When I was little my dad used to tell us stories from his childhood. It's rough parenting: using horror stories as a teaching aid. We used to always beg for these stories of when he did his best to kill/maim/mutilate himself, every time by honest mistake. My favourite story is the one when he and his friends played at a building site and he jumped down from something onto a 2 by 4 and got at nail through his foot. He then walked back to the house, about three houses away, there were loads of building sites around their house where he grew up, and my grandmother stepped on the plank and lifted dad off the nail, then she put him on the back of her bike and took him to doctor Kallenbäck, most likely after hitting him over the head for being so stupid. She was always taking him to doctor Kallenbäck on her bike. The doctor thought they ought to have a fastpass. Another time he was on the side of their house by the cellar entrance. The entrance to the cellar was of the kind that is dug down next to the house, with concrete steps going down and a metal railing around the top, so no one would fall down (you can probably see where this is going). We were allowed to play at the end where you only fall down on the first step. Dad somehow leaned over at the deep end and fell head first down all the way. And grandmother put him on the back of her bike and pedalled away to doctor Kallenbäck. It is difficult to say whether he actually ever sustained any real damages (apart from the beating he took every time he did something stupid, which was basically every day), but he is still very reckless and accident prone. It makes for a few good stories though. And a few heart-breakingly sad ones.
Yesterday Edvin hit his elbow hard and was very unhappy about this so to cheer him up I decided to tell him about the time I hit my ankle, the similarity being that it hurts worse when you hit a bit of the body with no fat or muscles, only skin and bone, on my bike, which happened ALL the time, but this time it started bleeding profusely. My dad was in the garage and he came out on the street and started taking me back to the house calming med down and said he had something that would help and went into the garage and took out his fishing bag and I nearly died. I was certain he was going to take out a fishing hook and put this in my wound (I don’t know why). He proceeded to pull out a plaster. I wonder if I would have let him put a hook in my foot. Probably. Despite all the stories about how reckless he had been I trusted him completely. He obviously knew a thing or two about survival.
When I called him just now to ask if I remembered the doctor’s name correctly he also reminded me of the time when he was poking with a stick in a ditch full of water and managed to fall in and somehow get a smallish stone under his eyelid. I’d repressed that one. He also suggested his experiences as an explanation to some of Edvin's mishaps, which made my blood run cold. Because I know that if I had asked him, he would have been able to tell me that he did something equally stupid last week. And it’ll be something else next week.