So the other day, I got a black eye. The first one I’ve had since I was ten years old.
In 5th grade, I made the grave mistake of standing too close to an exit door at school. It was one of those enormous, heavy duty numbers with the long, horizontal bar across the inside that had to be pushed with two hands in order to open it. The kind with absolutely no warning sign on the outside, cautioning you that young boys liked to charge full speed down the hallway towards that bar so that the door would slam open and flatten the face of anyone attempting to open it on the other side. It is remarkable that my nose wasn’t broken. It is not remarkable that a boy named Bubba received a detention – and a severe Indian burn. After all, there’s no cautionary call like there is in golf or warfare to alert the innocent that they are about to be bombarded with pain. The twittering of the birds outside had drowned out the squeal of Bubba’s sneakers against the commercial grade linoleum flooring as he lumbered towards me and my once perfect nose. He was clearly at fault. I was the victim. Though Bubba attempted to garner sympathy from his friends by complaining about the punishment I’d later inflicted upon him, in the eyes of our peers, his slightly-inflamed wrist was a mere slap on the, erm, wrist when compared to my swollen nose and a shiner the color of grape jelly.
After all, black eyes were not the norm at my parochial school. Any self-respecting, God-fearing parent made sure to beat their children in places that were covered by their uniform. It would have been unseemly for a kid to show up at school with a hand-shaped bruise across their cheekbone or a cigarette burn on their forearm. Those parents clearly didn’t care about the image such reckless wounds promoted. These were the days of corporal punishment – both at home and in the principal’s office, but it was generally agreed upon that bruises and belt marks were best reserved for the buttocks, lest people know that your child misbehaved regularly. Denial wasn’t just a river in Egypt; it was piped into the water supply throughout the country. If you couldn’t see it, it never happened. We were all perfect children…who tended to sit very gingerly.
Sadly, as my accident was witnessed by several of my classmates, I wasn’t given the opportunity to maximize the popularity quotient that accompanies a serious injury by concocting a brilliant story about how I’d suddenly come to resemble Rocky Balboa more than Kristy McNichol. Not that I didn’t spend an entire evening in my canopy bed dreaming up exciting tales about how I’d obtained my painful shiner. In one fantasy, I’d chased down a mugger who’d stolen a little old lady’s purse. Though he’d surrendered the bag to me without a struggle, the far-sighted, ancient crone had beaten me in the face with her cane when I tried to return her pocket book – an early case of my poor self-esteem rearing its ugly head.
In another, I was attacked by a desperately jealous Dionne Warwick after she overheard me singing her hit, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” from my room (because her limo was always driving through random, lower middle class neighborhoods in Miami). As I trilled, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… ,“ my song was cut short by one of the diva’s rhinestone encrusted platforms crashing through my bedroom window, striking me square in the eye. This fantasy was quickly discarded since none of the kids my age actually listened to Dionne Warwick. Had I chosen to offer this story up to my classmates, they likely would have blackened my other eye just for knowing the words (or simply “whoa-ing” as was the case here) to a song from our parents’ mortifying generation.
Without a juicy explanation about my shiner, I had to be content with a slight peak in peer interest which manifested itself in an invitation to sit next to Wendy Swipe at lunch and being chosen 6th for kickball during P.E. – which, as it turns out, was a personal high for the rest of my education. Not much of a reward considering I had to be a “mouth-breather” for a good week which, after the novelty of my black eye wore off, became a reason for students to kick the back of my chair and demand that I stop breathing so loudly. Nor did I enjoy the endless poking. Nothing like a kid’s dirty fingernail stabbing you thirty or forty times a day just millimeters from your eyeball, then hearing the inevitable question, “Does this hurt?” I’m certain there is a reason why the words purple, poke and pain start with the same letter. P must be the long lost, evil twin sister of the letter D (death, devil, divorce, Dokken).
This time around, however, things would be different. As part of the moving process, my husband and I returned to our previous rental home the day after we moved in order to give it a proper cleaning before turning the keys back over to the owners. After spending hours dusting baseboards, filling nail holes, dismantling the chicken coop in the living room, carting the Iron Maiden and wax-soaked altar out to the curb, freeing the imprisoned servants from the basement and hosing down their community urinal, I finally attacked the refrigerator. After emptying the contents, I sat down cross-legged on the floor and proceeded to remove the door shelves, one by one. My friend, Anthony, retrieved two shelves from me at a time and washed them in the sink, while I wiped away the remnants of frenzied moments with my true love, A1 Steak Sauce, from the inside of the refrigerator. As Anthony requested the remaining two shelves, I easily grasped the first from my seated position, but the butter compartment shelf eluded me. Stretching vigorously – because standing to reach something too high to touch while sitting on the kitchen floor is officially against my religion, just as arranging the throw pillows on the sofa properly is against my husband’s – my fingers finally stroked the cool plastic shelf. Pushing up against its white underside with my fingertips, I managed to dislodge the object of my desire, but like many things in life, I could not capture it.
