Robot’s Useless Reviews – This Blood
My apologies to the squeamish, but as bike riders, I suspect we are mostly used to stuff like this. It’s also worth point out that I pinged Stevil as I was working on this. I said, “I need a high-res, horizontal bloody knee or shin photo. You got?” And he replied within a minute, “Like these?”
I like to tell my wife that if I’m not bleeding, it’s because I’m not trying hard enough. This is a joke, but not one meant to inspire laughter. No. It’s meant to distract from the fact that I’m bleeding again, but also, and more importantly, from the fact that I’ve just gotten blood on something that shouldn’t really have blood on it, although it could be argued that, in your average suburban home, nothing should have blood on it. I’d have to think some more on that, but if I went in someone’s house and there was blood all over the couch, I’d think, “Someone died here.”
Blood should, in ideal circumstances, remain inside your body and off your couch cushions. That’s not in most school curricula but should probably get added to the HomeEc syllabus.
This blood, my blood, is noble though. It is a symbol of great toil, of great courage, of a dedication to a lifestyle that demands more of a body than comfort. It is also, if I’m completely honest, a symbol of suspect bike handling skills and also rapidly deteriorating eyesight. I didn’t see the tree branch there, which is why I didn’t avoid riding into it. It’s not that I’m a bad bike rider (I sorta am). It’s that I can’t see where I’m going. I am the victim here, of my own human frailty.
On other days, this blood, the trickle down my shin, is not my fault. I know it’s on the sheets, and on one of the “good” towels, but listen. Someone moved a rock out of that one low pile at the top of the meadow by the wooden bridge. I didn’t even fall off the bike. But normally, I come into that rock pile pretty hot, because it hasn’t changed in years, but once that rock wasn’t there…I normally put my front tire there, and then…what?…yeah…ok…I’ll start the laundry.
Even a small head wound bleeds a lot. A large head wound? Well, it’s proportional. Exponential maybe. I haven’t done that one for a while, but if I did, at this stage, I wouldn’t go home. I’d find a clean looking pond and clean myself up, then rally whatever resources I had with me and move to Mexico. I have friends there.
Also, someone help me understand whether a bleeding shin, the result perhaps of rolling your pedal backwards at great speed without moving your leg out of the way, is an ingroup signifier, or a cry for help. I suspect the latter.
Frankly, I think it’s time for new blood. The old blood is too protein-rich and thus harder to clean from porous fabrics. I use a stain stick. I pour a bit of detergent on the stain and rub it vigorously. I run it through twice. A newer, thinner blood would reduce my workload. Of course, if blood were thinner, I’d probably bleed out in the small stand of woods behind the junior high school on a Wednesday, and though likely appropriate for my approach to life, a demise of this sort is not the “covered in glory” kind I envision for myself.
The truth is you don’t have to bleed to prove you’re trying real hard. Also, you don’t have to try real hard. It is perfectly acceptable to ride around, enjoying yourself all the while, and come home injury free. You might deploy a lifetime of skill and/or technique to effect this outcome. This blood I keep talking about is not the red badge of courage, it’s a red flag, a sign that I’m not the bike rider I like to think I am, and that after more than four decades of trying to learn the difference, I realize I have neither great discretion nor great valor.
What I do have is an array of curiously stained garments and home accessories and a wife who is mostly over it. What, after all, is a couch cushion in sacrifice to the great success of a thirty-year relationship? This blood is not really a problem. It’s the natural outcome of a hearty lifestyle and a devil-may-care attitude. If you come to my house, make yourself at home. Just don’t turn the cushions over or let your eye dwell too long on any one spot. Can I get you a drink?
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