When you are a child, your imagination runs wild. Pillows and blankets transform into forts, plastic hangers become boomerangs, and much to my mother’s exasperation, dirty socks are used as ammo for makeshift catapults. Add a younger sibling to the brew and you get twice the mischief.
Among the many games I played with my younger brother Will, our favorite was “spies”. In this game, gadgets were crucial. The one I recall the easiest is the enchanted key that could unlock any and every door in the world. In other words, a toothpick that could pick the locks of the doors in our house. My six-year-old brother, at the time introduced his idea to me after he accidentally left the bathroom door locked and my mother had to figure a way to unlock it. More often than not, Will came up with the creative ways in which we entertained ourselves as kids; but this was his best idea yet.
Will took out the box of toothpicks we had and excitedly ran to the bathroom to test out his ingenious creation. Unfortunately, he would never get to that part. Tripping over his own two feet, he tumbled to the ground, spilling the contents of the box all over the living room carpet. We looked at each other in alarm, for we knew our mother would be worried after hearing the loud thump and would come to check on us soon. Scared of her wrath, we hastily tried to gather all the sticks off the ground. At the time, I was too preoccupied to notice that some of the toothpicks had fallen so that they were standing upright on the carpet. Trying to jump around pick up as many toothpicks as hastily as possible, I stumbled, causing a standing toothpick to sink deep into the sensitive ball of my right foot. Amazingly there was not any blood, but the sight of the wooden stick protruding ninety degrees from the tender skin of my foot was enough to bring a cold sweat to both of our foreheads.
A few seconds went by where Will and I just stared at each other in incredulity. Anxious and in agony, I advised my brother that we would have wrench the toothpick out using tweezers. With rapidness, he darted to get a pair only to be caught by my mother along the way due to his inability to lie. Thankfully, my mother was more worried than angry when she found me on the group a whimpering mess.
Our mother was eventually able to yank the toothpick from my foot after a couple tries and many shrieks on my part. To this day, I still have a small faded scar on the bottom of my foot where the stick punctured my skin many years ago. From that day onwards, my brother and I never played “spies” again. It was in the moment where I almost passed out at the sight of the impalation that I knew I did not have a future in the medical field. Though we did not succeed, I still look back to this day and laugh when we think of us frantically trying to solve this comical dilemma. This will be a childhood memory that we will always cherish, and I am sure it would be just as funny when we retell this story to our children.