Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

I Swear, It Reached Right Out and Grabbed Me
by James Glaser
September 7, 2007

Everything was going so well this past weekend as I worked on my new gallery space. By Monday I had the place all primed, the ceiling was painted as were the walls, and I even had a start on the trim. The ceiling was white, the walls are a light yellow, and the trim is called "old hunter green."

I should have quit while I was ahead, but I was feeling good and decided to cut down the bushes that hid the building from view. It was hot, but the sun was going down, and I have a good long-handled set of nippers, and it didn't take all that long to cut off the bushes at ground level, and all the vines that were growing among them. I was all done and started walking away, when one of those vines reached out and grabbed my ankle which slammed me down face first, onto the asphalt surface of the parking lot.

I didn't black out, but right away I knew it was not good. As I raised my head and started thinking about the rest of my body, I noticed a lot of blood dripping from my face. Well, I got up, grabbed the clippers and headed inside where I took off my tee shirt and looked in the mirror. The left side of my forehead and my left cheek looked like somebody had hit me with the flat of a shovel. I grabbed a clean shirt, and held it to my head, found another shirt to put on. I then shut off the lights, and locked the door, got in the truck and headed for home.

I called Wanda and asked if she wanted to go out, and she said sure, "Where are we going?" To which I answered, "I'm going to the emergency room, you want to drive?"

I don't like emergency rooms. No matter how badly you are hurt, they always take about three hours. Either they fix you up or they admit you after three hours. I think it is a three hour rule. Well, I walked in all bloody while Wanda parked the truck, and I pointed to my face and told the nurse, "This is a gardening accident." She gave me a bunch of paper work to fill out, and because I looked so bad, she was concerned that I would scare the children in the waiting room. So she moved me to an office where I could sit out of sight until they called my name.

It doesn't matter if you are bleeding, or if you are in pain, and I was in a bit of pain, you have to wait your turn. Long story short, they shot my face with Novocain, cleaned it all up, put in some stitches, gave me some heavy duty pain pills, and sent me home. Sure enough, it was almost exactly three hours from the time I got there until I walked out the door.

The next two days were not fun, and washing the wounds is still hard, after which I slather on a bunch of Neosporin. Now, I have a gallery, workshop, a show coming up soon, and am opening a new store—a lot to do! I couldn't just stay inside and hide out until my face healed, even though that is what I would have liked to do. So when I ventured out to run my errands, I just told everyone that my face looked like this because I was into contact gardening, or I would say "I could have been somebody, I could have been a contender."

I didn't really want to work that hard, so I did a lot of the paperwork I had been putting off. I went to the city hall annex and asked where I would go to get a business license, and they sent me to city hall down town. I drove down there and had to park in a underground garage a block away and walk over City Hall, where they told me I had to go back to the annex, because they moved that department over there two years ago.

Its hot, my head hurts, and now I'm pissed, but when I finally found the right place, the people there were so nice I couldn't stay mad, and I got my license. Then I was off to an attorney to see about forming a corporation, mostly because I always wanted to be a CEO. The attorney took one look at my face and thought LAW SUIT and got me right in. He was a bit disappointed, but said he would help me out.

Things were going good. I had one more stop, and I drove out to the County Office Building on the other side of town. About 15 people went in right before me, but all my years of going to the VA Hospital paid off, as I noticed right away that there was a number machine. So, I went right up and took a number. I was number 179, and the counter sign showed that they were helping number 174 right then. I was feeling smug as I watched those 15 people who came in ahead of me start to crowd around the number machine.

He who is first may be last. In just a couple of minutes they called my number, and I walked up to the window and handed the woman the paper work I had filled out to get a county business license. She took a look at it and said to me, "What is an Art Gallery?" I thought she was joking, but she wasn't. She had a sheet listing every conceivable type of business there was, but for some reason Leon County didn't have Art Gallery listed. So, this woman did not know what code to put into the computer in order to figure how much money to charge me to get a county business license.

There was a guy with a lot of tattoos at the window next to me, and he was having a hard time, too. He was hot, and he had a super bad attitude. They called the supervisor over, and the two of them were verbally going at it. I looked at the woman in front of me and asked what she was going to do about my application. She explained to me that she had to ask her supervisor—that would be the one in the argument with the guy in the next window.

Right away I could tell that the tattoo guy was in the right, but he had this winey voice and was trying to tell the supervisor that he didn't know what he was talking about. The woman helping me said if I could explain to her what an art gallery was, she might be able to figure out what to do on her own.

I did my best to define an art gallery in terms she would understand. I told her that it was just like any other store, only in a gallery you sold art work, like paintings, or sculptures, or pottery. She thought that sounded really cool, but she still had no idea of what to do.

Finally the supervisor and the tattooed guy worked everything out, and it did turn out that the tattoo guy was right. So he was all smiles and paid his money and left.. The supervisor then left and my lady got up and followed him to the back to ask her question. It took a while. In fact, I sat back down in the waiting chairs and saw that they were on number 229 now. So that meant that all of those people who were after me were now already gone. The woman came back and had the code. She also had a different book to look in. Twenty five dollars and I had my license, and out the door I went. Paperwork is way harder that woodwork. As soon as I get my head back together I'll finish up the gallery and open for business. I wonder if I'll make what the average CEO makes?

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