I spent my childhood riding any object that would roll in a relatively straight line and climbing anything vertical. I was cautious and durable—I came home from exploring notorious “Dead Man’s Cave” in Karkeek Park (so named because a corpse was once found in it) with nothing worse than a lot of mud on my clothes and disappointment that I didn’t see the dead guy. I was one of the few kids I can recall getting through elementary school without a single broken bone. By my 20s I’d sort of forgotten about them.
This was perhaps why I felt more shock than pain when, while watching a metal band called Throne of Bone (ha) play in a basement in the Central District, the back of a man’s head collided with my face and my nose exploded. After a moment of confusion, I dashed to the bathroom to assess the damage. There was a girl on the toilet who screamed when she saw me. My entire face, shirt, and scarf (white, of course) were drenched in blood. I looked like a skinny Quentin Tarantino Santa Claus, apologizing profusely while dousing my face in the beer can-lined sink.
Sitting on the lawn, I marveled at how little pain I felt, until a wave of adrenaline hit me with a force that made me see sparkles. I thought I was going to pass out. I called my mom and described my condition. “Is my nose broken?” I asked. “Can you see?” she asked. “Sort of,” I replied. “You’re fine,” she said, “Wherever you were, don’t go back in.”
I had no insurance, so the hospital wasn’t an option. I decided to go back in and enjoy the rest of the party. The adrenaline made me giddy and then weirdly horny. “Looks like somebody clocked you,” said my date. Her voice was tender yet showed no doubt I could handle the situation, and I felt tough. She gave me a piggy back ride to a bar, but refused to come home with me, saying I should rest. I don’t blame her, the stepped-on plum in the middle of my face couldn’t have done much for my looks. The next day it was twice its original size.
Miraculously, when it healed, it was straighter that it was before—my naturally crooked nose had received some DIY plastic surgery.
A few years later I went to see Hunx and His Punx at Chop Suey. Some friends I’d had the sort of bizarre falling out with for whom no one was really to blame were there, and we awkwardly attempted conversation. I’d always liked them and hoped for reconciliation. We all started dancing, and when Hunx’s hit You Think You’re Tuff came on, the room went wild. My face is exactly at the average flailing punk guy’s elbow level, and one such elbow flailed directly into my nose with a crunch. This time, it fucking hurt. My friends came outside to find me dabbing blood from my face, and conversation came naturally. The evening ended with a dinner invitation, which led to the gradual reparation of a valuable friendship. My nose was bright green for a week after the show.
I’d recently started seeing my girlfriend, Mary Anne, when we decided to attend an excellent drag night at Kremwerk called Cathedral. I was a little nervous, as her friends Thomas and Kevin were there, who obviously I wanted to like me. Kremwerk’s interior is dark and angular, its lighting more decorative than functional. It is furnished with low tables and benches about the same height. I was carefully transporting my first gin and tonic of the evening to our table when my foot caught on a bench and sent me face-first into the edge of a table. I jumped up. “Am I okay? Am I okay,” I asked Kevin and Thomas. “Oh yeah you’re fine,” yelled Kevin, adding, after a moment, “Um, actually you should probably go to the bathroom.”
I hurried by confused-looking Mary Anne in the hallway, who found me in the bathroom, washing my blood into an elegant sink. After determining there was no reason to go home, we simultaneously demanded “PICTURES!” We found the small pool of blood by the table where I had made my emergency landing and I lay next to it, my middle and index finger forming a “v” for victory as she rested her black-and-gold leather pump on my chest. The pictures were great. I like that my nose, still straighter than it was when I was born, is a slightly different shape than before we met.