, Derry, New Hampshire


February 7, 2013

Column: Real men often buckle at the sight of blood

Real men often buckle at the sight of blood

I love well-crafted action flicks. Sylvester Stallone was at the top of his game as John Rambo, the troubled Vietnam War vet in “First Blood.” Armed with only his wits and a scary-looking hunting knife, Rambo holds off a local police department and an entire battalion of national guardsmen.

I remember sitting in that dark theater, loving every second as Stallone survives a free-fall through a patch of pine trees by whipping out a needle and thread—concealed in the butt of his knife—and sewing up a ghastly wound on his bulging bicep.

Just writing about it makes me queasy. But watching it on the big screen brought on that fuzzy feeling, the one that says the lights are going out, and fast. Only a quick gulp of popcorn helped prevent me from becoming just another piece of refuse on the sticky theater floor.

Come to think of it, I felt the same way years before when I watched Al Pacino get shot in the face in “Serpico.” And then not long after that, I made the mistake of watching a nurse draw my blood during a routine physical exam. The next thing I knew, I was on a gurney, looking up at the smiling face of that same nurse, wiping my brow with a damp cloth, telling one of her colleagues, “It’s always the guys.”

I played high school football and a little rugby in college, so I’ve been slammed into the turf on a few occasions. I’ve dislocated both shoulders — talk about pain — but remained conscious both times as emergency room personnel popped the ball back into its socket.

But even the prospect of a little blood makes my knees wobble.

I had cataract surgery last week, and I had no problem imagining what was involved to clear up my smoky vision. I knew what the problem would be.

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