Monthly Archives: November 2006

Hole in my head

Once, several years ago, I punched a hole in my head while working on my piece-of-crap car. I don’t remember if it was the car that leaked transmission fluid, or the one that leaked oil from the faulty head gasket, or if it was the one that needed daily transfusions of coolant. In fact, that may have been a single piece-of-crap car. Time, and a good smack to my head, have mushed many memories together.

In any case, while working on this particular car, I punched a hole into my forehead on the latch that hung down about two inches from the roof of the hood. It hurt like hell. For a second, I didn’t even realize what I did. I went to look at something in the engine block, ducking my head under the hood, thinking I had inches of clearance. I mean, I wailed my head into this thing. It dazed me.

I was out in front of my friends house, and I remember staggering in the doorway. His family was gathered around the kitchen table, and they all looked at me as I held my hand to my head and giggled weakly. I laughed as soon as I realized what I did, looking at the hook that gouged me in my car. I couldn’t believe that I hit it; I just didn’t expect there. So I was still laughing when I walked into my friends kitchen, all ashen and dizzy. The hook left a perfect tiny circle in my forehead, right below the hairline, perfectly in the center of my head. The wound lasted for days.

Good times.

I often laugh when I smack my head into something. It’s funny, after all. If someone saw me do it, hearing the clunk of my big fat head cracking into a corner or hanging lamp, he’d laugh, too. Just because I don’t get to observe it doesn’t mean it’s not funny.

A couple of weeks ago, I cracked my head into the top of a doorway, walking down a low set of stairs into somebody’s basement. Actually, I thought I had cleared that, too, but there was a staple halfway stapled into the lintel. Maybe it was sticking out about 2 millimeters. I thought I just wailed my head into the doorway and that was that, until about 15 minutes later, my friend says, “Your head is bleeding!”

I got a good chuckle out of that one, too, along with a scab that my fiancée thought was a pimple, but instead was another hole in my head.

Chernobyl’s effect on Norway

Last Christmas, my fianceé tried to buy reindeer meatballs for her father. It was kind of a tradition to get him some sort of unusual Norwegian treat, since his family is from there. But we couldn’t find them. There was a site that wouldn’t ship them out of Norway, but that was the closest we got.

Honestly, I figured that the demand just wasn’t there for any company to go out of its way to ship them, but Kathy assured me that she’d been able to get them in the past, and, really, the internets make it so easy to buy just about anything, no matter how obscure. My curiosity was piqued, but I didn’t find any information on the missing meatballs until articles started talking about the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. It turned out that the meatballs were banned from export, because 20 years after the initial fallout, a specific type of radiation was falling back to earth in Scandinavia and being absorbed by lichens and fungi.

Reindeer consider the lichens a delicacy. They were eating the contaminated lichens and becoming poisonous.

Now, an article from the New Scientist says that the sheep farmers in Norway are having problems, because sheep like mushrooms, and this particularly wet summer saw a bumper crop.

There’s an amazing quality to a pollutant that can poison thousands of miles from its origin and two decades after the fact. And, sadly, this is only a minor problem with nuclear fallout.