This week I said goodbye to a piece of me I wasn't quite ready to farewell.
That piece was my lower left ear lobe, home to the earring that had been in place there since I was 14.
I still don't know how I managed it, but it seems my ear got caught on the shower door as I was bending down to clean up in the bathroom. The motion of standing up and turning my head caused the earring to rip clean from my ear.
The first thing I noticed was the earring hitting the ground, intact. It was black and in that plug/spacer style that was big with early 2000s rock bands and all-round cool dudes.
Even though I am now a few years into my 30s and a Dad to a school age child, I felt I was still getting away with the earring. Being a bald man there isn't much room to accessorise or play with my look above the shoulders.
If I was honest, that earring was the last vestige of my punk rock youth. There is no longer hair to peroxide and my eyebrows had been pierced long ago.
Short of full blown scalp tatts, that earring was it.
As the blood started to flow, my attention turned to minimising the psychological damage my kids could incur from witnessing their Father with his ear ripped like a piece of paper. But this was no paper cut and a band aid wasn't going to cut it.
I frantically spent the next ten minutes making phone calls and arrangements to get my ear stitched, the kids off to school and daycare, and work notified. Luckily I got an appointment to get sewn up at the local clinic which meant I would avoid the four hour party at the Ice Addict Social Club, otherwise known as the public hospital emergency ward.
Before I could bundle the children and my separated auricle into the car, my nearly-two year old decided to drop a number two. Changing a nappy whilst trying to stem the bleeding from your a severed head-hearer is one of the moves they don't mention in the baby manuals.
Once I got to the clinic, the doctor seemed more concerned with my current tetanus status. I concluded that shower door handles must be now more of a tetanus risk than horse manure, rusty nails or bites from penguins. They asked how long it had been since my last tetanus shot, as if you remember them like an anniversary.
“Ah yes Doctor, I remember her well. She took place in the Spring of 2005, in a bulk billed clinic in Moonee Ponds. I was a much more hirstute man than the one before you today and, if I recall, for lunch that day I ate tortellini.”
That dealt with, the Doc started to sew me up as she told me how she had practiced her skills in medical school on banana skins and pork belly. The pork belly, she said, was the closet texture to human skin, which just gave me another reason to not eat pork.
She also happened to be Muslim, and I wanted to know where she stood from a religious perspective on the use of pork for medical procedural practice.
She then told me that in the early days out of med school she had honed her cross stitch working in obstetrics and attending to the sewing needs of women who had just given birth. It turns out my ear was far less complex than a postpartum vagina.
With my ear now intact, I was released back into society. Now instead of an earring hinting at my anti-establishment DIY roots, I will have a small scar. Perhaps instead of an old punk rocker people will take me for a MMA fighter or an avid fisherman that had a nasty casting accident. More likely is that no one is perving on the lobes of a thirty-something dude.
Retelling the story later, I realised I had enjoyed the wound and the blood. In a Palahniukian way, it gave me a momentary escape from the safe confines of an office desk job. It was like the flowing blood liberated me from giving my brain over to work. I am not saying that I’m starting a Fight Club (which I couldn't talk about it even if I was) but the physical disruption forced me to get some perspective.
I have accepted my earring days are over and I just need to embrace tattoos. The only question remaining is should I get the dolphin jumping through barbed-wire on my lower back or scalp?