants to go."

"Hit him again."

I zapped the steer again.

"This just isn't working. Should I go to the next one, or what?"

"Hit him again, and hold it on his ass until he moves.

I placed the end of the hot shot right on the cow's ass per my dad's instructions. Pressed the button, and held it. I'm not entirely for sure for how long, but the equation probably looks like this.
Amount of time + electric shock = pissed off cow.

I still remember the cow's movement, all in slow motion. The cow stood on his front legs, pulled his back legs tight against his stomach. Then kicked the ever loving shit out of my stomach.

I can't remember how far back it knocked me, but what I do remember is laying on the ground, trying to breathe for what seemed like an hour.

My Dad rode over on his horse, and said "What happened? Are you OK."
*GASP* "cow...kicked...me." *GASP* "can't...breathe"
Dad said "Oh, you'll be fine, now get up and walk it off."

How you walk off getting kicked by a cow is beyond me.

In my next story we'll explore my fear of heights, and roller coasters.

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 5

After my family moved from Mississippi to Alabama, we didn't live on a farm anymore, but we did still have some farm animals. Mostly just horses and cows, as Dad had taken up the hobby of Team Roping, which required both animals.

One of my chores around the house was to keep the horses clean and kept up, which meant bathing them, cleaning their hoofs and brushing their hair. I was a pretty short kid, so when brushing the mane, I would either have to climb up on a bucket, or on top of the horse. Normally, I would want to tie the horses off, but it was a huge pain in the ass to get a bridle on.

There was one horse in particular who's name was Scratch. His name was Scratch because he had a penchant for not stopping when running full tilt at a barb wire fence. As per my duties, I had shimmied myself on Scratch's back to comb his mane. Unfortunately for me, Scratch had spotted a female horse in the neighbors' field, and as he is want to do...took off...with me on his back. Oh, and no bridle. No saddle.

At first my small child arms were around his neck, then as the speed increased, the grip began to break. Then my fingers dug into his neck as hard as they could, but couldn't hold. The last bastion of hope was his freshly combed mane. That didn't last long, as he was mid field, and at full speed. I knew that in that moment, I was going to have to fall. It was almost Matrix like, as I tried to recount how stunt men had fallen off horses. I thought, "OK, don't fall off the back, you'll get kicked to shit." So, as my grip finally gave out, I fell to the side. Bad bad bad. The first thing that hit the ground was my nose. Followed by a hoof to the back of the head. At some point, I stopped rolling, stood up, and coughed grass, mud and blood out of my mouth. The grass, mud and blood was still firmly planted in my nose.

My brother who witnessed this fine horseback ride, reported what was going on to my parents. Not in worry mind you, but more what seemed to be elation as it was later reported to me "HES A RIDIN THAT HORSE!"

My parents came from the house to see me walking back through the field in a heap, I looked like exactly what happened to me.

Presumably, if there were a truck around, my Dad would have told me to go get in it.

Next time, I'll continue on why I don't mix well with farm animals. Like at all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 4

Growing up with my Dad was an interesting thing. He used to ride Bulls in rodeos. Even did it at Madison Square Garden. When he wasn't doing that he was on a roof in redonkeylous heat, or facing down an aligator while he was drunk duck hunting. In other words, Dad is tough. More tough than I'll ever be. Dude falls off the roof, dislocates his hip, pops it back in, and goes back to work. He's managed to drill a nail in his hand, and fixed it with electrical tape.

So, needless to say, I had a hard time not being tough as a child. Say if I were crawling through a barbed wire fence, and it got caught in my back, and I freaked out a little bit, I wouldn't get "Are you O.K?" I got "Quit being a girl, its only barbed wire." When dad and I were on horse back, tearing through the woods, and he manages to successfully duck a low lying tree, and i can't in time, due to the speed of my horse chasing his, and my face eats it, I didn't get "Are you O.K.?" I got "You had better get that horse back." As the blow from the tree had knocked me completely off the saddle, and onto the ground.

When I asked my Dad over and over again for a tree house, he finally built me one. Well, he used wood, and it was a tree...but house it wasn't. Houses tend to have walls, and a roof. What I got amounted to broken two by fours to climb, and up top, was a piece of ply wood situated in between the two main parts of the tree. Dad not being that great of an engineer managed to build my tree plank in such a way, that when I got to the top, I almost had to dangle myself off the damned thing to get up there. This was when I was 7-8 mind you.

Now, I can understand not wanting to do the walls, and roof. As those would take time and money. We had plenty of one, but not the other. I'll let you figure out which one. But a railing around to keep me from falling 30 feet would have been nice. But beggars can't be choosers. So I got my tree house. Sort of. It should be as no surprise that not only did I fall out of the tree, I managed to hit the tree on the way down. It should also be noted that I screamed a little on the way down.

