Before I started practicing Judaism seriously, which means abstaining from anything that doesn’t have to do with Shabbat from sundown Friday evening to sundown Saturday night, I often watched the Friday Night Fights with my dad. It wasn’t so much that I loved watching grown men beat the shit out of each other; it was the camaraderie with my dad, drinking Scotch or Bourbon and critiquing each punch: the armchair referees.
Thus I came to know a little bit about the boxing lexicon: uppercut, jab, roundhouse, body punch, slug it out, slugfest, knockdown. I learned the various strategies for attaining the desired end-point to a match: a Knock-Out. That is exactly what it sounds like: the guy gets knocked unconscious. Yeah, I know. It’s like, Cro-magnons duking it out for a fair damsel or a haunch of mammoth meat.
Next best to the Knockout, or KO, is the TKO or Technical Knockout, which means the dude is knocked down and can’t stand up before the referee (joined by the audience) counts to ten. Blood lust.
There are lots of ways to score a KO. One is to wear your opponent down with a long series of body punches. Hey, there are only so many jabs to the kidneys and liver the poor body can take before it becomes incapable of either staying out of the way of the next punch, or mustering the strength and accuracy to land a good one on the other guy.
The most effective KO, though, is the direct route: a solid uppercut to the chin. For some reason, a sound blow to the chin causes instant unconsciousness.
I got to experience that first-hand ten days ago when I somehow fell into a hardware store on Rehov Agrippas (Agrippas Street), around the corner from where I live in Jerusalem. I can’t remember how it happened. I remember waking up hazily, watching somebody pick my other sandal up off the sidewalk and throw it into the store. Toda rabbah (thank you).
Then a man and a woman, who seemed to be the proprietors of the hardware store, pulled me up off the floor and deposited me in a chair. They brought me a glass of cold water. I thanked them, and pulled off the hanging strip of skin that used to be attached to my arm from wrist to elbow, and threw it on the floor. I wasn’t pleased with the damn hardware store for KO’ing me. I drank the water, dripping blood on their floor, then asked to wash my wound. They led me to the hardware store sink, which wasn’t meant for wound care, but it had water, so it had to do. Then I wrapped my arm in half a roll of paper towels and bought the desk lamp I had intended to buy when I fell in and then fell out, and wobbled home.
When I got safely in my own door, I systematically assessed the damage. My bottom front teeth all felt dicey. It’s a good thing I have metal braces on the inside of my front teeth (yeah, I know, that’s another story). Otherwise I think I would have lost them. As it was, the whole inside of my lower lip and gums looked like hamburger. Yecchh.
Everywhere else on my head looked fine. Then I noticed the lump on my chin. Damn! How did that happen? With the exclusion of the skin avulsion on my right arm, which must have slid down the metal door of the store, I had no other evidence of injury. I must have taken one squarely on the chin!
The question is, how? Maybe I tripped on the one step leading into the store. I do tend to have a foot-drop when I get tired, due to old injuries. Maybe that was it.
There is a theory that I might have seizures sometimes, because on one other occasion I found myself on a Jerusalem stone floor with a huge goose-egg on my head (and a whopper headache), and no clue how I got there.
At any rate, I certainly got a lovely concussion out of this one. My generally poor memory has disappeared altogether. Hell, I might have written a post on this already, and don’t remember writing it. If I have, please forgive me. My brain is still somewhat addled, even ten days later.
No, I did not go to the doctor. The last time I went to the doctor for a head injury was so useless that I decided not to bother, since all they did was to observe me for six hours, and since I was still alive after six hours, they sent me home with a prescription for a pain medicine that I’m allergic to. So I decided to wait it out at home, and if I kicked off, so be it. I let my neighbor know so he would check on me and if I was unconscious call the ambulance and take care of my dog, and if I was dead call the Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) and invite people to my funeral.
But none of the above happened. I’ve been doctoring the wound on my arm and it’s healing nicely. I put some ice on my chin and the swelling went down and a purple bruise showed up, which made people stare and wonder if I was a victim of domestic violence. Nobody asked.
The headaches have gone away, and in their place is a vague disorientation: I can’t remember if I did what I set out to do, or whether I ate breakfast. Actually, it’s immaterial. Whatever is really important will either happen on its own, or remind me in one way or another: like Noga, my dog, sitting patiently yet expectantly at my feet looking up into my face, which means I have forgotten to feed her.
I am reminded of the proverb that accompanied my doctoring days: ”Time heals all wounds; all bleeding eventually stops.”