Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Write about a time everything did — fiction encouraged here, too! (this is a mixture of fact and fiction)
Throughout my life, Murphy has been consistently stalking me. So much so that now it is akin to Stockholm syndrome and I’ve completely gone past the point of even caring. I first became a victim of Murphy in first grade. I was 8 years old. 8! And that smug SOB was already onto me as a target for the next 20 years.
It was a January day like any other, and I was walking to school with my bright pink puffy coat (with little black triangle on it and a drawstring hood). I approached the crosswalk, after verifying both sides of the street were safe (safety first, always and forever, that’s me). As I stepped onto the safety of the sidewalk and trundled towards the school, I was bumped from behind by a 5th grader. At this point, one thought crossed my mind; It was a really really really bad idea to tuck my hands into my coat instead of using the sleeves and pockets on the OUTSIDE. I fell like a baby spruce, waving in the breeze before my mouth smacked the concrete. Blood was everywhere, along with snow and grit, and it took me a few minutes to regain both my composure and locate the tooth that was promptly knocked out.
A few days and a horrified dentist later I was back on my feet, so to speak. Fast forward a week, yes only a week. January 8, 1992 to be exact. I was on the playground during recess (we only go inside on days the windchill was below zero, we are hardcore like that) and the bell rings. Get inside get inside get inside! My brain is screaming at me as I take off at a dead spring. Now, ask me where my hands are…no really…ask. Tucked securely in my coat. You’d think that I’d have learned, but apparently I was a little dense as an 8 year old. This time when I fell, I decided to save my teeth and tilt my head forward slightly, figuring the ground can’t be THAT hard, right? It was grass, after all (ignoring the concept of water tables and ground freezing). Half an hour later I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop crying during my math test. My teacher apparently thought that I’d be fine and that I was disruptive, so she sent me to the hallway (friends had been stopping at my desk after they finished the test to ask if I was OK). So I go and sit in the hallway for a few minute until my head starts hurting and my vision starts to dim. I return to the classroom and tell the teacher, who sends me to the nurse’s office. As I walk down the hall with a classmate (making sure I don’t do something horrible like pass out or skip class) I’m thinking ‘why do I feel so weird?’ We make it to the office and my escort leaves. I lay down on the couch and stare at the “call home” phone, reserved for sick kids or kids getting to brag up a monthly achievement. It was a Mickey Mouse phone and I couldn’t help but think “I finally get to use the Mickey phone”.
It seemed like it was taking forever for the nurse to come check on me, so I closed my eyes to wait. The next thing I remember, I wake up and I’m cold, and I’m blind. I can’t see! What is going on? Why do I hear sirens? I don’t understand what’s happening to me and panic overwhelms my childlike mind. I’m crying, feel like I can’t breathe. Where is everyone? I hear my mom’s voice calling my name and I look towards it, saying “I can’t see, mama I can’t see!” She reaches out and grabs my hand, reassuring me that she’s there. I’m so ashamed, I ask if I can suck my thumb, too terrified to cope with my current situation. I remember my mom saying it was OK, and the world faded to black again.
I woke up in a hospital room, IV strapped to my arm, teddy bear that was not mine laying in the bed next to me. The room is too bright for my sensitive eyes. I could see again! The pain in my head was unbearable though. It turned out that hitting my head on the ground had given me a concussion, and at one point in the ambulance I had stopped breathing. Apparently firefighters had arrived to give me oxygen and keep me stable until the paramedics could transport me. Some rewiring occurred in the process, and after that, my clumsiness increased exponentially, and I developed a fun sensitivity to specific textures and sounds. Cotton balls, artificial silk, and Styrofoam are now my worst enemies. I actively have to force myself to touch things like felt, some microfibers, and many kinds of wool. This was the day that Murphy came into my life.
