Younger started wrestling practices the week after the last football game. He tolerates wrestling, so that he can use the skills to improve as a lineman in football. But although he has learned to somewhat enjoy the practices, he despises wrestling meets. So, last Tuesday, the day of his first meet, he was looking for snow.
It didn’t snow.
But I did get a call from the school nurse a little after the lunch hour.
“Uhm, I have, uh, Younger here,” she told me, her words coming slowly with a lot of extra “uhms” and “uhs” thrown in, indicating her uncertainty in presenting the current problem. “And, uhm, it seems,” she continued, “that he, uh, managed to stick, uh, a pencil in his, uhm, eye.”
I greeted her with silence, because, really, my mind couldn’t settle on whether to ask how badly he was hurt — which given the lack of panic in her tone didn’t strike me as being an immediate concern — or to ask how he had actually “managed to stick, uh, a pencil in his, uhm, eye.”
And then I wondered just exactly how far Younger would go to avoid a wrestling meet.
And the first thing he said, when I, rushed and harried, arrived at the school, was, “I didn’t do it on purpose, Mom. This isn’t preschool where I poked myself in the eye with my finger to keep from having to go.”
Which he did do, by the way. Poked himself right in the eye with his finger in an attempt to convince me the preschool teachers were mean.
“I’m sure you didn’t,” I agreed. “But how about you tell me exactly how you did manage to stick a pencil in your eye?”
“Well, I was sharpening a pencil, and this pencil always breaks, so I was checking to see how sharp it was when someone bumped me from behind.” He glanced at me again as we stalked towards the truck. “I don’t hate wrestling bad enough to poke myself in the eye with a pencil.”
“Well, that’s good to know. I mean it’s a real relief that you at least like wrestling better than a pencil to the eye.”
“I do, Mom,” he told me fervently. “I really do. And I think I may be going blind. Everything is fuzzy.”
“You aren’t wearing your contact,” I reminded him, pointing to the small container holding his left contact, which he and the nurse had searched for any tell-tale holes from pencil lead.
“Oh. Well, I guess that makes it hard to say then.”
Fortunately, his contact had protected him from any real damage. He escaped with just a minor scratch, and the whole episode goes down in history as an emergency that wasn’t, not one of any consequence, anyway, just another one of those every day emergencies.
Younger even attended his next meet without any mishaps.
Fortunately, he meets other clumsy teenage boys on the mat.
Not the terror of a ballpoint pen.