At soccer practice one day recently, I noticed that the soccer coach's little doggie only had one eye, so being the introverted and shy type that I am, I asked his wife what was up with that. I mean there had to be an interesting story behind a one-eyed dog, right? And I was dying to know it.
She explained that the dog was a breed with bulging eyes and those particular breeds are at risk of having their eyes pop out of their heads if squeezed. Which was news to me. You really can learn something new every day.
So, sure enough during a playful rough-housing session at home with one of their larger dogs, the eyeball in question came flying out. And it dangled there, held on by... the... eyeball strings. I'm pretty sure that's the official medical term for it.
And her least squeamish, animal loving daughter tried to poke it back in. But it wouldn't stay. Just let that image soak in for a moment. The eyeball wouldn't stay in.
And all the while, I feel sure there was a fair amount of freaking out from the rest of the family. Plus, as you can imagine, the dog was not too happy about the events of the evening, either.
So, they made an emergency trip to the vet and it was determined that the eyeball should be removed, and that's how the family came to be the owners of a one-eyed dog.
I listened to the whole story, mouth agape. Who knew dog eyeballs were so prone to popping out?
And all I could think was, "Man! Some people get all the good stories to tell at holiday gatherings!"
I mean, isn't that the most awesome story to be able to tell 30 years after the event?!
"Well, Brother, we may not have had a picture perfect childhood, but we sure had some crazy fun times, didn't we?"
"You can say that again! Remember the time Ruffy's eyeball popped out of his head and Sister tried to stuff it back in, but it wouldn't stay? Hoo-boy. That was somethin'!"
Ever since hearing that story, I've been thinking about how families bond over events like this, traumatic as they may be at the time, and how retelling these stories can be a bonding event in and of itself.
And I was secretly jealous that we didn't have an awesome eyeball story.
From my thoughts to God's ears.
God works in mysterious ways, friends. Never forget it.
Because a few weeks later when I was at an all day long soccer tournament, which consisted of 6 games and hundreds of players, I felt something tickling my knee.
Well, it tickled at first. And then it started stinging like the dickens.
So, I interrupted my conversation (you had to know I was yacking, right?) to lightly brush whatever was under my jeans off of my knee in a dignified, lady-like manner.
That's when whatever it was decided it didn't like to be bothered and it proceed to sting the fire out of me multiple times.
Around that time, I ditched the dignified, lady-like act and began flailing and hopping and slapping my knee like a crazy lady.
People around me took a step back, but stayed nearby. I could see they wanted to help, but didn't know how.
Finally, after approximately 3 hours of dancing and flapping and screaming, it fell out of my pants.
And my 12 year old daughter shrieked at the top of her lungs, "IT'S A SCORPION!"
Have you ever done that experiment where you drop a little dish soap into a bowl filled with water and sprinkled with pepper?
You have never seen people back up so quickly. It was like pepper. They backed up at pepper speed. Within 1.3 seconds, there was a 100 yard radius around me with nary a soul left. It was like an atomic bomb had gone off and cleared that circle of land of all humankind.
I stomped on it with all the vengeance of a woman who has been stung multiple times at a crowded soccer tournament by a scorpion in her pants and tried to regain my lady-like composure.
"It's okay (weak laugh). I got it (panting). It's dead."
It's funny, but the woman I had been chatting with never did come back to finish our conversation.
In case you're wondering, it's really hard to recover your composure and your super cool, hip homeschool mom front after you've been attacked by a scorpion. IN. YOUR. PANTS. I advise trying to avoid this scenario altogether.
I do have to give credit to God for an awesome story that I believe will top all holiday stories for years to come, though. Because I was willing to take one for the team, we will have story telling GOLD for years!
Take that, One-Eyed Dog!