Journalism is not (usually) a bloody sport

"The Mia Perspective" with Mia Karr

Journalism+is+not+%28usually%29+a+bloody+sport

Photo illustration by Luke Gibson and Fernando Gamboa

"The Mia Perspective" with Mia Karr

By Mia Karr, Harrisonburg HS, Harrisonburg, Va.

“Do you need anything?” the woman says to the young man with the bandage on his forehead.

“I think I might need stitches,” he says.

You and me both, buddy. I stop eavesdropping on the conversation and then I hear the lady say “…has to have happened within the last six hours…” So maybe not stitches after all, because it’s been a lot more than six hours. Around 24 to be exact.

My story begins in a fourth-floor Marriott hotel room. The hotel room contains beauty products of all shapes and sizes, three pillow pets, and enough clothing items to last a girl through a prolonged hostage situation. The hotel room does not contain scissors, which I need to cut the conspicuous plastic tag off the shorts I am wearing.

The hotel room does contain a shaving razor, which I made my friend get for me at the front desk because I don’t like asking men I don’t know for razors. Regardless of how the razor was acquired, I soon become fully aware of why razors are not marketed as an alternative to scissors.

My thumb is gushing blood. A-bandaid-is-not-going-to-solve-this blood. Oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-bleed-out blood. It takes a minute before anyone notices that I am jumping up and down and shrieking that I AM BLEEDING. Somewhere in this window of time I have had the presence of mind to press a clump of tissues against the wound.

My friend (the razor-getting friend) assumes the narrative role of Person With Good Judgment and takes me downstairs to the front desk. I assume the role of Semi-Hysterical Girl Not Wearing Shoes. A random woman in the lobby who tells me I should be wearing shoes assumes the role of Ultimate Villain.

My friend explains the situation at the front desk, and the clerk puts some gauze on my thumb and tapes it- not with medical tape, oh no, but with regular tape. (All the while giving me a they-don’t-pay-me-for-this glare.) By the time she is done applying this mockery to my dying appendage, I’ve bled through the gauze. So she puts on more gauze.

Still convinced that I’m going to go the way of Eponine in Les Miserables, I seek out my newspaper adviser, and soon I am explaining exactly how I managed to cut my thumb with a razor to two higher-ups of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s annual convention. More gauze and some Neosporin (I conveniently forget that I am mildly allergic to Neosporin) is applied to my thumb, now, I’m sure, on its last days of existence before the inevitable amputation. This is all we have to work with, because they didn’t bring a first aid kit this year after bringing one every previous year and never needing it. Apparently I am the only one ever to get injured at a journalism conference.

Now I’m released back into the hotel, still not wearing shoes, but at least with an attractive gauzy arrangement on my thumb. I return to my hotel room, walking past groups of homogeneously pretty girls heading to the convention dance who shoot me looks of faux-concern and ask about my finger in sugary-sweet Southern Belle voices. Shut up.

The following day I re-wrap my finger and return home to Virginia, fielding anxious texts from my mother. Which are very hard to respond to with one thumb.

So now I’m sitting in the waiting room of the local EmergiCare, hoping that I get the young, hot doctor rather than the old guy who will spend 20 minutes telling me a story about his mother. Guess which one walks through the door?

I’m told I don’t need stitches. It’s been far too long and they would only be able to do them if I “had kept the skin.” Can’t believe I didn’t think of that one! So, although I’m glad to avoid the pain, I feel like a few stitches could have gone a long way in convincing the rest of the journalism staff that I actually had a legitimate cause for concern.

No matter. I walk out of the charming EmergiCare building, at 8:30 on a Sunday night, with an even more attractive (if that’s even possible) gauzy arrangement on my thumb. I feel pretty stupid, but I guess we all do stupid things, and it can take a grand failure to distinguish between cutting implements to remind you you’re not invincible. At least now there’s actual medical tape involved.

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