The Mark of Stupidity

Enough time has finally passed that I can share this experience. It’s taken about thirty years, but I’m over it.


I think.

I was home sick (or sick-ish, it’s possible I embellished the severity of my symptoms as a child). I was camped out on the couch in the family room and in between cups of tea and reruns of “Facts of Life” I came across this popper toy I had gotten from some machine somewhere at some point. Those details are fuzzy and irrelevant. I also can’t recall why I had it at that particular moment. What I do remember is inverting it on the table beside me and watching it fly high in the air. That was fun for a few minutes. Then I discovered that if I just pushed it, it had suction cup-like properties. I could stick it on my hand, my foot, and, hey, why not try the old forehead.

I put a popper on my forehead.


This was not labelled with all the appropriate warnings
This was not labelled with all the appropriate warnings


This poorly planned experiment was followed by a nap. I was awakened a short time later by one of my sisters shaking me and frantically asking, “what happened to you?! Are you okay? Look at your head!”

I stumbled up and over to the main floor washroom to discover two overlapping circles on my forehead. Like two loonie-sized hickeys. Right in the middle of my forehead.

Unfortunately, I was nearing the end of my stay at home and there was no way my mom was going to let me wait it out for the few days it would take for the marks to fade. Thus began, Operation Cover Up.

Mom, my sisters, and I tried various make-up and hairstyling techniques, but at best we muted the red. There was no way those circles would be hidden. It was the eighties, so I had big bangs, but even those couldn’t cover the damage I’d inflicted. And so we launched the second part of the operation – Cover Story.

It’s not easy to create a plausible back story to explain why you have two perfectly round bruises on your forehead, but I did it:

“I was heading downstairs and at the same time my sister rushed up and opened the basement door and slammed it open and I whacked my head on the door.”

Completely believable.

Airtight alibi.

I rehearsed this story several times, making sure to include just the right amount of detail. I added a smidge of righteous indignation at my sister’s thoughtless door-opening with a hint of surprise that it would leave such perfectly circular injuries. It was a glorious cover story. I almost started to believe it myself.

The following evening I was at church for our girls’ group. I told my story and everyone bought it. I was home free. I was going to get out of this disaster a little wiser, but with my reputation intact. THESE FOREHEAD HICKEYS WOULD NOT DEFINE ME.

We were waiting for our rides home when my friend turned to me and said, “yeah, your sister told us. You stuck a popper on your head. Twice. There was no door. See you tomorrow.”

The real lesson here is: you can have the best cover story for why you have a hickey Venn Diagram of Stupidity on your forehead, but it’s only as strong as your weakest link. Or sister with the biggest mouth.


Your turn. Dumbest injury you’ve had. Share.

It’s not Tobacco

Before matching storage containers were a thing, before IKEA became famous for it’s storage solutions, before pinterest, parents stored toys in whatever reusable vessel they could find. Our parents were “green” before “green” was even a thing.

Did you ever store your marbles in a Crown Royal bag? Then you had such a parent. A mom who bought margarine in the gigantic tub and then stored your barbie clothes inside. A mom who kept shoe boxes that were just the right space for your Rubix cube and Monchichee.

We didn’t question these storage choices, it was just the way things were done. I even do a bit of that now with our crew. The oldest stores his Pokemon cards in a gift box that once held lavender soap and foot lotion and he doesn’t bat an eye.

I do wonder about some of the choices (not the Crown Royal bag, that was the result of sound reasoning).

Don't worry, it's EXTRA MILD tobacco
Don’t worry, it’s EXTRA MILD tobacco

What could be inside this tin of wonder? Crayons? Glamour Gals? Marbles? (no, of course not marbles, those are in the Crown Royal bag). Maybe some Little People accessories? Legos?

No, silly. Isn’t it obvious? The tin that at one point held my grandpa’s pipe tobacco was the perfect vessel to house:

Your very own yarn ball collection
Your very own yarn ball collection

When I discovered this gem in my parents’ basement, my first thought was, “Who would use an old tobacco tin for their kids’ stuff?” which was followed quickly by, “Who keeps it for almost forty years?” But now I think it needs to be hermetically sealed as a tribute to all the craft projects my sisters and I never finished. Right beside all the partial rug hooking kits (don’t worry, they kept those, too).

We spent many a Saturday night together in the basement rug hooking while we watched “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island”. I don’t think any of us thought ahead enough to contemplate what we would DO with those hooked rugs once we finished (we never did. Not even one rug. So maybe even then we knew we lacked follow through). My favourite part was squishing the yarn packets, so there’s really no doubt as to why I never finished a project. Somewhere in my childhood home I bet there’s a pickle jar full of half-finished yarn bracelets, right beside a bunch of partially-knitted leg warmers.

It doesn’t hold tobacco anymore, but it does hold memories. I call dibs.