How I got stabbed
Earlier we had all gone to a restaurant together. In the parking lot either Jenny or Rory jumped on my back for a piggy back ride. "Me too!" screamed George and immediately leapt on Joe's back. Joe's face went a little red, I don't know if it was from embarrassment or strain, but he was a good sport and carried all of George toward the car. Then George moved his hand down from Joe's neck and cupped one of his pec's. Joe's arms flew up and George got ignominiously dumped off his back.
Well we were all having fun in the dorm room, cracking jokes, drinking mountain dew and eating bugle chips. Of a sudden I yelled, "Hey everybody, watch me stab myself in the leg with a knife." I knelt down on one knee and looked up at their expectant faces with a goofy grin. The weapon in question was a butterfly knife, and a big one. If you are unfamiliar with this type of knife you can look it up, it is also known as a balisong.
This one was big and impressive and shiny, and I wanted them to all be amazed by it so I held it at the very end of the handle instead of in the usual spot. This was my mistake. The trick involves me plunging the knife at my leg and at the last minute rotating my hand down so that I punch my leg with the blade harmlessly parallel and then quickly jerk it back upright. The trick is effective because it is quick enough to fool the eye and the punch generates an impact so people cannot believe that you have not in fact stabbed yourself. Here's what really happened. I looked up
at their expectant faces as I struck so that I could see all the amazement. I did a quick stab at my leg and jerked my hand back up. Something was wrong. For a second I wanted to do it again because part of me felt frustrated. What was it? I could tell you, but I would rather show you. Make your right hand into a fist. Are you doing it? I can wait. . . Good. Now punch your open left hand. Now punch it twice, quick. Now go to punch it three times and before the third one can land stop short. Do you feel that cool tingle on your knuckles? They were expecting another impact weren't they? But they were disappointed. That's what my knuckles felt like and I realized that it was because they had not made contact with my thigh. Something else had stopped my downward plunge so rapidly that I had thought I had made an impact and pulled back up. It took a while to describe the first clue I had that something was up, but the second clue arrived at the same time. All those astonished faces I wanted to see, you know, surprise followed by delight? Well there was surprise followed by disgust. George actually gasped and turned away, hands raising like delicate butterflies, as if he was about to faint. I tell you Scarlet O'Hare could not have done it more gracefully than George.
I looked down and my first thought was, oh crap, I put a hole in my jeans. Then the space around the hole got wet. The wet was spreading and a really cool effect happened. It was like Technicolor. The large dark blue patch in the middle of my denim blue jeans turned red, almost all at the same time as I bled through the jeans. I dropped the knife and fell on my side.
What happened? Well I held the knife too far towards the end and did not look at what I was doing. I was aiming for a spot right behind my knee, but I did not rotate the knife quick enough on the down-stroke and so the point went in at an angle about a hand-length higher on my thigh. Like I said it took a long time for me to explain from my point of view. Here is what happened from theirs.
"Hey guys, watch me stab myself in the leg with a knife!"
Jon kneels, stabs himself in the leg with a knife and falls down.
The party is over.
If you want to end a party quick, stabbing yourself in the leg works, especially if you call all attention in the room to yourself first. I don't know what they thought. Either they knew I screwed the trick up bad, or they thought, "Man! That guy will do anything for a little attention!"
The interesting thing about being stabbed, it feels exactly like you think it would. I had to go to the hospital and watch the guy move a cotton swab around under my skin like a mouse under a blanket. And then the doctor asked me in a very serious tone how it was that I came to receive a stab wound to the leg. I told him that I had screwed up a party trick and he burst out laughing. Then he called some nurses over to have me tell them what I had done to myself. Finally after they had all had a good laugh he sutured me up.
I am a lot better at the trick now, though. Maybe I'll show it to you sometime.