This one time, in Texas……


I have lived in Ontario for most of my life, but in 1998 I moved to Halifax to live with my best friend Sandra. I got a job at a bakery and, with the low-level of pay that was minimum wage, struggled to make ends meet. There was nothing left at the end of a pay period to allow for much of a social life so the internet quickly became a great source of amusement. Back in those days, there was a social site called ICQ and I met a myriad number of people from all over the world. One fellow in particular captured my attention and we developed a friendship that seemed to plant the seed for a greater attraction.

We wrote poetry and song lyrics together and would spend countless hours on the phone talking and singing together while he played guitar. We knew we had to meet face to face. My best friend and I decided we would spend our vacation driving through the States and that Austin, TX would become a stop on our whirlwind tour.

The hours we spent in the car, although amusing, were long and arduous and we would find creative ways to keep each other awake. Sandra knew the steel trap that is my mind stored movie quotes ad nauseam and she would give me a quote and I would quote back from the same movie. She made the mistake of asking me to do some scenes from Arthur, with Dudley Moore, and I began with the introductory theme song and continued to do the movie almost in its entirety. The sign for Austin loomed ahead as I came to the end of my monologue and Sandra breathed a sigh of relief.

The meeting with Danny went extremely well and he was excited to take me to his work the next day. His excitement had a child-like enthusiasm as he toured me around the facility. There are some details that I don’t recall specifically, but he was trying to explain the weight of something and handed me a concrete block so I could comprehend the comparison. I picked up the block and immediately dropped it at my feet. Searing pain registered in one of my fingers and as I looked down at the block, a small scorpion scurried along the ground away from the block. Danny’s shock registered immediately and the color drained from his face. He knew I had been stung and hurried me inside and grabbed his pack of menthol cigarettes. He began chewing some of the tobacco and placed a wad of saliva soaked tobacco on my finger to draw out the poison.


(Image courtesy of Google, but the resemblance is uncanny)

Hind sight being what it is, I should have gone to the hospital, but I’m here telling the tale so the worst never happened. I did spend an inordinate amount of time in a great deal of pain. My lips went numb for a few hours as the diluted poison surfed through my veins and my finger throbbed like a Fred Flintstone toe after being crushed by a boulder. Danny trapped the little bastard that assaulted my digits and after a few minutes of shaking the glass jar that was his tomb, the scorpion committed his own form of Hari Kari by piercing his own skull with his poisonous barb. Although I did feel a small amount of satisfaction watching the life ebb from his crunchy little outer shell, it didn’t alleviate any of the pain.

We said goodbye to Danny and to Texas. Our journey continued and we made more pleasant memories in New Orleans, South Carolina, and enjoyed the pain-free remainder of our vacation as we made our way up the picturesque Eastern Seaboard and crossed the border back into Canada.

Things didn’t work out with Danny. He couldn’t understand my vehement objection when he asked if I would move to Texas. I’m sure I stared at the tip of my violated finger as I broke the news to him. I’ll take mosquitos and black flies any day. Scorpions? ┬áNo thank you.

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you?