My mother came running out of the house "WHAT, WHAT'S WRONG?!"
I said cryingly "I FELL OUT OF MY TREE....HOUSE."
She said "Is that all, God with the way you were screaming I thought you got attacked by a bear." So, you see...its not all dad. Mom had some digs in there too.

The next time, I'll tell you why no matter what, never ever climb on a horse unless you have at least a rope around its neck.

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 3

This is my ongoing attempts to make internet folks laugh, by telling them absolutely true stories of things that have happened to me.

If you've read the last two entries, you know by now that I used to live out in the country in Greenwood, Mississippi. At the age of 5.5, we moved to a spot in between the two mega metropolises that are Central and Waterloo, AL. Far enough out not to get cable, but not too far out to have to go to Waterloo. Thank God.

My Dad had continued on his own mission to get me to become a man through killing animals. While, not against hunting, I just don't want any part of it. I like just going to the store, and purchasing the after effects. I assume that maybe Dad was worried that Regonomics would fail, and that we would have to forever live off the land. Or he was trying to get out of the house.

One early saturday morning, he decided to wake me from bed to go quail hunting. As watching saturday morning cartoons were not as high on his to do list as they were mine. Being the winter time, it was naturally really really cold. When it gets cold here, it hurts. I imagine due to the moisture in the air. Now remember this for later. Cold. It hurts.

We went to a field that belonged to a friend of Dad's. Dad shot a bird or two. And then he pulled out his shotgun, and actually shot some birds. Wakka. One of them he hit in the eye with the bird shot. He opted to show me. That was polite of him.

We came to a clearing, and Dad thought it time to wait for more birds. Call it Mike vs Dad destiny, call it dad being bored...call it whatever. But Dad looked around for a minute, and pointed and told me "Sit down there." So I did.

A few seconds go by, and I start to feel painful stings in my feet. Then legs. Then butt. Then groin. Soon, all over. Dad in his infinite child rearing wisdom, opted to sit me directly on a fire ant hill. I freaked out a little bit, and began dancing around to get them off of me. Now, if you don't know about fire ants, they don't just bite once, and then go about their business. They bite over and over again. And then they bite some more.

Do you remember the bit about how cold it was? Yeah. Dad then had me strip down to nothing. In the freezing cold, to get the fire ants off. Oh, but it was only a second right? I could just put my clothes back on? No. There were fire ants still in all my clothes. So, we had to go back to the truck with me bare assed.

This would be the last time that Dad would take me hunting.

Next time, I'll tell you about how Dad the Professional Roofer vs Dad the Tree House Builder, are apparently not the same person.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 2

This is my ongoing quest to relive some embarrassing stories, in the hopes that somehow, somewhere, someone will get a laugh or two out of them. A long time ago, when I was much younger, my family didn't have a lot of money. By some standards, you may say that we were kind of poor. Or just poor. I don't know if you can be kind of poor...at any rate, we didn't have money. We lived on a cattle farm in Greenwood, Mississippi. We shucked our own corn, and peeled our own peas...that sort of thing. We didn't slaughter our own cows, pigs or chickens, as those were all bought at the store. The one thing that was killed and eaten by us was deer.

OK, so here's the thing. I don't hunt. I'm fine with folks that do hunt. I don't necessarily agree with some of the measures, but if they're eating what they kill, I've got no beef with that (pun intended). Dad would go hunting, kill some deer, and we would eat some and freeze the rest. I knew this. I had never seen this happen, but I had a pretty good idea what went on. Dad would leave at four in the morning, and return in the afternoon, if he was with Buddy Fancher, then beers were most likely involved. What I didn't know was how you got from deer that's alive to deer that's for dinner. This was an early stage in my life, so the not knowing is rather excusable, as I concerned my life more with Scooby-Doo and coloring books.

One day after hunting, Dad called for me. I came out to see what he wanted. He said "I got a deer, I want you to see how I clean it." To a child that's four years old, what would that sound like to you? Does it sound like "I shot a deer, its dead in the bed of my truck, and we're about to string it up." Or does it sound more like "Believe it or not, we caught a deer, and it was dirty, so now we're giving it a bath." If you picked the second one, good. You and me at four years old are on the same page. I had some candy that I was munching on, and brought along a Cadbury Bunny Egg. You know those gross ass candies that look like yolk is in the middle...yeah those. Which now that I think about it, this story may explain my dislike of eggs.

I get in his truck, excited to see this deer, that mise well be my new pet. We drove right down the street, where dad's hunting pals were all standing around. I asked "Where's the deer?" Dad motioned his thumb towards the back of the truck "In the back" I jumped up on the seat so I could see. There was no deer that was anxious to see his new owner, much like a puppy would. No, it was more eyes rolled back in its head, with his tongue hanging out, and lots and lots of blood. I immediately regretted the decision to come but not wanting to be a little girl in front of dad's friends, opted to get out of the truck. Maybe they were going to still just clean the blood off the deer, and take pictures or something. Dad wrapped a rope around the hind legs, and they hoisted the deer up in the air. I unwrapped my Cadbury Bunny Egg, and took a bite. Dad took out his knife, and buried it into the deer's belly, and drug downwards. Guts came out. I threw up my Cadbury Bunny Egg. A lot. Like in Reagan The Exorcist movie a lot. Dad hung his head, and pointed towards the truck "Go get in the truck, son." I wiped the puke from my eyes, and then hit them in my hands. If that was the beginning of what cleaning a deer meant, I sure as shit didn't want to see the end.

