Thursday, August 22, 2013

That Time Santa Brought Me a Dog Bite for Xmas

Thanks, Yeller.
When you're in 5th grade you tend to trust adults. They know best. They've lived life. They get it. So, when they confidently assure you a dog, as foamy of a bark as is he/she may have, won't bite, you get on board hoping they're right.

I'm now an adult, and trust me, sometimes adults are idiots.


It was Christmas. December 23rd to be exact. I was in the 5th grade. I was making straight-A's to be exact. In accordance with family tradition, my folks and I were visiting our friends who lived across town for some good ol' Christmas fun. This particular year, however, our friends had moved to the country to live closer to their aging grandparents. Living in the country means a family comes fully equipped with a protective dog that can stir up a good bit of commotion in the event of a burglar, pesky coon, rattler, or anything that seems out of place. This family was about as country as it got, so they had a dog. An old Golden Retriever creatively named, you guessed it, Yeller. I'm sure at one point, this old, patchy-haired beast was pretty fun for the kids in its earlier days. I'm sure he used to be great at fetch. I'm sure he did some hilarious twists in the summer grass after playing in the sprinkler. The only thing now was that Yeller had gone slightly batshit crazy. He was in the barking-at-your-own-shadow stage, had that infamous crazy blue eye, was partially deaf, and probably had various species of worms--but more on that shortly.

Well, up walks my family to this new country address with presents, sugar cookies, and sausage balls in hand and wearing the most atrocious Christmas attire you could imagine. The house was sort of a cottage with a wrap around yard encompassed by a chain-link fence. I led the way to the gate with arms full of presents when from around the house runs an incoherent Yeller barking, foaming, and doing this push the fence/back away/push the fence move. Now, dogs were usually scared of me. I was a mean 5th grader. This time, however, I was a little hesitant to enter. Yeller, to his credit, had a pretty loud, echoing bark I felt in my chest. Yet, out comes our friends saying in a thick Texas drawl, "Aw, Yeller, get on. C'mown, y'all. He aint gon' bytcha." Still a little hesitant, I enter with a cute Texan, "Mmowkay." Sure enough, a growling and frustrated Yeller retreated 'round back, and the festivities commenced.

Eron's Christmas - 1; Yeller - 0.

Later that night, bellies full of sausage balls, sugar cookies, and punch, my friend and I decide to go outside. This was Christmas in Texas, mind you. So we ventured into the yard in shorts and with a football. Hyper on sugary punch, we were pretty wound up, and were throwing the football really hard at each others' faces. In an effort to kill my friend, I threw a rocket spiral. Unfortunately, it actually missed his face and soared overhead and landed, you guessed it, 'round back.

You ever seen Sandlot?

I had awaken the dragon. I heard the growling and barking begin from behind the house. In the shadows I saw Yeller's silhouette run and inspect the intruding object. And, apparently after picking up my scent and "smelling" my fear (as trustworthy adults say dogs can do), he darted from the shadows. It was Yeller's hour.

It all happened in slow motion. I saw Yeller dash across the yard, leap a good inch into the air, and as I protected my face, latch onto my right wrist. I lowered my arm (with Yeller still attatched) and side-kicked him off, yanking my arm from his clutches. I saw Yeller back off and trot off to the side. I hadn't yet seen my arm.

Now, I had been bitten pretty hard by dogs before. Again, I was mean to animals as a young boy. I figured this was just another bite that hurt, but wasn't a big deal. Then I looked down. That bastard Yeller, with his top-right canine, opened the top of my wrist, and with his bottom-right canine, made a deep hole in the side of my wrist.

Eron's Christmas - 1; Yeller - 10,000+.

I ran inside screaming, holding my wrist to a crowd of confused (and now untrustworthy) adults. Blood was running down my arm and hand, and my faithful buddy next to me was faithfully...begging to see it. I was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that ol' Yeller had gift-wrapped me a chipped wrist bone that required surgery.

I spent Christmas in the hospital that year. Yeller spent Christmas in heaven that year.

So, the takeaway?

You better not pout, you better not cry,
You better watch out, I'm telling you why.
Santa Clause will give you a dog bite.

Happy Throwback Thursday.

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