Why You Should Always Write “Amputate This One”

The other night, some friends and I were discussing emergency room horror stories (which is actually pretty redundant and could just be called “emergency room stories” since they’re all horrible) and I recalled this little charmer from my days working on a college campus.

One evening, while living in a dorm (ahh, the start to all great stories), I was awoken by a student crazily pounding up and down the hallway, banging on doors and yelling about baseball. When I confronted the ruckus (shaking my fist in the air and shouting, “You meddling kids!”), I found a kid with a mangled hand and pants around his ankles (because, really, where else should your pants be when you’re bleeding profusely in the middle of the night?).

It turns out he had broken his hand either A) in a barfight or B) while punching walls made out of cinder blocks instead of letting me sleep. (Oh, if everyone received such a punishment for waking me from my slumber.) Either way, he needed medical attention, and being the contractually obligated compassionate person I am, I accompanied him to the hospital.

If you’ve ever been to the emergency room for literally anything, and you’re not a Kardashian, you know what happened next: for the next six hours, my charge slumbered on an uncomfortable chair while I fluctuated between irritation and MIND-NUMBING HOMICIDAL RAGE.

Just before I was going to set the place on fire (screw the sick and needy, I was TIRED), my drunken friend was wheeled off into X-Ray. While I toyed with the idea of breaking off my own arms and using them to beat bystanders, a nurse returned and told me that we would both have to wait another hour or so before they could assemble the cast and set us free.


I end up napping on a discarded hospital bed when they finally take him for his cast, and when they return him to me he’s so sleepy and half-drunk that he immediately falls asleep while I speak to the nurses. They give me his discharge paperwork, we talk about cast maintenance, and we all say our goodbyes.

It’s close to seven in the morning, and I feel hope inside me beginning to swell and bubble up to the surface, wondering what kind of world will greet me outside the hospital doors. What has happened in my absence? Cures for cancer? Flying cars?

I wake up my wee friend so we can depart, and he groggily takes in his new cast. As we say goodbye to the nurse, my buddy mumbles, “Can I just ask you a question?”

“Of course,” she says.

He pushes up the sweatshirt sleeve of his non-plastered hand to reveal a bloodstained, claw-like talon.

“Why did you put the cast on the wrong hand?”

And that, my friends, is the story of how I ended up murdering dozens of people through sheer force of hate.

Just kidding.

No, instead, I took another nap while they broke off the first cast (off of his perfectly undamaged, clean hand) and administered a second, onto the hand that was basically screaming, “I am clearly the hand that is broken. Seriously. I’m literally covered in blood and I look like somebody chewed me up and then rolled over me with a car. Stop looking at that other hand. It’s obviously fine. This couldn’t possibly be any more clear. Wait, what are you doing?? That hand looks PERFECTLY FINE!! Stop putting a cast on it! Stop it!! Wow, you’re really doing it. I can’t believe you just did that. You are a stupid bastard.”

The end.


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