Was watching Stalag 17 again tonight. I love that movie. William Holden is great in it. But wasn’t he always. A great actor and a real movie star. Not sure if he was too nuts about being a movie star. He seemed kind of conflicted. He certainly drank enough. I don’t think he was a happy drunk. He was a moody and temperamental drunk. Not a lot of fun to be around. Certainly no one was around when he fell and hit the edge of the table. It was teakwood and immoveable. He hit the sharp corner edge of that table and his scalp split wide open and gushed blood. It bled and bled. He was awake for a good thirty minutes there on the floor, thoroughly drunk, his lifeblood draining out of him. He would have slipped into unconsciousness eventually and finally his blood pressure would have dropped to a point where it could drop no more and he died. There on the television he was so tough and cynical and independent, a perfect postwar anti-hero, but I saw him on the floor bleeding like a stuck pig.
All this ran through my mind as I was laying on the floor tonight bleeding like a stuck pig. I had awoken there, or woken when I bashed my head against the corner edge of our own immoveable coffee table. I had fallen asleep and rolled off the couch and my head had crashed against the coffee table. I wound up face down on the floor. Bang. I put my hand to my forehead and felt wetness. A lot of wetness. I looked into my hand and the blood was pooling there, a deep gorgeous red. It began sloshing onto the floor. I yelled for my wife to bring a towel and tried to inch away from the sofa. Bloodstains are a drag. Meanwhile, I’m seeing Bill Holden and thinking man, what a ridiculous way to go. Him, a big movie star and me doing just what he did.
It was really bleeding. Soaked a towel, soaked through several paper towels. Soaked a facecloth. I asked my wife how it looked. It looks nasty she said. Do I need stitches? I’d rather not go the ER. That would be a couple hundred bucks. She said maybe if we use compression you won’t need stitches. We tried compression. It kept bleeding. I said OK, just call the neighbor and see if he can take me to Kaiser. But he wasn’t home. My brother wasn’t home either. After all, it’s Friday night. I said OK, let’s not worry about it. She brought me ice. After an hour the compression and the ice stanched the bleeding, How’s it look I asked. It looks like a cut. How much of a cut? About an inch and a third long. Up in the hairline? No, right in the middle of your forehead. Cool, I said, I have a hockey wound. Like I caught a high stick in the face. Blood on the ice. I’d be back in the locker room getting stitched up. That’s the kind of wound this will be. Though I didn’t get the stitches. I’ll probably regret that in years to come, though. Maybe I’ll think it’s cool. Some alpha male thing anyway. I’ll retell this story, each time with more blood. Men will say dude..that’s fucked up. Women will study the scar and coo maternally.
OK, it’s been two hours and my wife dabbed it with alcohol and I winced and she stuck a big bandage over it. I can only imagine the beautiful bruise I have coming. There’s gonna be some funny times coming up. Especially job interviews. Did you ever have one of those lives I asked a few days ago. This is definitely one of those lives. But I need to finish this up and go get a few Tylenol, I have a headache that you wouldn’t believe. Something William Holden didn’t have to worry about.
William Holden’s bruised face, Stalag 17.