Now I know what you’re thinking, “He’s going to hurt himself!” Of course, that’s what my mom said too. This was a possibility because I did not grow up hunting, fishing or anything remotely rugged at all. I had some training in marksmanship and my parents already allowed me to own a pellet rifle. To date, I had never shot my eye out, so I figured I was good.
They must have agreed because my dad took me to buy the most awesome survival knife ever! It was really big, really shiny and really sharp!
It had a screw off lid on the hilt which revealed a hollow handle. This is where you could put all kinds of just-in-case-you-ever-get-stranded-in-the-wilderness stuff.
Things like; matches for starting fires, string for maybe getting yourself out of a hole, fishing line and hook for fishing obviously and a sewing kit for maybe if you tore your clothes. Or, if you ever cut yourself in the wild, you could sew yourself back together.
You never know, you know. I had plans for this new toy!
My brother Darren, some friends and I used to climb through a hole in the fence that separated military housing from the wild Louisiana bayous. Once in the jungle like atmosphere, we would try to catch snapping turtles and hunt snakes and craw-fish with my pellet rifle.
Mind you, there were some seriously venomous snakes living back there, like copperheads, water moccasins and various other sorts of craziness. But we were boys wearing camouflage, with a pellet gun, and so we were invisible and lethal! Once we got a snake, we would skin it and take the skin home to dry, which my mom was thrilled about.
We actually spotted an alligator once, but it quickly jumped into the bayou and swam away. While crossing over the bayou on a slick log, by brother Darren fell into the smelly brown water and was completely submerged. As he bobbed back up screaming, it was the aforementioned alligator that Darren was sure he was standing on when he hit the bottom. However, I didn’t see anything other than him moving around in there. He still has all his arms and legs, so there’s that.
On the first excursion with the knife, my friend and I headed to the hole in the fence, to hunt snakes. Through the dense foliage, we trudged deeper and deeper in search of our next kill.
Underneath some ground covering green plants, I noticed the biggest snake I had ever seen outside of a zoo. Only part of it was visible and that part was huge. It looked like some kind of constrictor. Maybe a python or something.
It was at this point, I realized, I forgot the gun! No problem, I grabbed a stick and quickly began whittling a spear using my handy Rambo knife. As I started to fashion the deadly javelin, I broke the only knife rule there is.
Don’t cut towards yourself.
As the blade entered my finger, I realized only too late, that I had broken this rule. All that was keeping my knuckle on the first digit of my index finger was a little piece of skin. So I dropped my spear, sheathed my knife, wrapped my now bloody finger with the bottom of my t-shirt, and ran.
It was a couple of miles to the ER. Because I had to run, all the blood that pumped out of my finger was now splattered all over my shirt from my waist to my neck.
As I entered the ER, the desk personnel with a horrified look on her face said: “What happened?” In my adrenaline rush, I shouted “I cut myself, with this!” as I held the knife up like a scene from “Psycho”.
The hospital called my parents and told them I had multiple lacerations to the hand. With no information other than that, they showed up immediately. My mother had the I-told-you-he-would-hurt-himself look on her face.
Even though they were able to save the knuckle using four stitches, the snake got away. Everyone seems to think that the size of the snake gets larger each time I tell the story, but I’m sure it was an anaconda.
What is something you wanted so bad you couldn’t stand it, and then it ended up being a bad idea? Tell us in the comments.
To read David’s story, click the book title below.
Originally published at dilemmamike.com