Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm a hazard to myself

I am updating my blog right now because my printer is taking a break from producing three copies of my dissertation.


Let me tell you about my dissertation. My dissertation was about the classification of deliberate self-injury. But really it was an excuse for me to do a ton of esoteric multivariate statistics. Multivariate statistics are HOT, baby. They are even hotter when very few people (occasionally including me) understand them.

My topic is near and dear to my heart, but it's not one that most people like to discuss over tea and crumpets. This is fine with me. I have no shame in talking about many things. I could go on and on about methods of self-injury, how this type of self-injury is distinct from the fairly bizarre injuries that people with psychosis may inflict upon themselves, and so forth, without batting an eyelash. (This helps me at work, too, because I can talk about everything ranging from specific intimate acts to ablatio penis without batting an eyelash. What is ablatio penis, you ask? Look it up! Then practice defining it out loud until you no longer giggle.) And I know that, in reply, some people will make jokes; because that is how they deal with difficult topics of conversation.

But sometimes I myself am the joke.

My wife and I have a lot of books. When we moved into our current apartment, we found that we had a lot of space to put books, but we had more books than this space could accommodate. So I put many of my textbooks and assessment materials in boxes, for storage in the back of one of our many built-in bookshelves. This particular shelf is about three feet deep, three and a half feet tall, and five and a half feet long. And (this is the important part) the top is a little less than 64 inches above the floor.

The top of my head is also a little less than 64 inches off the floor.

Three days after we moved in, I was attempting to shove one of these godawful heavy boxes of textbooks into the back corner of this shelf. I leaned in to push it agasint the wall, and when I straightened up, there was this incredible pain in the top of my skull. I shouted a couple of four-letter words, then started crying uncontrollably. And the only thing I could think to do was to go to bed.

So that is what I did. I climbed into bed. My wife came along and asked what I was doing in bed. I told her to take me to the ER if I fell asleep. She read me some silly stories. Then I started nodding off. So we called my mom, who is a physical therapist. After a brief conversation (which I began by asking, "Mommy, should I go to the emergency room?"), we set off for the emergency room, where I continued falling asleep while waiting to be seen for my head injury.

The physician assistant who saw me was in his first day on the job. He asked why we'd just moved to California. I told him I was working on my dissertation.

"What's it about?" he said.

"You're going to laugh," I said.

"No, really," he said, "what's it about?"

"Deliberate self-injury," I said.

"Are you your own case study?" he asked, with a big silly grin on his face.

Honestly, I am not now, nor have I ever been, my own case study. I am just a klutz. But let me tell you a representative sample of the purely accidental unpleasantries I have inflicted upon myself, just today, the day I finally printed out my dissertation:

  1. Whacked my right hand against a table at work.
  2. Scratched an itch on my leg a little too hard.
  3. Burned the back of my throat on dinner.
  4. Picked up a bag of groceries the wrong way and got a twinge in my back.
  5. Slammed my hand into a grocery cart, in the process of slamming the cart into the side of the store exit.
  6. Stepped in what I thought was a pile of wet mulch, but was actually an ankle-deep rain puddle with some mulch floating on it.
You know, I'll probably still be a klutz once my dissertation's in.


1 comment:

Heather said...

That's too funny! At least you know what you're doing to yourself. I usually end up with tons of bruises, which I examine in confoundment because I have *no idea* where they came from.

Good luck with the dissertation!