Yes, I did actually.
Shoot myself that is.
It wasn’t a teenage angst-ridden suicide attempt though.
It was, however, equally as stupid.
Household accident #347: You are not Clint Eastwood and you cannot quick draw from a holster.
If you know the story already, you can move on, but I’ve made a couple of people curious and feel the need to satisfy that.
Here is how it went down.
My husband is the proud owner of a revolver circa 1942 made in Germany and probably used in the war. No part of its previous history could possible live up to its part in mine.
Our house had been robbed twice by armed men who pretty much cleared us out of house and home. They’d wait for the insurance replacements and then come back again.
So, for the previous few weeks coming and going had become a little fraught and I was becoming more and more paranoid.Having the police shoot at people in your backyard will do that to you.
I had also had my underwear stolen. My underwear! It boggles the mind. The only items remaining in our home were my Grandparents colour TV set circa 1976 and a General Electric washing machine of a similar if not more advanced age.
Oh, and a Whitney Houston CD – which was bizarre as it did not belong to us.
That’s the background.
I do need to mention that I have actually trained to shoot a gun. I’m not that bad actually. But a nice sterile shooting range has nothing on the adrenaline rush of real life.
My husband, then boyfriend, had to work very late on the other side of town and I was going home alone. So, of course, I decided that protection was warranted. What has actually warranted was protection from myself.
Arriving home, I leapt from my car, practically rolled like an expert Navy Seal across the lawn and launched myself at the door.
It went off. Not my fault as it turns out.
The age of the weapon concerned had caught up with it and the safety gave up the ghost causing an automatic misfire.
Except it didn’t miss.
It went down the side of my thigh, a burning lance of exquisite agony.
It actually didn’t hurt so much. The bullet was so hot it cauterised the flesh, leaving a rather neat, if oozing, gouge out of my leg. I think at this point I was most upset by the destruction of my rather pretty purple frock.
Realising pretty quickly that driving was out of the question I got my trusty old Nokia to the love of my life.
“Um, hi, it’s me,” said me, “Ah, are you still going to be long?”
“Yes, why?” said he.
“Well, I don’t want to be a bother or anything, but I just shot myself in the leg and I need a ride to the hospital.”
“WHAT THE HELL! YOU DID WHAT?”
In a time that probably broke land speed records boyfriend and our current house-pest (sorry house guest) screeched up to the gate.
Boyfriend began a frantic search for the weapon registration papers and the house-pest went into a stress induced meltdown.
“We must phone an ambulance!” announced the HP.
“We could,” I said, “But the hospital is only a block away, I’m sure you could drive me?”
“No!” exclaimed he, dialing frantically while I waited mildly amused.
“Hello? Hello? I need an ambulance. What? The address? Can’t you triangulate me?”
I imagined the patient tones of the operator saying something along the lines of, “Yes I could, but if you could just tell me where you are it would be much quicker.”
“Triangulate me! Triangulate me!” his shrill plea split the night far better than my gun shot.
Boyfriend reappeared about now and said, “What the hell is he doing?”
“I have no idea,” I said, “Something about triangulation. Can you drive me to the ER?”
Somehow or another we all ended up at the very civilised private hospital’s emergency room, currently occupied by a mother with a small child suffering from an ear infection.
“Ooh!” said the small child, “What happened? Can I see?”
I dutifully removed the towel pressed firmly to my thigh and his mother promptly passed out.
After dealing with her, the nurse turned to the HP who was hysterically trying to get a soda from the machine. He was beating futilely on the glass and weeping. So, of course he had to be treated for panic and shock.
“Yes, dear?” said the nurse after about half an hour, “Why are you still here?”
“Well,” I said, “You see, I’ve got a bullet hole in my leg.”
Then of course she panicked and the whole thing took forever.
The most painful part of the whole proceeding was the anesthetic injections, six of them, that had to go around the wound before it could be scrubbed clean with a wire brush.
When I got round to sharing my tale of woe, my friends unanimously agreed that we would just say I shot myself in the foot, because it sounded better.
And it does.