But my face did.
I won’t explain the physics for you, mostly because I never actually took physics, but I can assure you that a hard piece of plastic with the heft of at least a pound or so falling at a high rate of speed towards the cheekbone of a short-waisted person hurts. A lot. Kinda like being hit in the face by a large steel door driven by a fat kid named Bubba. The fact that I am extraordinarily short-waisted is critical here because were I long-waisted, I would have been much taller in my seated position and either (a) would have easily grasped the butter shelf in my hand, completely avoiding said face catch, or (b) my face would have been much closer to the subject shelf thereby reducing the velocity at which it was plummeting when it struck me.
It was only after I successfully pried the butter compartment from my eye socket, that I realized standing would be inevitable, as I now had to reach the icemaker to obtain chunks of ice for my swelling cheekbone. Yes, the iconic bag o’ peas were packed away in a cooler. The slab of raw steak had been consumed the week prior. Anthony, bless his heart, stopped washing long enough to laugh his ass off at me. At which point, my husband entered the kitchen to find me blubbering incoherently about the horrendous ache that was streaking through my eyeball like a lightning strike – though all he could make out was “Wine! Get me a damned glass of wine! I’m in pain, goddamned it!”
Once he’d run across the street to borrow a corkscrew, he quickly poured me a glass of unoaked chardonnay – oh, don’t tell me you clean an empty house without a bottle of wine handy – then said soothingly, “Bitch, I done told you twiced!” But he hadn’t. My man had not told me twiced, he’d not told me onced, he’d not told me thriced, he’d not told me…erm, I’m not sure what comes after thriced, but he had not ever warned me, “Be careful. You’re a klutz and the refrigerator shelves will fall on your face the way rain falls in the Amazon.” Okay, he may have mentioned my klutziness in the past, but the concept of shelving hailing down upon my head had honestly never been discussed.
Nor had Anthony warned me. As the straightest gay man we know with a penchant for worrying and cautioning everyone about every possible catastrophe (If you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in your stomach!), he never once voiced any concern about me not being long-waisted enough to really look good in a bikini or to reach the butter compartment while seated in a lotus position. Still, as I wailed that my facial collision with G.E.’s butter shelf of steel was definitely going to “leave a mark,” Anthony attempted to console me.
“Honey,” he said, “that’s what makeup’s for.”
“No,” I retorted, “my regular face is what makeup’s for. Do you realize how hard I have to work to just look this good?” My husband shuddered slightly. He sees me first thing in the morning. Well, he did once. He quickly learned that it’s best to look away because staring at my bare visage before I’ve coated it with
putty a dollop of Loreal’s Visible Lift Line-Minimizing Makeup is kind of like staring directly into the sun. It burns and has been known to cause permanent blindness. “Now I’m going to have to contend with covering a shiner,” I continue. “There isn’t a foundation thick enough. I’m going to need spackle and primer and one of those rubber skin prosthesis.”
It’s just a shame that this disaster occurred on the last day of March instead of the last day of October. Had it been Halloween, I could have turned lemons into lemonade by converting my black eye into a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills costume – you know, the blonde one who also “done got told twiced” not long before her estranged and abusive husband
got the payback he deserved committed suicide.
Anthony shook his head solemnly, then said, “That’s just not true. God created makeup to make women look less disobedient.”
And there it was. My life had come full circle. Just as the welts from childhood beatings at the hand of my father wielding a leather belt were hidden beneath the skirts of my plaid uniform so that others wouldn’t know how naughty I was, my shiner would now be concealed by makeup so that people wouldn’t know how stupid I was. I mean, if you’re hiding a shiner, it’s only because you done been told twiced. Right? Someone who’d never been warned at all shouldn’t have to hide their injury. I mean, it’s not really their fault. It’s an Act of God, if you think about it. No bitch should feel shame for getting a black eye when she hadn’t done been told twiced.
