My dad was of the school that believed in order to be cured you had to suffer

Gauze_in_medical_useage_-_wound.jpgMy old man was of the school that held that unless the cure for an affliction, contusion, and abrasion was more excruciatingly painful than the wound itself it wasn’t going to do you a lick of good.

As a consequence he was a great believer in the wonders of liberal iodine use on a cut. Any kind of cut or abrasion and out would come the nasty little brown tincture bottle. I did like the fact it had a little skull-and-crossbones logo on it, but otherwise it hurt like bejesus when applied.

Dad thought it was the real-deal because it kind of cauterized the surrounding flesh. So did a branding iron, but blessedly he didn’t go in that direction. He also didn’t allow me the compassionate option of biting on a bullet, however.

To be envied were the kids who got to treat their wounds with Mercurochrome. Now, that stuff was kind of wimpy because it didn’t really hurt at all, but what it did do was leave a big livid stain so that it made a kid’s simple abrasion assume the magnitude of a gaping wound.

Do they still make that stuff? Haven’t seen it in years.

If I went to my mom with a cut it was a less painful process. She used a disinfectant called Dettol. It didn’t hurt, but it smelled like a hospital corridor. Somehow the use of these lesser solutions took a bit of the charm out of cuts and abrasions of boyhood.

You see, injury and pain and the obvious symbols thereof are vital talismans of courage to the young male child. Parents, especially moms, should be aware of that reality.

And remember, no matter how teeny the ‘owie’, make sure it is accorded a big honking bandage. And if that bandage were to get soaked with seeping blood, so much the better.

Once when I was a kid my youngest brother fell down the back steps and broke his arm. He was forced to wear a cast and had to support the arm with a sling.

He was kind of a wimp and he hated it.

But my other brother and I were green with envy. To be able to go to school with your arm in a sling would give you unimaginable social cachet – we believed.

When we were in 10th grade a good friend of mine was in a car crash. He went through the windshield and was banged up pretty good. He was off school for a few days, and when he came back, wearing dark glasses due to cuts around his eyes, and walking with a cane we thought it was the coolest thing imaginable. And as he strode through the cafeteria a sizeable throng began to follow him, wanting to know about the accident. He was a bit like a rock star.

I believe iodine fell out of favor a few years ago due to the fact that it actually does burn the flesh and arguably did more harm than good. But there was a time when every macho-aspiring lad was willing to bear the pain of that bottle because it offered so much panache potential.


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