Sunday, November 15, 2009

Enemies of David's Babyface: guns, back-surfers & suburban thugs

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that David will always have a babyface. He looks so much younger than his 27 years that when he buys me flowers at the grocery store, clerks still ask him if they are “for his mommy”. Once when we were in traffic court, the judge asked him if his parents were with him. And at least once a week, strangers tell him that he looks like “that little kid from Sixth Sense”

It's so angelic, so pristine, it looks as though it has never undergone any type of stress, but the truth is, David's babyface has a few enemies. Three enemies that have undergone aggressive assaults on those baby-bottom-like cheeks of his. And these are those enemies:


Enemy #1: A Gun:

Ah, a few weeks ago my outdoorsy husband decided it was time that an outdoor writer should probably shoot his first deer, so he went hunting for a story for the Athens Banner-Herald and came back with a story alright, but one entirely different than either of us thought.

Here’s the short of it. He shot at a deer, the scope of the gun rammed into his skull, slashing his forehead and resulting in him losing an obscene amount of blood.

Here’s the long of it (on our Cannon Outdoors blog).

He killed the deer, but he actually shed more blood than it did.

As soon as I saw the photos of his exploded face my mind immediately flashed to another occasion when his face looked like it has spontaneously combusted, thus bringing us to . . .


Enemy #2: A Back-Surfer

We were honeymoonin' in Kauai. . .the most idyllic locale imaginable.

We left our two-bedroom home on the south shore, hopped in our Jeep and rode along the only road on the island towards the north shore. The air was saturated with sweetness. It was intoxicating. I know it sounds cliché, but that place literally is paradise.

We pass this beautiful stretch of coastline where local surfers are attempting to conquer some of the largest waves I have ever seen. You know how you see the surfing championships on TV? Yeah, it could have been here. They are incredible, these waves that seem so unruly. It is compelling to see these men not trying to tame God’s creation, but just trying to coexist with it.

We slide the Jeep onto the beach, climb out and begin to hike the side of the jetties. We climb to the highest point overlooking the ocean so that we can get a great view of the surfers.

It is one of those moments that is forever etched in my memory: We were sitting atop a huge outcropping of volcanic glass, 20 feet above the crashing waves, looking out at the sun setting behind endless ocean.

The romantic moment was fleeting, however. As David and I looked at each other lovingly, we only had a few moments of warning. As we gazed into one another’s eyes, I caught a glimpse of something so horrific, so huge that we broke our gaze and simultaneously and methodically turned from facing one another to face the ocean before us. And what we saw when we did would forever shatter that moment (and David’s babyface).

Rapidly approaching us with as much fervor and strength was a 30 foot wall of water. I looked straight up and as high as my eyes could see was water. It was the only time in my life when I have experienced the phenomenon of time standing still. Every one of my senses was amplified. I can remember every thought that ran through my mind: “We can survive this but we need a plan. The water surge is going to be too strong to avoid. There is no time to stand to your feet and run. Flap your arms with as much strength as you can muster. Hold your breath and do not let it pull you over the ledge.”

I had each one of these thoughts but as my head continued to lean back to take in the approaching wave, the only noise that I had time to actually utter was in the same accent the surfers below us would have used, “Whoa”. It was my last word to my brand new husband on the last moments of life. (David still cracks up about that).

Then it hit. It was more powerful than I had even imagined and I was expecting something very strong. I immediately started pumping my arms with all of my weight. Up and down, PUSH, up and down, PUSH. “If I can find the top of the water I will be okay.”

But as soon as I had been torpedoed through the water, I felt myself slam down on top of David. We were still under feet of water as the waves began to recede back towards the place from which it had come. Still sandwiched between a ton of water and my husband, I unknowingly used his back as a surfboard. As much pain as I was in (sandwiched between a ton of water and David), it was nothing compared to what he felt between a ton of water plus his wife AND solid volcanic glass.

Oh, and did I mention that his face was the only thing maintaining contact with the jagged floor?

I could feel us being drug to the edge of the cliff. “You will die if you go over”. I knew that I would. That was not an option. I continued to flap my arms until I finally was able to poke my head above water and brace myself on the stone. With the water finally gone, we realized that we had been drug almost to the very end of the cliff.

We were completely disoriented, but we knew that the murderous wave would eventually return for its revenge, so we clumsily found our legs and wobbled as quickly as we could towards land. As we climbed down the cliff and approached the beach, we looked at each other for the first time.

David was spitting out mouthfuls of blood. I thought he had lost some teeth. His back looked like he had received a lashing.

I looked at him and laughed harder than I had ever laughed before. Maybe it was nervousness, maybe post-traumatic stress, maybe overwhelming joy to be alive…whatever it was, I could not get it together. My husband of about 72 hours looked like he had been in the ring with Mr. T.

After I could get my laughter somewhat under control, I shot photos of him.(Merciful, I know.)

The best part was that for the rest of our honeymoon, David would be trying to be all smooth and romantic when the bandages that were covering his many wounds would come loose and would be flapping as he whispered sweet nothings to me. Probably not how he pictured that going.

Enemy #3: Suburban Thugs
I'll let David tell you this one himself:

I can't believe I'm adding to this tribute of my bloody face, but how can you say 'no' to Steph?

Let me set the scene a little bit. I was younger and dumber than I even am at the present. And up until a few years ago, I had a very short temper and would act on it pretty much any time I felt like it. Make fun of me for being skinny? Guaranteed punch to the face. Make me angry while you're not there? Hole in the wall.

Well, I messed with the wrong guy this particular time. He was three years older than me, which was a pretty significant chunk of life experience and physical maturation at that point. So he makes me angry and, realizing that he was going to be a better fighter, stronger than me, etc., I go ghetto on him, grab him by the shoulders and give him the ol' knee to the groin.

They say that nothing moves faster than the human eye. But let me state this for the record that as I quickly retreated, thinking that my crotch-busting blow would send him to the ground wheezing and coughing, hopefully even puking, I suddenly felt my face explode. I didn't know what happened, but I didn't like it.

As it would turn out, this guy's fist was the one thing in the universe faster than the human eye. And, in fact, one of the things he would connect with (and quite well at that) was a human eye. My human eye. He would also, at the same time, make perfect contact with my nose.

So with one punch, I received a black eye, a horribly bloody nose and a reason to run faster than I had ever ran before.

I had been punched plenty of times before, but in a case where you don't even see the punch that is thrown, I couldn't see any more intelligent option than to run like the wind.

And we do have pictures of me covered in blood somewhere. We have them because, like all dads worth anything, mine told me, "You never start a fight; you end 'em." And since I had broken that set-in-stone man-rule, Old Man Cannon was quick to pull out the camera when I got home. As the Big Hair Lady (aka Mom) was busy being furious at "he who did wallop", Dad was busy laughing and shooting photos.

Just in case we can't find the photos, here's a brief description: ~10-year-old me with blood on my face and all over my favorite sweatshirt. One HUGE nostril from all of the blood that had just exited it and only it. That's good enough, I think.

(Still trying to locate the album that holds the photos to illustrate this one. Ah, the joys of living out of boxes!)


Emilie Smith said...

These stories are so funny! Next time I see both of you together I want to hear the honeymoon wave story in person. Y'all are hilarious : ) (and so sweet - I love how you look at each other!!!)

Hannah D said...

Ditto what Em said...I mean for real, I learn things about ya'll every time I turn both definitely have an inordinate number of tales of adventure!


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