Playing Hurt


I’m an advocate of playing through pain. My wife might ask, “Shouldn’t you get that looked at?” But I tell her that I’m a gamer, and would continue using the power tool through the blood splatter. My son once told me that I was using the term “gamer” incorrectly as his generation had co-opted it to refer to those who play video games. I told him that when you steal a word and give it a new meaning because of a complete lack of imagination of the video game generation, the old meaning does not go away. For the young people out there, a gamer is an athlete who will play through pain.

I’ve had my share of goofy injuries, but few top my friend Hugh for trips to the ER. We all have a friend or relative who is more accident prone than others, but Hugh gets high points for both frequency and originality. I don’t want to belabor you with an extensive accounting, but an example would be his somehow gashing his leg with scissors while clipping coupons. He didn’t hit an artery or anything, but the injury did require medical attention.

The point of this is that my wife and I recently went to Hugh’s house for a barbecue. When we entered the house, Hugh was coming out of the bathroom unwrapping a Band-aid. This was nothing unusual, but I still felt compelled to ask him how he had injured himself…this time. He told me that he had cut himself while using a Bundt pan.

I moved on to others at the party and didn’t give this a second thought. After all, the kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house. It is completely filled with sharp implements stored willy-nilly in variable-shaped drawers and containers. Even some foods can be dangerous. It also is an area for multitasking and distracted activity. I have had plenty of injuries, both minor and serious, in this chamber of horrors.

As the party moved along, something continued to nag at me. I am a writer and I have written several mystery stories. A Bundt pan…how can one possibly cut themselves on a Bundt pan? I first considered the possibility that Hugh was lying to cover up a more embarrassing injury. This thought was quickly dismissed as I have heard about far more embarrassing injuries from him. Also, why replace an embarrassing story with an only slightly less embarrassing one? Could he be lying to enhance the tale? He did get me to write about it. That’s just not his style. Hugh’s stories are far too interesting to need enhancement.

The thing I couldn’t let go of was the Bundt pan aspect of the affair. I did some research, going as far as searching for the patent information for the Bundt pan. The document was crammed with safety-friendly terms like ring-shaped, dome-shaped, non-stick, round, hollow cavity, hemispherical, well, you get the idea.

As you can see, the nature of the Bundt pan makes it a poor candidate as a weapon or implement for injury. Every surface in every dimension is either gently rounded or parabolic. As a writer, I tried to envision Liam Neeson or Bruce Willis defending the world from hordes of bad guys with foreign accents (Liam’s not included) in a kitchen. I can envision nearly every appliance or implement being credibly used as a weapon. Even the most petite Italian mother can inflict a massive amount of damage with a wooden spoon.

There was only one item in my kitchen that I did not have the imagination to weaponize…the Bundt pan. I even took it outside and tried to throw it like Odd Job threw his derby in Goldfinger. First of all, unlike the killer haberdashery, the Bundt pan did not have a razor-sharp edge. It was quite smoothly rounded as expected from the patent description. It also was disturbingly non-aerodynamic. Even throwing it Frisbee-style, something I highly doubt that Hugh would do in his kitchen, it quickly flopped harmlessly to the ground. The best I could imagine was somehow stuffing someone through the hole in the pan. This would require at a minimum, a rather involved Rube Goldbergian conglomeration of dozens of additional kitchen items.

I guess this will have to get slipped into my list of story ideas that just didn’t make it to print or stage. By now, Hugh has healed and we’ll just have to wait until the next injury to find inspiration. I’ll just never again be able to make a Bundt cake without being aware of the lurking danger, thanks to Hugh. Way to play hurt, gamer!



© Robert O’Connell and, 2011-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




One thought on “Playing Hurt

  1. Bob, What a great story. I never knew how accident prone Hugh was. And I learned a lot too, about gaming. Way to go Bob.

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