Perhaps I could turn this around. Perhaps I didn’t need to bear the brunt of the guffaws that were likely to come. Perhaps I wouldn’t have to endure the rolled eyes and the constant whispers: Why didn’t she listen? I hear her husband done told her twiced. Tossing my ice into the sink, I smiled smugly to myself as my cheek puffed up like a Pepperidge Farm pastry. A little while later, the doorbell rang, announcing the arrival of our property manager, Theresa, who was accompanied by a potential tenant. “Cristy, this is Beverly. Cristy can tell you how great the neighborhood is, how family-oriented it is. Right, Cristy?” she crooned, her voice wavering a bit as she stared at my swollen eye, which had taken on a distinctly lavender hue.
As Beverly extended her hand to me, I shrank back, throwing up an arm protectively. “He done never told me at all. Not even onced. Definitely not twiced!” I shrieked. And they believed me. The outpouring of sympathy was immediate. I didn’t need an elaborate story involving an aging diva and a fabulous shoe. I only needed to state the facts. I hadn’t been warned. And everyone knows that a bitch has gotta done be told twiced before you can take a swipe at her – or allow her stupidity to place her in the position of being struck by falling appliance shelves. There would be no makeup. I would bear my shiner proudly. This time anyway. After all, now I’ve done been told twiced.
(Though I make light of it here, domestic abuse is no laughing matter. If you are being abused or know someone who is, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. It doesn’t matter if he done told you twiced!)
40 thoughts on “The Bitch Is Back…And Shinier”
Sorry Tim, didn’t mean to ignore you, but your comment went into SPAM for some reason. Anyway, thanks!
Dionne Warwick figured in your childhood fantasies. Huh, the things you learn about people.
In a MAJOR way. You have no idea. I knew every Dionne Warwick hit verbatim by the time I was 6. Even the ones she hadn’t recorded yet.
My Elvis impersonator years pale in comparison.
Welcome back! I was just wondering if you’d been sold into white slavery. And I love your new eyeshadow. It brings out the pupils in your eyes.
No, but I did free my white slaves…the ones were were keeping in the basement of our last house. Of course, the eyeshadow is called, Shine. I’ve got a new one coming out soon called, Glancing Blow. It’s a light pink.
I used to wear the latter all the time, only then it went under the name Conjunctivitis. It was crazy sexy. I’m just glad you weren’t one of the white slaves you were keeping under the basement. It’s weird to keep yourself as a white slave. but completely respectable to keep others as white slaves. Glad you’re back.
Thanks, Fathead. I’m only a slave to this blog. Someone rescue me. Preferably an agent.
Sorry about the unfortunate incident with the butter compartment. Just remember the buggers can sense fear and are likely to attack unannounced, like at breakfast or when you reach in to pour a delightful beverage. Be careful, GE and its minions have built refrigerators to attack when we humans are vulnerable. Almost lost my cat to our box. Duct taped the bugger shut. Keep the afflicted area iced and dose yourself with a proper beverage as needed. After all, I know what I’m talking about. I’m a doctor.
Doctor of what? Parteeeee Time. Yeah, I know. That made no sense whatsoever.
Another excellent post. Thank you for the laughs. And my sympathies for the shiner!
Your comment about the frozen peas reminded me of an incident last summer when I also managed to give myself a blackeye (it really wasn’t very clever at all. It’s a little embarrassing and cliched but I tripped over while drunk and instead of employing the usual pratice of extending out an arm, or even simply leaning a shoulder in, I foolishly opted to break my freefall with my face. And in fact I was so drunk that the next day it took until the evening before I even remembered how I’d done it. I simply woke up to find myself unable to open my right eye. Although the mate I was out with the previous night did find it hilarious when he received a text message simply asking ‘Umm…Do you know why I have a blackeye?’). Anyway, after waking up, finding that I couldn’t open my eye, going to the mirror, seeing a massive black eye (through the only eye which I could still see from) I realised that I needed something cold to put on the eye. With a barren freezer I was left no choice but to sheepishly venture to the shop across the road, fish a bag of frozen peas from the freezer, place them on the counter and mumble ‘Just those please’. The shopkeeper simply looked down at the peas, looked up at me, and with a slight smirk asked ‘How’s it going?’. I had little choice but to shrug and reply ‘Well, I’ve had better days…’.
You should have written that up as a post. Glad you enjoyed it.
Although the whole black eye tale did make a funny story (as agreed by the very good ‘friend’ of mine who upon seeing me simply whipped out his phone, took a photo of my injured face on his phone, and put it straight up on Facebook, can testify) it doesn’t really fit with my blog. But coincidentally my latest post does involve me falling! Hmm…Maybe there’s a lesson for me somewhere…
You always make me laugh Cristy, loving this. xo
You better laugh. I done told you twiced!
Don’t test Cristy, I’ve heard she can be pretty mean with a fridge butter shelf if provoked.
