March 22, 2014

Short Story: The Day Snuffleupagus Cried

When I was nine, I had a skateboarding accident. I wish I could say my injuries resulted from attempting a super-cool move, like an inverted 360 or something, but unfortunately, I was just pushing a skateboard up my neighbor's driveway on my knees. The board's front wheel caught a rock, and my right cheek caught a face-full of concrete, scraping off a solid stripe of flesh.

When my initial shock twisted into searing pain, I started screaming. My friends, true to middle grade form, ran away, screaming as well, leaving me more utterly alone than I'd ever been in my life. But after a few minutes, my heroic (although slightly built) neighbor ran outside, scooped me up, and wobbled his way to my house with my 50lb frame in his arms.

I remember that there was so much blood on his T-shirt. My blood.

I remember Mom's reassuring calm, even as we drove to the doctor's office just up the road. (In Summerfield, NC, pretty much everything was "just up the road.")

And then the strangest thing happened. Our doctor, who was young enough to seem friendly--although he had a beard that crept halfway down his neck, which was vaguely piratical in nature--asked my mom a question: would she mind if he hypnotized me to give me the two stitches I required?

My mom, being the world's okayest mom, said: Sure!

So then my doctor asked me to look at what may or may not have been a penny, and tell him about the latest episode of Sesame Street. So I did. My eyes drifted shut, and the episode played out as though projected directly onto my eyelids. Big Bird had a party, and he didn't invite Snuffleupagus. Naturally, Snuffleupagus cried. A lot. Then they made up.

Then I woke up.

Amazingly, I had two stitches right below my nose, and I hadn't felt a thing. Even by my mom's standards, this was a little bit crazypants. But honestly, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. It wasn't unusual to believe in magic at that age.

Just this past week, my four-year-old strained his neck, and I found myself in the chiropractor's office, being asked a question: would I mind if he adjusted my kid's neck? If you've never seen a chiro adjust a neck, you might think this is no biggie, but trust me: adjustments are precise but incredibly dramatic. I was thinking of my mom and Snuffleupagus and magic when I said yes. And wouldn't you know it, the adjustment worked.

Sometimes in life, as in writing, the new stuff is terrifying...but those moments also hold the most potential. I feel this way fairly often when I'm writing. Some ideas are chock full of crazypants.  But sometimes a little crazy unlocks a whole lot of magic--and those are the stories I love to read the most!

Short Stories feature my random anecdotes and ramblings, sometimes tied to writing and other times to life at large. If you're an author interested in sharing a short story of your own, please do get in touch!

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