The Time I Stabbed Myself (Part 1)
I wish this had happened longer ago than just a year. It’s such a story of stupidity that it’s difficult to grasp that I was 26 rather than 16.
I was in Las Vegas visiting my brother last summer. He was acting in one of the shows on the Strip, and we hung out at his house and generally had a grand old time. I’d tag along to the Strip while he performed in his show, wandering around from casino to casino, and playing penny slots because I am the cheapest being on Earth.
I actually had a strategy for maximizing my free drinks at the casinos. At the penny slots, only pay one cent at a time, but sit next to someone who is a chain smoker. 99% of the time, that smoker is also going to be a heavy drinker who tips the cocktail waitresses well. Park yourself next to them, and if you can ignore the clouds of smoke, you’ll see waitresses practically fall over themselves to serve them (and by extension, YOU). Reeking of smoke, but happily drunk for only pennies, I’d while away the hours. My brother would then pick my drunk ass up and drive me home. Good times!
During this painfully hot August trip to Vegas, we saw billboards advertising the LAS VEGAS GUNSHOW, in all caps. At first we joked about it, wondering the types of people who would attend such a thing. But after I shot an uzi at a store near the Strip (all you need is a driver’s license!), I started getting curious. I had never been to a gun show before – would we be the only liberals present? Would somebody start shooting? The possibilities were endless! We decided to go check it out during my final weekend in Vegas.
Upon handing over $10 at the door, we entered the show and marveled. Guns were absolutely everywhere, along with survival gear and scantily clad women who acted as “booth babes” for the sparsely attended show. One tried to demonstrate the “power” of a magnetic balancing bracelet on me – the “before” example had her practically knocking me over, while the “after” one, with the bracelet, had her barely touching me. I called her out on her chicanery, and she asked me to leave the booth.
I picked up some reusable chemical hand warmers for the New York winter ahead, and also browsed the powdered meals which took up the entire rear of the show. These were emergency rations for the apocalypse, and they were handing out samples. Hungry and intrigued, I took a taste, and let me tell you, I’d rather die in a nuclear winter than eat that shit again. Once again, I was shooed from the booth.
Exiled from approximately half the show, I headed on to the main event, which were the guns and knives. Every table tried to hand me a pink handgun, “For the little lady,” each burly man behind the counter said with a wink. Ugh. I tried sighting some of the larger revolvers, but who was I kidding? At 5 foot nothing and 95 pounds, the recoil alone would knock me on my ass. But I refused to touch anything pink with HEARTS (yes, there was a gun like this), so I also looked at the tiny pistols designed to carry in your purse. Tiny enough to be shot by a child, I found them pretty unnerving. A man at a table full of shotguns recommended that I just use a flashlight to scare a robber instead. Actually shooting a shotgun at close range indoors would destroy much of the room, and he stressed that because of the difficulty of aiming the damn thing, shotguns were mostly just to scare people anyway.
After it was all done, I was a little disappointed to come away with nothing but hand warmers, and so lingered by the knife cabinet. Inside were about a dozen varieties of butterfly knife for prices ranging from $15 to over $100. I had seen my brother do flipping tricks with a similar knife years ago, and wanted to learn for myself. Cheap as I was, I felt a little ridiculous getting the $15 knife, so I sprung for a $20 model – the second cheapest in the case. Excited to try out my new toy, we headed home.
My brother had to work at the theater all day since he had both a matinee and an evening performance, so I decided to stay home and learn my way around this new knife. Alone. I looked up some videos of flipping tricks on YouTube, and attempted to follow the tutorials closely. I began very slow and cautious, but wasn’t too worried since the knife wasn’t particularly sharp. Lord knows how long it had been lying in that cabinet at the show, but it was dull and not particularly clean.
I was doing pretty well for a while, when I decided to try and speed things up, and I got overconfident. While spinning the blade around my hand, I miscalculated and lost my grip on the knife. It spun around in the air, then planted itself tip-first straight into my palm. The edge might had been dull, but the tip was plenty sharp enough to cut through my flesh like butter.
I gave a gasp of pain as the bloody knife clattered to the floor, then nearly passed out. The pain was incredibly intense, and I immediately started cursing until I ran out of words. I knew I was in deep shit since my ring finger and a portion of my palm had gone instantly numb. I grabbed a paper towel, then collapsed onto a nearby couch, trying to fight off the blackness creeping around the edges of my vision. I held my hand above my head, applying as much pressure as I could while I watched the towel turn red at an alarming rate.
Freaked out beyond all reason, I frantically called my brother, but he was on stage and nowhere near his cell phone. I considered calling 911, but chickened out when I thought of the cost of an ambulance. Resigning myself to the inevitable, I called my parents. With a doctor and an ER nurse at my disposal, I figured if anyone would know what to do, it would be them.
“So, uh, hi,” I began, my voice high-pitched and breathless. I was attempting to wedge the cell phone between my face and my shoulder while holding my throbbing hand a foot above my head. “So, uh, I kind of maybe stabbed myself. And I can’t feel part of my hand.” My parents were, understandably, ALARMED. They first asked HOW it had happened, and I panicked. I didn’t want to tell the truth. Who wants to hear that their child bought a knife at a sketchy gun show in the desert, then STABBED herself with it? I hastily concocted a story about about a cooking accident, which my parents accepted without much scrutiny since I was, you know, bleeding to death.
My mom told me to wash out the wound, which I attempted to do for about half a second before I thought I would faint. “Oh, yeah,” she said. “In the hospital, we usually have to hold people down for that part. You probably have an exposed nerve in your hand.” Indeed I did, as I would later find out.
But the bleeding eventually stopped, my brother came home after his day at the theater, and we headed to the nearest pharmacy to get myself a tetanus shot. Without knowing where that blade had come from, I was taking no chances with lockjaw. My dad even called in an antibiotic for me to start taking right away.
As for what happened next, I will leave that for later. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of “Playing With Knives Is a Terrible Fucking Idea!”
(Click here to read Part 2 of the stabbing saga!)