Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are You Listening?

Accident Prone

“He burned the hamburgers and he burned the buns,” Norma complained as they walked home from the barbecue.

"And you left the door unlocked,” Sam replied. The sound of metal grated from inside the house. “There’s someone on the patio,” Norma whispered back.

Sam, forgetting that he was nearly sixty, charged towards the French door in the dining room just as it swung shut. “My hand went through the window, Norma! I’ve cut my wrist!” Blood spurted from his arm as she fastened a dishtowel tourniquet and called 911.

After a scary hour in the emergency room, Sam changed his bloody clothes. He sprawled out on the sofa while Norma sponged the blood off the drapes with a small bucket of cleaning solvent. “I got it out, and I even got it off your shirt,” she told Sam, after she poured the solution down the toilet. “The Tonight Show's on. Do you want to watch it?”

“First, I’m going upstairs to the john,” he replied. He found the newspaper, sat down and lit a cigarette to relax while he finished his business. As usual, he dropped his butt into the toilet. One smell covered another and Sam didn’t notice the prevailing odor that should have warned him.

Solvent was still clinging to the sides of the toilet bowl; the sparks ignited, and the water blew up! More burnt buns.

Norma called the ambulance again, and the same men came to the rescue. “So he’s sitting on the toilet . . .” Norma began, as they hauled a charred and moaning Sam face-down on the stretcher. His wife bit back a smile and the other two started laughing so hard they dropped their patient down the stairs.

Even Sam chuckled a bit as the doctor cast his broken leg.


This is a true story. I wrote it based on the first-hand account of the doctor on the scene.

We were in a restaurant in Amsterdam in 1982, and a man sitting right behind Dee was talking to a couple in English. We started listening in. He had been the ER resident who took care of Sam's wrist, leg and bum-burns several years before.

As the story progressed we became hysterical. Dee was laughing so hard his chair kept bumping into the chair of the story-teller. With Dee's head blocking my view, I couldn't see any faces at first, but when I got a glimpse, the doctor looked familiar. I told Dee I recognized him from TV.

When they got up to leave, Dee turned around and blurted out, "Dr. DeVries!" The doctor stopped and Dee jumped up and stuck his hand out. "Dee Halverson from Salt Lake City," he said. Dr. DeVries didn't know him from Adam, but put on a good show, and said, "Of course! How are you?"

Dr. DeVries and Barney Clark

The University of Utah was the site of the first artificial heart transplant in 1981, performed by Dr. William DeVries. Barney Clark was close to death when he was chosen for the surgery, and lived for 112 days with the Jarvik heart. We'd seen Barney and his doctor every night for months on the local news. To accidentally hear this famous doctor tell his side-splitting experience was priceless.


~Have you ever overheard something juicy? Turn it into a story.



great example of the rewards of eavesdropping. I love it!

the wrath of khandrea said...

please start publishing. why are you not publishing? you should publish. really. publish. i'm talking hardcover here. hardcover publications.

Christie said...

That is absolutely hilarious. I'm sure I've heard that story before, but you always tell things in such a fresh way that I forget. Laughing so hard right now.

The Grandmother Here said...

My caucasian daughter went to Spanish immersion school as a child and spent 18 months in El Salvador as a missionary. She speaks and understands Spanish very well, although she doesn't look like she should be able to. This gives her eavesdropping camouflage.

Amy said...

Just last Sunday, our stake president, who is a retired St. George cop, told a very inappropriate story from the pulpit about when he was asked to work security for President Kimball when he came to St. George. According to the story, President Kimball hocked a loogie into the gutter, and the cop was so relieved it went into the gutter and that he didn't have to press charges on the Prophet because St. George has an ordinance that states "No spitting on sidewalks". And this from the pulpit! Hahaha!

Lily said...

Loose end -- was there a burglar?

Travelin'Oma said...

Good question. I always assumed there was a burglar but he wasn't mentioned again. Let's say there was. It makes it more worthwhile somehow.

Mrs. O said...

Oh! I needed a good laugh to start the day off. Thanks for this story. The best bits are often overheard.