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Charlie Hatton
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#6. I have only needed to get six stitches in my life.

I got them all in my chin, all at once, and I still have the scar. Wanna hear about it? No? Too bad.

So, I was young, maybe five years old. And like most five-year-olds, I wasn't very bright. I was playing with another moron about my age, and we decided to have a contest. It was my idea, so I went first.

Before I go any further, I should set the stage just a bit. We lived in a two-story brick house at the time. It had a wide stone porch, with three stone (granite?) steps leading down from the porch to the sidewalk. On either side of the steps were brick bannisters with stone tops, about three feet tall. The porch looked a little like the one on this house, or this one. The houses in these pics are all wrong, of course. Just focus on the steps and the bannisters. Got it? Good. We can move on.

Oh, just one more thing. While my chum and I were playing our little game, my father was leaning against the right-hand bannister, talking to a neighbor who was standing near the stairs on the left. That's gonna be important. Okay, now back to the contest.

So, I bet this other little kid that I could jump off a higher step than he could. He said I couldn't, and the game was on. I started off the action, and hopped up onto the first step. I hopped back off. That's baby stuff. Just a warmup. Easy peasy. He agreed, and did the same. It was my turn again.

So, I climbed up to the second step. No problem. I jumped off, landed solid, and shot him a whaddaya think of that, mister poopyhead?' smirk. Unfazed, he matched my jump, and shrugged at me. I could see this was going to get ugly.

I clambered up to the third step. This was a little trickier. I worked hard not to show any fear, but we were getting pretty high up now. I steadied myself, and leapt. I stumbled a bit on the landing, and had to catch myself, but I made it. I thought that might scare my opponent off. I was serious here, and I didn't really expect him to stick around for more. But I'll be damned if that little pecker didn't make his way up there and jump off himself. And, he stuck the landing. Bitch. Clearly, I was going to have to show him who's house this was.

And so, I scaled up to the porch. This was the real shit, here, folks. This was high up there. I had a little trouble breathing; birds were buzzing around my head. But it was my turn, and I had something to prove. I took a deep breath, and pushed off towards solid ground.

This is when my father -- deep in conversation -- decided to shift positions. Just as he was making some point or other, he decided to cross his legs. So, he's talking -- '...well, yeah, the interest rates are up there, but if we can amortize over...'. Blah, blah, blah. Adult shit. Anyway, he's talking, and he swiiiiings his leg out to cross the other one just as I jumped. And he must've hooked my ankles with it, because my jump suddenly became an awkward, face-first swan dive, and I went careening toward the pavement. Leading with my chin, which struck the sidewalk. Hard. And skidded for a few more inches, before the rest of me caught up and landed in a heap behind it.

Now, my father denies all involvement or participation in the incident. He admits he was there, talking with the neighbor, but says that he never touched me. Shyah. Like I tripped over something in mid-air, or I'm just such a klutz that I couldn't jump from a porch nearly as tall as I was without permanently maiming myself. Or... well, yeah, I suppose it is kind of plausible, when I see it written down like that. So I guess you never know. But I choose to blame him for it, anyway. Why ruin a good thing?

Anyway, I picked myself up and shook myself off. I was stinging, but not terribly hurt. I took stock -- my chin hurt, my hands hurt a little, I might have banged my knee. But I'd live. No biggie. So I turned around to see what the other kid was gonna do. That's when I saw the blood, and lost it. I cried like a baby, which I still was, more or less. My dad came over to check me out, and eventually my parents cleaned me up as best they could and drove me to the hospital. And I cried all the way there, and through the stitching, and apparently for a couple of days more. (Okay, I'm a little skeptical of that last bit. Mom, are you shittin' me, here?) But it turned out okay, and now I have my one little scar to remind me of the 'accident'. (And to remind me to keep an eye on Dad. I'm still not sure I trust him...)

But most importantly, I won that contest. Sure, I looked like hell, but the other kid never made his jump. So I won! I never mentioned it to him, of course, in case he could really do it, thereby making me look like a (bigger) jackass. Plus, I didn't want to try it again myself anytime soon after. So I celebrated my win by default quietly, and in private. Hey, it isn't an Olympic medal or anything, but I'll take what I can get. I took one on the chin -- literally -- for this contest; I deserve something for that.

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