Dec 27, 2009

Hemingway's Tom and Jerry Moments [LINK]

From a list, compiled by Paul Johnson for his book Intellectuals, of injuries sustained throughout the life of Ernest Hemingway:

As a child he fell with a stick in his mouth and gouged his tonsils; caught a fishhook in his back; sustained injuries at football and boxing. The year 1918 saw him blown up in the war and smash his fist through a glass showcase. Two years later, he cut his feet walking on broken glass and started internal bleeding by falling on a boat-cleat. He burned himself badly smashing up a water-heater (1922), tore a foot ligament (1925) and had the pupil of his good eye cut by his son (1927). In spring 1928 came the first of his major drinking accidents when, returning home, he mistook the skylight cord for the lavatory chain and pulled the whole heavy glass structure down on his head, sustaining concussion and needing nine stitches. He tore his groin muscle (1929), damaged an index finger with a punch bag, was hurt by a bolting horse and broke his arm in a car smash (1930), shot himself in the leg while drunk and trying to gaff a shark (1935), broke his big toe kicking a locked gate, smashed his foot through a mirror and damaged the pupil of his bad eye (1938) and got two more concussions in 1944, by driving his car into a water tank in the blackout and jumping off a motorcycle into a ditch. In 1945, he insisted on taking over from the driver to take Mary to Chicago airport, skidded and hit a bank of earth, breaking three ribs and a knee and denting his forehead (Mary went through the windscreen). In 1949 he was badly clawed playing with a lion. In 1950 he fell on his boat, gashing his head and leg, severing an artery and concussing himself for the fifth time. In 1953 he sprained his shoulder falling out of his car, and that winter there was a series of accidents in Africa: bad burns while drunkenly trying to put out a brush fire, and two plane accidents, which produced yet another concussion, a fractured skull, two cracked spinal discs, internal injuries, a ruptured liver, spleen and kidneys, burns, a dislocated shoulder and arm, and paralysed sphincter muscles. The accidents, which usually followed drinking, continued almost to his death: torn ligaments, sprained ankle climbing a fence (1958), another car crash (1959).

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