CW: What’s the worst you’ve ever physically injured yourself?
CO: I guess the worst I ever zapped myself was while working one of those crazy manual labor gigs every writer seems to have before getting fed up and deciding to do something a bit less harmful to the body, mind, and soul–like teaching. You get so many injuries in those kinds of jobs you learn to ignore anything short of broken bones, severed digits, and sucking chest wounds. I suppose I was lucky–the worst I can recall is a broken foot I got while tearing down an old log cabin back when I worked construction.
It was a horrible place we were demolishing—built in the mid-fifties with rotten quality logs and concrete for chinking. The whole thing came apart with nothing much more than a good nudge from a backhoe. The guy running the backhoe got the remains of the cabin all loaded in a dump truck and it ended up my job to run the stuff out to the dumpsite.
This was late winter in the middle of a freezing rain storm, so by the time I got out there and hoisted the dump bed up, most of the logs had frozen to the inside of the bed. This happened a lot in the winter, so I had a big iron pole handy to pry stuff loose. But this time around, I had a long section of concrete and log wall take a weird bounce off the side of the bed while I was standing to the side poking and prying away. So this few hundred pound chunk of construction refuse came barreling out all crazy and sideways, nearly landed square on top of me, but only ended up hitting my left foot and driving it about six inches into the frozen ground.
Not sure how many bones ended up broken, but my foot swelled up like a giant purple sausage when I got home that evening and took my boot off. I never went to see a doctor. I just wrapped my foot real tight with an ace bandage. I figured that’s all a doctor would do anyway.
In retrospect maybe I should have claimed workman’s comp and went to the hospital or something, but I was young and thought I was some kind of tough-guy. Talk about malformations—I still got toes on that foot gnarled up and twisted like old tree roots.