my blubber holds the key

Several decades ago, when I was in the sixth grade, I was stabbed in the stomach with a pencil. I think I did it to myself. The pencil, as I recall, was in the front pocket of my husky Toughskins when I leaned over to pick something up off the playground. I remember exactly where I was. I was near the blacktop, standing next to Mr. Giantonio. (I’d stand by Mr. G, who would invariably complain about his rich brother and how he got to buy a new Cadillac each year, to avoid getting beaten up.) I don’t know what I was trying to pick up. Given the time period, it could have been a Whacky Packs card, or a Ding Dong wrapper. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the pencil cut through my jacket and my shirt, and into my blubber, at which point the tip snapped off with an audible “krik.” Not wanting to make a scene, I just let it bleed and do its thing. Eventually the hole closed up around the tip of the pencil. I can still see a bluish-grey spot under the skin where it’s remained lodged until today… Anyway, I couldn’t read this news story today about a 130 year old bowhead whale found with a weapon fragment from the late 1800’s embedded in its blubber without feeling a certain sense of cosmic kinship… I know it sounds unlikely today that I would be killed for my blubber, but we have no idea what the future holds. Once the oil fields dry up, anything’s possible. (I’ve had dreams before of fat people being hunted like whales.) Anyway, as I read the story, the possibility became very clear to me that someone might one day calculate my age by studying this bit of graphite found when harvesting my blubber, and I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the idea kind of made me happy.

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  1. be OH be
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    “We’ve analized the fragment and it appears to be late twentieth century Ticonderoga #2. A rather primitive weapon for hunting fat-rich young boys.”

  2. Cleo Love Paste
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Upon my grandfather’s death, an Ohio license plate from 1967 Buick was found in his stomach, along with about 2 pounds of nails and a few assorted pieces of mid-century cutlery.

  3. Robert
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I find it appalling that Japan still hasn’t joined the rest of the civilized world in outlawing that out-dated, barbaric practice of mai-nard-enpitsu-senshi. As long as husky Toughskins can bring in thousands of yen per ounce on the Tokyo black market, Mark will live in constant danger.

  4. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I will be your Ahab.

  5. Posted June 14, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    You were a stoic little boy.

  6. Jennyfurann
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I too have been stabbed with a pencil. Mine was not self inflicted. In 5th grade we all sat at lab tables in science class. The boy assigned to sit next to me was throwing a miniature slinky up in the air and catching it on his pencil. During one of these attempts he inadvertently stabbed me in the face, about an inch under my left eye. I still have a brown-gray mark there 15 years later.

  7. mark
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    If, by “stoic” you mean “fat,” then, yes, I was.

    And, Ole EC, if you don’t mind, could you be my Captain McAllister instead?

    And I bet we could make a pretty cool little club/support group, Jennyfurann. There have to be lots of us out there.

    And I wouldn’t say “fat and rich kid,” be OH be, unless you mean “rich” in a fatty, delicious kind of way.

  8. be OH be
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I meant “rich in fat”. But I don’t doubt your childhood delectability.

  9. mark
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    My Toughskins said “succulent” across the ass.

  10. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    As long as I get to spear you and warm myself around the smoldering fire of your celebrity.

  11. MCNB
    Posted June 16, 2007 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    In 7th grade I sharpened my pencil and then stood behind a friend’s chair balancing the pencil (as a bridge) between my leg and the back of the chair. He then backed up not realizing what I was doing. I, too, have a permanent grey mark. Is this the beginning of a movement?

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