Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Object Lessons, or: Snorri's Reliquary

Object lessons are very important tools at Uncle Olaf's School of Hard Knocks. You can tell people things over and over, and they will smile and nod.... and sometimes even do what they are told... but there will, occasionally, be that moment when something happens to bring them sudden and clear understanding. And sometimes first aid.

My son Snorri had one of these moments a couple of years ago at Pennsic. We were down in the woods battle when I noticed that Snorri wasn't wearing what I would consider adequate hand protection behind his shield. I pointed out this folly... I felt that he could easily have his hand injured with the light street hockey glove he was wearing. He responded "But hand protection isn't required behind my shield...".
He was, of course, correct. The rules do indeed state that "A shield alone may be considered an equivalent to full hand protection only if no part of the gloved hand or wrist is within 4 inches (10.2 cm) of the edge of the shield while the shield is in use."
But... there's the rules, and there's good sense... and I knew people that had their hands injured recently. I told him to ask Sir Rhys about wearing adequate hand protection, as he had recently had one such injury.

Sometimes life does not wait long to deliver object lessons. This was one such time.

The next day in the field battles, I had to sit out due to equipment failure, so I was up at camp packing up. A breathless runner came into camp looking for me, informing me that Snorri was at chirurgeon's point injured. Dalla and I flew down there with all the speed we could muster. I entered the tent to see Snorri on the bed... with a hand wrapped in bloody bandages. I didn't have to say a word... he looked at me and said "I DIDN'T TALK TO SIR RHYS YET!!!"


His thumbnail had been ripped mostly off, and was hanging on by just a small corner. It would have to be removed, and the nail bed covered up. This would require local anesthetic. Turns out the reason they sent for me was that Snorri has a real problem with needles, and wasn't going to allow them to stick him. I sat beside him and took his other hand, and the doc took the injured hand. I then palmed Snorri's face and held it down, and told the doc to do his thing. The anesthetic was only sorta working... but I pointed out to the doc that sorta was probably good enough, and to keep going.

He ripped the remnant of the nail off, and stitched a small aluminum cover to the nailbed. It was nice work...

Snorri, who we mentioned was still feeling much of this, began to cuss. Alot. Repeating "fuckfuckfuck" like a mantra. As there were people present... many, by this point... I tried to distract him and get him saying something else. The "something else" ended up being the refrain to "Sophia" by the Cruxshadows. We repeated it together over and over while they stitched the metal thumbnail on. Dalla tells me it got quiet, and everyone watched in awe through this. It was apparently a pretty solemn moment....

Do not injustice to another
Defend the weak and innocent
Let truth and honor always guide you
Let courage find a life within

Stand up when no one else is willing
Act not in hatred or in spite
Be to this world as a perfect knight
Even if it means your life

The Reliquary on the wall of Wolf's Den Pub
During all this, one of the nurses... a former combat medic... was standing by. He asked if he could take pictures of the injury. I said sure, as long as he sent me copies. We also took the ripped off nail.
When they asked me why, I told them... it was going in a reliquary on the pub wall. When we got home, it did just that, and remains there to this day... a reminder, if you ask Snorri... to ask Rhys.

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