Ten years would go by with mini-Murphy encounters, nothing to brag about except another head injury on a swing set, and then another on a soccer field (diving in the goalbox and hit the pole). The winter after my 18th birthday, Murray chose to grace me again with his presence. Christmas Eve 2002, I was a senior in high school and working at a JCPenney’s. I had a boyfriend who worked a little over a mile away at a video rental store. My lunch break rolls around and I go to my car…only to find that the car has a flat tire. By flat, I mean it is on its rim. So, instead of calling off visiting my boyfriend, I chose to WALK the mile, no big deal right? Except it was Christmas Eve, traffic was nuts, and there was snow and ice, everywhere. Don’t worry, my hands were in the sleeves of my coat safely. I made it to his work, visited for about 15 minutes, then started walking back to my job. I decided to risk fate and run across the street when there was a break in traffic.
This is where it all went down hill. I made it across the first two lanes of traffic and into the turning lane, waiting while southbound traffic cleared. I had my moment, no one was coming, and I started jogging across the street, only to slow when I heard the squeal of tires. A red Ford F150 had ran the yellow stoplight (the one I was too lazy to walk over to wait and cross) and was barreling down on me. I sprinted towards the sidewalk, angling towards the safety of the curb as I went. The truck’s tires stalked my every move until the nose of the truck bumped my hip.
My life flashed before my eyes as I hit the pavement, rolling from the impact, knowing that on the ice I’d never be able to get up in time. I was going to die. That was it. I was losing momentum from the truck hitting me, and the truck was still coming, sliding across the sheet of ice that had developed on the wintery road. With resolve, I threw my body forward, staying curled in a semi- ball, rolling on the ground to keep moving from the truck. The last of my strength fled and I finally came to a stop, eyes closed, curled in a fetal position. The heat from the engine washed over me, a dragon’s breath before it devoured me, but the pain never came. I opened my eyes slowly and stared at the bumper of the truck, which was now just above my head, and reached out to touch the tire a mere foot from my face.
I scrambled off to the side of the road, crabwalking and falling over until I reached the relative safety of the sidewalk. I leaned against a light pole and started to shake. I had survived. I didn’t even notice the truck burn out and drive away. A dozen other vehicles stopped however, coming to check on me. Someone had called 911 and again, fire fighters and ambulance and police. I gave my report, when the officer asked if the driver had hit me, i paused. In that moment, all I could think of was “that could have been me driving”, and was positive the person would lose their license, possible face jail for hitting a pedestrian (5 years later I’d learn that no, I was at fault so he would have gotten a slap on the wrist), so I said I didn’t know. I sent away the ambulance, the officer offered to drive me back to work and I declined, knowing I had to face my fear. I returned to work, and a flat tire so I couldn’t go home…I called both of my parents and their house, with no answer. At this point I gave up, and Murphy finally left me alone, for the day. A security guard drove me home so I could get out of the craziness.
One week later, New Years Eve, I was driving with my boyfriend to meet our friends to watch the ball drop at a 24 hour restaurant. We were on the same street I had been on before, and a woman driving a black truck crossed all 5 lanes to almost hit us head on. We swerved and the damage was partially avoided, although the car was totalled, we only had minor scrapes and cuts from the glass shattering on the driver side window and windshield. Again, firefighters, ambulance, a breathalizer this time, and friends to drive us home. Turned out the woman who hit us actually had marijuana IN her car as well as in her system and was drunk, a double whammy, if you will. Again, Murphy must have felt some remorse, because life was pretty sedate after that, nothing exciting happening again for years.
Most recently, Murphy visited me on a cruise, by having a “Please wait here for the bus” sign fall off a board and hit me between the eyes, puffy nose, nausea and a massive headache were fun, and then just this week, successfully tripping on concrete (yes over my own foot) while walking to a post office, tearing my only remaining pair of clean jeans, bruising both knees and scraping them and my hands, later followed by dropping milk that I had just bought at a grocery store.
Murphy is a total SOB, but I guess I’m stuck with him so I’ll just continue taking it all in stride.