Ah yes. Mine was sliding across the parking lot in the rain while tailgating. Broke my glasses, scratched my chin & cheek, black eye. Got up the next day (way late) and looked atrocious. Tried to let my hair hang over the worst of it while having lunch with my boyfriend, who was oblivious to the dagger looks from the lady bartender. Gooood times. 🙂
Yeah, you’re about as light on your feet as Chaz Bono, bless his pea-pickin’ little heart.
I laughed so hard at this that I couldn’t breath! Refrigerator can be really brutal but I love that you’re going to wear that shiner proudly. 🙂
I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to have your snarky ass back among the bloggers. “twiced” somehow got funnier every time you wrote it. Per my standard operating procedure, I’ll give you unsolicited advice on your blog now that it’s been posted for hours. While I have no issues with the title, you could have also gone with “The Bitch is Black and Blue” or the Lionel Ritchie classic “She’s Onced, Twiced, Thriced Times a Target”
PS – Welcome back, really, you’ve been missed. Also, the ecchymosis really brings out the blue in your eyes…just sayin.
Love it. Maybe “She’s Onced, Twiced, Thriced Done Been Warned” Loved “The Bitch is Black and Blue.” Thanks for missing me. I missed all of you as well.
OOps…meant to suggest “The Bitch is Back, and Black and Blue”
Why does everyone use green peas? Wouldn’t a bag of frozen black eyed peas be more apropos?
I think frozen black eyed peas probably already have their own domestic issues going on, don’t you?
Thank you, Cristy. I am no longer sweating the nasty remark I made about thumbless retarded children in my last post. Seems quite tame now.
The bitch IS back. So glad. It’s been quite dreary without you.
I can say the same about you! New post in the a.m. Check it out.
Pfft! I thought you understood. Given the opportunity to turn lemons into something, it’s never lemonade, it’s tequila shots.
Tequila is not my friend. If I added tequila, I’d be turning lemonade into vomit.
When I was in high school I gave my mom two black eyes. In the same night. If you knew my mother you’d find this hard to believe, but you don’t so you’ll just have to trust me. The black eyes were the result of a four hour marathon session of quarters, false accusations, my loser boyfriend and PMS. Glad your recent eye candy was earned much more innocently than mine was given. Also glad you’re back. I’m typing this comment on my phone with one finger for you, FYI. =)
We’re definitely NOT playing quarters when you come to Florida to visit. Looking forward to your return from Green Acres so that you don’t have to post and comment with just your index finger. Miss you, bestie!
I’m back. And I’m not a bitch. At least not today. Calling you tomorrow to catch up. =)
Well, someone else took the “I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard” right out from under me, but there it is. My coworkers are wondering if they need to lock me up. No worries, I’ll recover shortly.
Well, by all means, don’t stop breathing. You could fall off your chair, hit your face on the corner of your desk and end up with a shiner. I’ve now officially done told you onced! Thanks for the compliment!
Believe me, if I fall off my chair at my job, the shiner will be the least of my worries! Thanks for the laughs.
hilarious. ‘you been done told twiced!’ ooooohhhhh, looooved. and ‘prostitutes administer the indian burn in another place….’ wwwwwaaaaaaah, laughed out loud. xo, sm
Holy crap! Now that’s a shiner!
I have a penchant for dropping things on my face, too, so I feel for you. Once, I dropped an iron hook used to grab things from the top shelf of the dairy fridge at the supermarket (I was at work, filling up the dairy case). It created a dent in the cartilage on the ridge of my nose. Not fun. Years later, I dropped my son’s butt on my nose. Well, a plaster cast of his 6 week old baby butt. It was wrapped in tissue paper and put in a box up on the top shelf for safekeeping, and I was trying to get to the box and it fell and the butt came out and clonked me on the dent in the cartilage of my nose. I went to the hospital, fearing I needed stitches (plaster edges on his butt-cast were sharp and sliced me) and when I was asked what hit my nose, they looked askance at me when I said my son’s butt.
So yeah. I have sympathy. Hope the shiner heals up quickly!
LOL. Dare I ask why you had a plaster cast made of your child’s butt? Don’t most people stick with hands and feet? Maybe bronze a pair of baby shoes?
Oh, I did that. I got a plaster cast of his hand, his foot, and one of his hand wrapped around my finger. It was cute! But he had the cutest little wee heart shaped butt, so I had to have it saved for posterity. *snicker* Pun intended. I figured it would be excellent blackmail material when he started dating. Funny how he never brings his love interests home….I’m sure that has nothing to do with it. LOL
I’m starting to wish I’d had a plaster cast of my ass taken when it was small…size 4 small.