Ode to doing stupid things

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 1, 2010

Have you ever done something that made you feel stupid?

“Why did I do such a thing?”

I ask myself as I suffer the consequences.

I recall two incidents that still make me cringe when I think of them.

It was mid-July 1998.

Our daughter was home for a visit and spent some time in front of the mirror in the bathroom applying her make-up and using her curling iron.

A few minutes later, she dashed out the door for a reunion with one of her high school classmates.

I ambled into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Her curling iron still sat on the edge of the cabinet, slightly in my way. Instead of grasping the handle, I give it a slight push.

I turned loose fast. It was still hot. Pain seared my fingers and it was all I could do to hold back the tears. I flew through the house and out to the back steps, where I snapped off a piece of aloe plant. I squeezed the liquid from the plant on the burned area and gave the inside of my little finger an extra dab. It really hurt.

After a few minutes, the pain eased. All the fingers but the little one looked fine. Under the layer of skin, a thin blister took shape, but the pain was gone.

The blister healed quickly; much quicker than my feelings of stupidity over what I did.

It taught both my daughter and me a lesson neither of us have forgotten.

To this day, whenever she uses her curling iron in our bathroom, she warns me.

And, to this day, I do not touch that curling iron.

Then there was that summer years ago when my husband and I prepared for an RV trip to Panama City, Fla.

We spent several days cleaning the travel trailer, stocking it with food, loading our clothes and toiletries and checking everything to make sure we were set to go.

The day before our departure, I stumped a toe on a metal folding chair.

The pain almost brought me to my knees.

I limped around for a few minutes, but said nothing.

I wasn’t about to let a silly stumped toe put a kink in our travel plans.

The next morning the pain responded to my every move as I hauled last minute stuff to the trailer.

Soon we were off and I heaved a sigh of relief in my respite from the pain.

“It’ll be gone by tomorrow,” I told myself while I limped around helping get set up at our campsite.

It wasn’t.

The next morning we visited a podiatrist’s office with a sign that read, “The agony of de feet.”

He laughed when I groaned about how stupid I’d been to try to ignore my pain. “Happens all the time,” he commented.

I suffered not only from “the agony of de feet,” but from my own stupidity in not seeking help when I needed it.