The other morning, walking across the den, I was skewered with pain in my right index toe. It was bad and so sudden, I would’ve screamed ‘MF’ if my kids hadn’t been standing right there, about to have breakfast. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a scorpion or a wire coat hook–or both–stuck between my toes. What the hell?!
At least, when you stub your toe, you know the pain’s coming–that half-second to cringe and grab hold of furniture or wall. This time, in reverse order, nothing. No vengeful cat claw, no inch-long nail going through my sock, nothing!
Where do these things come from? And why? Obviously, not the first time it’s happened to me. In fact, I put a mention in my first novel, Watching the World Fall, where the character of Joel suffers claws across his chest during a stadium walk-through. Nobody notices, and the pain goes away. Happened to me. Once in fifth grade, I got hit with the sensation that a fishing hook had ripped through my left ear. I nearly fell over. Nothing there. Nothing to look at or bandage.
Again, this time with my toe, nothing. After two seconds, it went away and I was left only with a beastly reminder, ‘Look what I can do to you!’ Whom is speaking, I have no idea. Any deities I’ve pissed-off lately? Shiva, El Diablo, anyone?
In the film version of The Martian, Matt Damon does an excellent job, as always, of convincing the viewer he’s had a radar post skewer his side (the book version’s great, too). Sweating, heart-rate up. At least he got a big bandage for it. I got nothing, just an echo. I guess that’s what I get for walking across a room.