We drove back to the house, and mom could see that I had gotten sick, asked what was wrong. Dad replied "Damned chocolate eggs."

Next time, I'll tell another story of quail hunting with my dad, and how I ended up nude in the freezing cold.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Growing Up Hurt and Humiliated. Part 1

Its occurred to me that in this particular point in my life, I don't have anything to really complain about. I've got a girl, dog, cat, house, and some whiskey in the freezer. I've grown tired of complaining about shiz I can't change; crappy musicians, politics, bad grammar. As I used to be able to go on these rather entertaining rants about what I was pissed off about at that moment, which you can read right at www.myspace.com/mike_henderson (which I haven't posted to in over a year, and the only reason its kept active, is that's because of where I met my girlfriend six years ago).

So here's the thing, I've had the itch to write about things, but can never really get it going. I've done a few game reviews for a site, and that was fun, but then they stopped publishing said reviews. I thought "what could I write about that would be entertaining?" And it suddenly dawned on me...why not tell the stories that have been making my friends laugh for years? The stories of me in various adventures either getting destroyed or completely downed in front of people. I'll start from the earliest age, or what I can remember and move up through the years. Should be a fun ride.

The year was 1981. I was three years old. We lived on a cattle plantation in a small small small town called Greenwood, Mississippi. We didn't own the plantation, this old guy named Mr. Ben did. I often thought at a young age that he was related to Uncle Ben from the rice box, except...white. At any rate, my dad worked on this plantation, as the main cattle hand. He would make sure the cows had food, water, and so forth. Every once in a while, dad would take me with him to tend to the cattle. This never suited me much, as I would have rather stayed home, and dressed up as batman, or read Sesame Street books. I reckon he wanted me to learn about cows, so he would still take me against my will. What can I say, I was three. Which sometimes going could be exciting, as he would let me sit in his lap, and pretend like I was driving. Only through the fields mind you, not on the actual roads.

Mr. Ben had a bull that had his own barn and pen. As you didn't want him on his own, impregnating all the female cows...for some reason. More cows equals more money I would think. Who knows. So, this bull has his own living quarters, and Dad had to go feed him separately. For some reason, call it Bull vs. Me destiny, Dad decided this was one of the times that I needed to come along for the trip. We pulled up to the gate where the bull stayed. Dad says "I'll be back in just a minute, so stay put." Yes, my dad was leaving a three year old in a truck in the middle of a pasture by himself, but these were simpler times...or it was bad judgment. I'll let you dear reader figure that one out. He got out, and went through the gate, and into the barn. As soon as he left, I began to count. OK, so I know what you're thinking three years old, and counting off minutes...you don't believe it. Well, my mother was a firm believer in teaching me how to read, spell & count from a very early age. I continue counting and get to about two minutes. Which was exactly one minute longer than he said he would be. I climb down out of the truck and go to the gate. I start to call for my dad, but I get no answer. Which had made me a little nervous, as he couldn't have been more than 100 feet away in the barn. I decide to climb through the fence, and walk towards the barn, still calling for my dad. No answer...well, no answer from the mammal I was calling out for. Instead, what I got was over a ton of horned anger walking from behind the barn. Even though I grew up on a cattle farm, my knowledge of what bulls do was limited to Bugs Bunny cartoons. Which meant they'll probably charge, and knock you over the fence. Things to look for in an angry bull, as per Bugs Bunny: 1. Bull, Check. 2. Someone in their way that's not a bull, Check. 3. Digging one hoof into the ground to alert you of a charge...check. All these things added to me running as fast as I could, with a bull hot on my heels. Luckily, I wasn't too far from the gate, and was able to get through before he caught up to me. I got to the truck, slammed the door, and locked it. The bull eventually walked away, at which point Dad came out from behind the barn. Came through the gate, and got in the truck. He asked me "what the hell's wrong with you?" I explained what happened, to which I'm not for sure if he believed it or not, but his response was "Well, I told you to stay in the truck."

To this day, I'm not for sure if Dad and the bull had some sort of agreement, that if the bull took me out, would Dad provide him with some hot cow ass, or if it was just a misunderstanding on the bull's part. But what this does, is kick off a long string of events that leaves me either hurt, humiliated or both at the hands of my dad. Next time, I'll tell the story of why it isn't good to eat a Cadbury Bunny Egg when your dad tells you to watch him clean a deer.