Eye of the Tiger

I had a moment the other day. You know those moments. When you see a glimpse of some­thing unex­pected that makes you look at life a lit­tle differently.

In a flurry of spring clean­ing, I was rel­e­gat­ing a space heater to a high, out-​​of-​​the-​​way shelf in a claus­tro­pho­bic shed. I was excited and mov­ing fast because this win­ter has been long. Really long. Even hardy Ontar­i­ans are claim­ing they have been at their col­lec­tive wits’ end and I couldn’t get this damn heat­ing machine out of sight fast enough. So I hoisted the tall space heater, get­ting enough ooomph in my lift to ensure Old Man Win­ter wit­nessed how seri­ous I was, aaaaand up we go! Aaaaand SMASH>*FLASHHxxzkkkPOP!!tinkletinktinktinkle.…I had dri­ven the heater directly into the energy-​​efficient light­bulb above my head, send­ing a shower of tiny, energy-​​efficient shards of what­ever those energy-​​efficient engi­neers make their energy-​​efficient light­bulbs out of. Prob­a­bly tiger claws and Dead Sea salt shavings.

As the star­burst of pieces rained upon me, sev­eral thoughts crossed my mind in rapid fire suc­ces­sion:
1) Don’t breathe. You’ll inhale a fil­a­ment that will lodge itself in your lung, lay dor­mant for 20 years and even­tu­ally rip its way through the soft tis­sue, leav­ing you breath­less, forced to live in a plas­tic tent like in that really intense part near the end of E.T. when Eliott and E.T. are in quar­an­tine.
2) I’m going to burn down the build­ing. Great. What a way to start spring.
3) Some­thing just went in my eye. No, really. A shard of energy-​​efficient light­bulb just went in my eye and, first, I’m going to have to miss my weekly Fri­day show at the Cameron House in Toronto (Come see us some­time! We start at 8pm!) and, sec­ond, I am going to lose sight in my left eye. [cue panic]

Get it out.

Wait. Don’t touch it. You’ll scratch your cornea or, worse yet, punc­ture it and send ocu­lar fluid everywhere.

Don’t blink. Wait. Blink. That’ll help wash it out. Yeah. {blink} Hmmm, yeah, there’s def­i­nitely some­thing in there.

Flush it with water! But what if the water some­how washes this alien frag­ment behind my eye­lid and it ends up slic­ing my optic nerve?! AAAHHHHH!!!

Ok, calm down, Patrick. Let’s look in a mirror.

Okaaaay, I don’t see any tiger claw shards of death in my eye socket. That’s good. There isn’t any blood. That’s good too! There is def­i­nitely some­thing in my eye other than my eye and I don’t like that very much but it cer­tainly could be worse.

I recently learned that when it comes to donat­ing organs, a healthy liver donor can have up to 70% of their liver removed to give to some­one in need and not only will the donated organ fig­ure out how to live in a dif­fer­ent human but the 30% of remain­ing liver in the donor will make a plan and GROW BACK to its orig­i­nal size. I bring this up because the human body is an amaz­ing organ­ism that we all hap­pen to inhabit. What­ever ended up in my eye, how­ever big, how­ever sharp, how­ever tiny, and how­ever blown up in my mind, my body knew how to get rid of it. Within 15 min­utes and a bit of a cold water flush, I was fine.

Ulti­mately, the inci­dent made me think about how quickly things can change. Of course we all know that life is short and to make the most of it. But are we really pre­pared for the after­shocks of moments that will change our lives for­ever? How would I have reacted to los­ing sight in one eye? I’m sure I would’ve fig­ured it out but man, that would be a blow. More impor­tantly, are we pre­pared for the good things that will hap­pen to us? Life is going to throw us a lot of light­bulbs and a lot of tigers, it’s how we learn to live with them that mat­ters most.