Life Stories: Head Banging

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It’s time for another trip down memory lane (or not-so memory lane as the case may be).

I’ve always had a big head – and I’m not talking about an ego problem (although that comes and goes), I mean literally. Hats don’t fit me. In High School my Dad actually had to custom-make an extension for the back of my hat when the school I went to made them mandatory during lunchtimes.

Apart from that, it’s never really caused me any problems, and I doubt the following stories have anything to do with the size of it, but I’m now going to share with you what I remember from times I’ve hit this very large head, very, very hard in the past.

DOUBLE-WHAMMY (2010)

As you’ll eventually learn when I start writing more of these autobiographical pieces, I used to work in a restaurant – I did for a long time (far TOO long but meh). I wasn’t even a chef, I was front of house, and one of the best damn head waiters you’ll ever see (although you won’t anymore because I’m out of the game). We were a family restaurant, which meant a lot of kids and a high volume, particularly on weekends.

I was part of the team up the front. I’m intentionally failing to remember what we used to call it and instead shall say that I was the Maitre d’. Occasionally when staff were running fervently and you had a break between seating and settling, you’d be asked by children for a balloon.

I entered the custom ‘shack’ where we kept our balloons and made one for a polite little boy who’d asked. When I handed it to him I SPECIFICALLY said “now, don’t let go of it”.

What was the FIRST, IMMEDIATE thing the kid did? He let go. I had cleaned too many deflated balloons out of those rafters in the past so I leapt as high as I could in an attempt to halt its escape.

I succeeded.

What I forgot was that I was in fact standing in the not-particularly-tall doorway of the merchandise shack. At the exact same time I grabbed the balloon, my head smashed into the overhead beam of the door frame. Having forgotten it was there, I’d jumped with all my might. I reeled, but again gave the child his balloon. I was asked if I was OK and, while I said yes at the time, my distinct lack of memory about the rest of that night indicates that maybe I wasn’t.

Self-inflicted concussion through stupidity? Check! But it happened again…

Two days later, a Sunday morning, and I had left something at home. Having it brought to work for me, I ran out through the back dock and swung open the very heavy and large back gate. What I didn’t realise was that SOME STUPID FUCK had left a whole bunch of boxes directly behind the gate, and as soon as I’d opened it and started bolting through, the thing swung straight back and smashed me in the forehead. While the first incident left no visible mark, this gate took a small gash out of my head. I still have a scar that’s visible in the right lighting.

My own stupidity? Yes, sure, I’ll take the wrap. But it gets worse even worse.

STAGE DIVE (NO IDEA) 

Go on to Google and type ‘XQuabed’. It’s a word you’ve never heard and never will again – but it’s the name of a funk trio that I used to play drums in.

It's all fun and games until you smash yourself in the head

It’s all fun and games until you smash yourself in the head

Unlike the metal bands I’d been in, XQuabed was very much about funk, fun and nonsense, and during many shows we had developed a tradition, not unlike the Chilli Peppers, of undressing ourselves through the set till we each stood there in little more than a jock strap. Being a drummer I didn’t have a problem with this, it gets hot up there.

I can’t even remember the venue we were playing at, but the time had come once again for me to take off my pants and reveal the jock that left little to the imagination, as I’d already done many times before.

What I was not aware of, however, was the fact that the stage mysteriously disappeared somewhere between myself and the bass player, and as I stumbled around, pants half down, I fell through a completely invisible gap in the stage. 

Embarrassing, sure, but it gets worse.

I didn’t just fall hilariously, my trailing leg happened to bring my hi-hat stand with it (completely unbeknownst to me). Somehow on the way down, the exact edge of the cymbals themselves smashed me about an inch away from my right eye. This was easily the most painful of these three incidents, and I could feel the swelling almost immediately.

It was pretty embarrassing but considering I’d played a show hours after a serious car accident (a story for another time, maybe) I figured the show must go on. What I didn’t realise at the time – not until I wiped some sweat off my face a song later, was that I was now bleeding profusely from two parallel cuts in my eyebrow.

I have little idea how the show went, let alone where or when it was – but I had a friend I hadn’t seen in years come to the gig, and she’d left before we finished.

I’m assuming it was all downhill from there. 

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