"Skinned Hands and Knees"
Maria waited for me in the car. We were doing our Saturday morning errands. I had to go to the ATM and get something I haven't used in a year - PAPER MONEY. A handyman was coming on Sunday and I wanted to make sure I had cash for him. I swear - the last time I got cash was last summer - and it has taken me 9 months to go through that $200 (the amount that I've labeled as a favorite for cash withdrawals).
The bank that we use has a little building for drive-through transactions and a small vestibule for the ATM. You have to swipe your card to get inside. I didn't even look inside - I just swiped my card and started to step in. I was embarrassed because there was a man inside - doing a transaction. I blurted out "SORRY!" at the same time he said: "Come on in!" The way he said it - I knew this guy had a sense of humor similar to mine. So what the heck - I walked in and took a position in the corner.
The guy was hilarious. We bantered back and forth with me saying that I was there to rob him (funny because he was 20 years younger than me and if I had to guess works construction. This guy could certainly hold his own in a fight). He countered by announcing his pin number as he punched it in - just to make it easier for me to get the cash directly from his account after I stole his card. It was wonderful. My kind of day. Sunny, springlike, and connecting to a stranger with humor. He finished his transaction and left. Mine was done in just a minute.
As I walked out of the bank I started walking down the sidewalk at the same time I was looking at the withdrawal slip when I felt my ankle twist as I stepped in the space between the sidewalk and the grass. I was walking fast enough that I did what sports announcers of volleyball would label: "A DIGGER". Hands outstretched in an elderly Superman pose as I flew from upright to the ground. One hand hit the cement sidewalk - the other grass. I hit the ground hard enough that it knocked the wind out of me. Of course, there was a woman not far behind me who asked: "Are you All Right???" And of course my answer - which is what any male would respond: "Oh I'm Fine!". Yeah. Right.....
I walk back to the car nursing my wounds. I've had dead grass sticking to my sweater, both of my knees are scraped and stinging. I've got blood dripping off my right hand. Side note: I'm on a blood thinner - because - well - thats' another story.... Trust me when I say that a normal cut for anyone else gets a lot more exciting when your blood is the consistency of water and with absolute scientific accuracy I can tell you that my cuts and abrasions take 2.7 times longer to clot than normal humans. We had to forget about any other errands since I couldn't go into any stores looking like a Halloween character. I momentarily thought about stopping in at church and claiming the stigmata, but it was couple of weeks too early - so we drove back home.
Maria was great at blotting my wounds until we could get home and take out the first aid kit. So here I am with scraped hands and knees, and we're getting ready to get the gravel out of my hands when....
WHAM.... I'm back in 3rd grade.
It wasn't just third grade, it was all of grammar school. Mom would buy me a new pair of pants. I go to school and fall on the playground. I'd limp home (because home was only a 5-minute walk and schools sent kids home all the time for all kinds of reasons). My maternal grandmother (Gramma Fraher) would comfort me and start wiping the wounds with a washcloth that had the feel of #2 grit sandpaper. Once she was sure it was cleaned out - she'd head to "the medicine cabinet" to get...
You young kids have probably never heard of the stuff. Let me explain...
Mercurochrome was sold in tiny little glass bottles with a screw-on cap that had a long glass dabber attached to it.
I don't know the exact formulation for Mercurochrome, but my guess would be equal parts mercury and Portuguese Man of War venom. Gee - I wonder why it was banned in the United States back in the '90s!!! Damn FDA strikes again!
I have good reason to believe this formula is correct. See for yourself:
Here's the essence of what Wikipedia says about the Portuguese Man O War (after I took out all the genus species and technical stuff):
It has numerous venomous microscopic nematocysts which deliver a painful sting powerful enough to kill fish, and has been known to occasionally kill humans.
Here's the Wikipedia definition of Mercury Poisoning:
Mercury poisoning is a type of metal poisoning due to exposure to mercury. Symptoms depend upon the type, dose, method, and duration of exposure. They may include muscle weakness, poor coordination, numbness in the hands and feet, skin rashes, anxiety, memory problems, trouble speaking, trouble hearing, or trouble seeing.
I swear - my current body has 8 out of the 9 symptoms! Maybe it's because I was a clumsy kid with a grandmother who had that Mercurochrome bottle always ready.
How do you remember getting fixed up after your childhood bumps and bruises? I hope you can remember it fondly.
Till Next Week!