07 August 2007

Lead poisoning, anyone?

In the Strange strange news report, here's one for the books. Or, more accurately, the pencil boxes.

Today, the AP reports that a German surgeon has removed a pencil lodged these 55 years in a woman's brain.

I can imagine, based on the scant details provided in the story, little Margaret skipping along with a pencil in her hand, ignoring that common wisdom not to run with scissors or other sharp objects lest you poke an eye out, when oops, she tripped and the pencil invaded her gray matter.

Apparently the aphorism lies, for the pencil did not seem to affect her eye. Just produced a half century of nosebleeds and headaches. Small potatoes. So we should say instead "Don't run with pencils because they might disappear into your brains."

Worse things can happen, for sure, but this must be a parents' nightmare nonetheless. And a skipper's nightmare too, according to Margaret: ''It hurt like crazy.''

I can confirm. Once, when we were at orchestra festival, I was running and tripped on a sidewalk, scraping the knuckle of my big toe on the concrete. Ripped a big hole in my hose and left a scar that remains to this day. Just writing the story makes my toes curl.

Now if that isn't the same kind of thing as wearing a pencil in your brain for 55 years, then I don't know what is.