Just Bust a Lip

Some people have the moves like Jagger. Somehow, I wound up with the upper lip instead.

OK, not “somehow.” After all, I do live in a slapstick movie that Chevy Chase would envy and Mel Brooks would direct. Part of that privilege is that I can see exactly what’s about to happen – just in time for it to do me absolutely no good.

It’s how I’ve wound up stepping off a perfectly good stage. Or finding sewing needles with my bare feet. Or chasing a barfing dog around the bedroom, running into every conceivable obstacle on the way. (Oh, you’ve heard that one?)

And in this case, it’s how tripping on one broken piece of sidewalk turned a healthy walk to work into “OWWWW!”

I got lucky as I caromed off the concrete. No broken teeth, no broken nose. That seems to be part of the deal with my invisible producer: no lasting injuries that would kill off the chance of a sequel. Short of that, anything goes.

And in this case, “anything” was my swollen upper lip, to the tune of three stitches and enough blood for a Friday the 13th film.

Fun, huh?

Educational, too. For the past week, in fact, it’s been a constant tutorial in the Iron Law of the Universe: “You can never do just one thing.” Consequences snowball, whether it’s the Amazon butterfly raising a typhoon or the casual dinner remark sinking a political career.

In this case, my failure to pay attention to what my feet were doing didn’t just win me a Rolling Stones look-alike contest. It also guaranteed:


* That I would be unable to be understood by voice-message trees for at least two days. (“I’m sorry. I didn’t get that. Please try again …”)

* That drinking a glass of water would be on a difficulty level with competing in the Hunger Games.

* That drinking anything ice-cold would trigger expressions best not read in a family newspaper.

* That whistling would not be an annoyance to my co-workers for a while.

* That, contrary to “Casablanca,” a kiss isn’t just a kiss when your pucker feels like it’s hit a porcupine.

* That any kind of lengthy out-loud reading – longer than a page or two – was out of the question for the immediate future.


In a way, that last one hit the hardest. Reading is what I do. What I have done since the age of two and a half. Combine a love of books with a love of performing and the result is that I have read to and with anyone willing to listen for years: my dad, my sisters, my grandma, my wife Heather, our ward Missy, the dogs …

These days, it’s the vital bedtime ritual. Before the lights go down and the house goes quiet, I sit on the edge of Missy’s bed and read, a journey of the mind that has roamed from Missouri to Middle-Earth and from secret gardens to open warfare.

But when the stinging of your lip says “stop” after two pages, Hogwarts can take a little longer to visit than planned.

Well, lesson learned. And maybe even a small blessing with it. It only takes a few days of doing without something to discover what your real priorities are – what’s an inconvenience and what’s an essential. Being in a position to recognize that and to make adjustments later is no tiny thing.

It’s better still, of course, to be paying enough attention before a crisis hits. Especially when it’s often inattention that creates the crisis in the first place. Think, plan, imagine, observe. Act, however you need to, even if you don’t think you need to right now.

It may all seem terribly abstract.

But it’s amazing how fast it becomes concrete.

One Reply to “Just Bust a Lip”

  1. Wow, Scott,

    Was sorry to read about your busted lip. Ouch!

    I got back about a week ago from a wonderful trip to Oklahoma. Did travel through your wonderful and beautiful state of Kansas, though. Took the back roads back home, with only three children in my 15 converted to 12-passenger van with cargo space in the back (as the back seat moved up to make 15 = 12 with resulting cargo space going from nill to infinity)…. Each child had a seat of their own! Older kids were at camp in Anadarko–more on that sometime–and Annamarie flew home as she needed to be in “the office” in Greeley Monday if possible. Sterling, Remington and Audrey all drove home earlier in Remington’s car….I don’t know why exactly I told you all that….just explaining my car situations and fun driving patterns my family exhibits….one time it took 6 cars to get us all to Greeley for Sterling’s college graduation. I was doing my best to make it only 2 cars, but as circumstances out of my control had it, it took 6 cars to get us all there….We come in droves occasionally….I get the biggest comments when I arrive in my big green 15-passenger V10 Triton van, my “Apache”, all alone. Everyone expects kids to come flowing out the side door, but only I exit the carrier.

    Anyway, I drove it up from Buffalo, Oklahoma on Highway 34 in the pouring rain now and then, it was pouring…rainy day…cool….strange to see jackets on people in Oklahoma and Kansas on July 16, I believe it was….wondering if I had indeed flown over the rainbow to some never-never land! But it was real….abstract, as you say, but concrete!

    We stopped in Bucklin, Kansas at a little grocery store. Nice little store with wooden floors and a milkshake, soda bar in the back. The bank’s time and temperature read that it was 55 degrees at 12:34 (pm). and still 55 degrees at 12:46. I pay attention to little things like that sometimes…just the way I am, I guess….

    We stopped at Fort Dodge there just outside Dodge City and grabbed a sandwich in town. We stopped at some tanks displayed south of Jetmore at a war memorial and visited the old old cemetery there…and headed on up 283 taking us through the beautiful Smokey Valley scenic route, right on up into Wakeeney where I wrote you last.

    Had to stop in Colby and close my eyes and sleep for 30 minutes as I was feeling oh so sleepy…and I made her home in good order late that night…

    Once I fell and scraped my knee, busted it up really bad a couple of years ago in Denver at the Merchandise Mart…could have possibly used stitches, but medics at the medic station (whom I visited after I went to the seminar…didn’t want to miss my seminar!!! did steri-strips and that was good with me….and when I fell, in the parking lot, carrying a load of books I’d just bought out to my car, I fell right behind a car that was about to back up….they didn’t see me! and I nearly got ran over, but I got up fast enough and out of the way….always an adventure, it is!)….

    I’d tell you more, but I’m having a party. A Norwex party and I need to get everything all ready….shampooed my carpets yesterday and my cleaner wasn’t working, took it to town, on Main Street there, got it fixed, but got me late and off schedule….and all kinds of things that pop up in life that I am happy they do, means I have a good and active life….and Titus, yesterday, was questioning me about this party I’m having and if sometimes he could sometimes come upstairs (he and Benny will be in the basement watching movies…most of all because Titus just came down with Chicken pox and I was up with him last night tickling his very itchy now chickenpox, and he woke up crying… and applying calamine and all….but it was funny….

    Titus asks me about my party; I explain Ivy is demonstrating Norwex cleaning rags and how to clean your house with them…(we already have a load of them…LOVE them!)….I tell him then Ivy sells the cloths to whoever wants some….

    He grimaces in disbelief and exclaims: “You call THAT a party???)

    : ) Love it! Yes, a party! Life’s a party sometimes. Abstract or concrete….but I truly am sorry about your lip….home it heals well

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