My lit­tle boo boo

The Covington News - - THE SECOND OPINION - DAVE MCCOY COLUM­NIST David McCoy, a no­to­ri­ous sto­ry­teller and proud Yel­low Jacket, lives in Cov­ing­ton and can be reached at davm­c­coy@bell­

I skinned my knee to­day. I wasn’t too smart, step­ping out of the shower, re­al­iz­ing my towel was out in the hall, try­ing to nav­i­gate slick floors with wet feet. I moved across the floor and then I went down, slip­ping and skid­ding. Ouch! And when I looked at my knee, it was bleed­ing, and there were lit­tle bits of skin — lit­tle bits of me — that weren’t at­tached to me any­more. Did I men­tion, “OUCH!” al­ready? Just check­ing. I was in pain, and I felt stupid. Only lit­tle chil­dren skin their knees. Adults get ul­cers and her­nias; they don’t get “skint” knees, as we used to call them in our mud-cov­ered ig­no­rance. So, there I was, winc­ing with a child’s ail- ment. What’s next…mea-sles?

Af­ter I dried off with that cursed towel, I found a big ban­dage and eased it onto my red­den­ing knee. And then I thought more about what it was like to be a child. We used to skin our knees all the time. “Skin­ning your knee” is a silly phrase, but it makes sense. I had just lost a vis­i­ble chunk of skin from my knee, and if that’s not a “skin­ning” then noth­ing is. As chil­dren, we’d skin our knees on con­crete; we’d skin them on the black­top at the ele­men­tary school play­ground; and we’d skin them on the grass and the red mud of the soft­ball field. We’d skin our knees in short pants and in long blue jeans, rip­ping holes in our flesh and any fab­ric that got in the way of grav­ity and bone. Our knees would be skinned on rocks, and roads, and trees, and we’d pick up and we’d go on play­ing. Sure it hurt, but we lived with scabbed-over knees. Sum­mer was a time of dan­ger, and skinned knees were small ca­su­al­ties we were will­ing to en­dure in ex­change for our free- dom. If you had un­dam­aged knees, it meant you’d prob­a­bly wasted your sum­mer be­ing dragged along on shop­ping trips to aw­ful de­part­ment stores that smelled of stale paint and dust.

So here I am — an adult with a skinned knee. And even though this hurts my pride, some­thing else hurts even more. Lit­tle chil­dren don’t have hairy legs, but I do. Let me go on record: It was much eas­ier to re­move a ban­dage back in my youth than it was to­day. Again: OUCH!

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