Blood Eye

2 pm this past Monday afternoon I sat across from a prospective employer and identified myself as, “Jason Spafford”. There was a short pause as I looked to see if he was looking at my eye. I caught the hidden double take and the next instance I blurted out, “or you can call me blood eye.” Oooh. Too much. He smiled and half laughed and looked again at my eye because I had just granted a three-day pass to gawk. As he took his seat I could see the horror in his eyes. His mouth twitched trying to inwardly express sadness and disgust intermittently. I felt like the elephant man, only in vivid color – Red. I could now begin my long slow smootch goodbye to the possible job. Who’s going to hire a blood eye. There’s no room in the conference room for a splinter eye.

The job could have been my escape from the bliss of staying at home with the kids. It would have been terrible, but I had already mapped out where the “leftovers” would go. I’m sorry my friendly reader, I forgot to pass out the chart of terms before beginning. Leftovers is what I call the two kids that are not in school. I guess I could just refer to them as “left behind” but with the “no child left behind” it seems sad – so, “leftovers” it is then. Lila is in school and I located full-time day care for both of the leftovers. I would tell the employer that I could start as early as 3pm that day. I didn’t want to seem too anxious so I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain that I had my urine sample in my brief case – just in case they did drug testing. But there was to be no job. There was to be no glorious day care. I headed home and could only think about how wrong Saturday night had gone.

Some Saturdays at our house could be very productive. Most start out to be productive but hit a snag around nap time. Two of the three kids have naps and sometimes kids naps make adults sleepy. Some adults don’t nap – never napped. Before my wife and I had kids we were nappers. I have come to perfect the power nap. 20 minutes of sheer relaxation and up and at the proverbial “’em”. My wife loves the nap but fights to come out of the nap. It’s like she slips into a delightful afternoon coma then she has to fight like a Schenectady New York welter weight contender to get out of it. The sleep world loves her and wants her to stay and have crazy, wacky dreams while I dream about fishing with a buddy in a YMCA pool. I don’t catch anything, then I wake up. With our napping history we are suckers for falling asleep when the kids do. On this particular Saturday we didn’t. We did yard work. We managed the kids and tricked them into watching each other and got unprecedented amounts of things done.

My goal was to pick up some branches that had been cut up 2 years ago. They were thoroughly dry by now. The hang up is that these branches need to be bundled into no more than 4 inch wide bundles that are no more than 2 feet in length for the city to take them away. When I grew up in the country, we would drag something like that into the woods several feet away and be done with it. As I placed the sticks in little bundles getting them ready for the string, I would of course have to go out and purchase, I started to think of the other country option – Fire. Then, like a chain reaction of a nuclear reactor my brain began to have explosions. First, the wood is dry. Next, I spotted our neighbor’s small metal fire pit. Please refer to the chart I have not given you. The small fire pit that you can buy at local Home Depot is what I like to call a fire pit for the city – or a “Fire Pity”. It’s 4 steps up from a Folgers coffee can, but looks nice these days in a back yard. Finally, I realized that it was going to be chilly out in the evening. We should have a fire. I asked permission of our neighbor to borrow the pit and we were off and running.

Lila was at a sleepover, so it was really only Hoyt (our four-year-old) who was the only stable walking kid. Iris would not be able to play with fire for a few more years. Hoyt was very excited about starting a fire. He loves to do “work”. That was perfect because this was not going to be any relaxing slow burning staring at the fire, kind of fire. This fire was mostly a work fire. I wanted to burn all the sticks so I wouldn’t have to bundle any pesky sticks. I’m living in a city not a quaint German village in 1956, where bundling sticks on the weekend is a way to bring the community together and take their collective minds off some bad things a few years back. I’ve started no wars, so I’m not bundling sticks.

Hoyt got his work gloves on like a surgeon ready to remove a lump from a President – not really necessary, but seemed like a big occasion. We started hauling the unwanted sticks to the fire pity. The sticks were so dry that several of them combusted upon seeing the fire. We kept up the stick parade until it was dark. Every stick seemed to burn brighter than the last stick. This could have had something to do with the sun going out of the sky. Hoyt was very safe, but starting to get a bit fire wild, grabbing sticks sticking out of the fire and trying to get them tossed to the safety of the flames. When Hoyt ran by me to the other side of the fire I suggested that he should walk or I may have to let him go as a fire worker. I said that if he wasn’t careful he could jab a stick in his eye. He immediately slowed down.

Ten seconds after the official employee warning I was breaking a small branch in half. When it broke there was a flash of what I immediately knew was a small piece of the stick right into my eye. I knew my reflexes weren’t that good. In a moment I realized that the stick had hit the corner of my eye. It hurt. But in a moment the pain was gone, so Hoyt and I continued burning sticks. We had the fire well-trained and burning hot enough to do a few fresh-cut branches and pine boughs that were well into the wet category. After another 45 minutes, we had burned everything we set out to burn. Our relaxing burn was complete and it was time now for Hoyt to wash the soot from his hillbilly ankles and go to sleep. When I was washing my face I realized that my stick poked eye was all red. I had broken a blood vessel and my entire eye was blood red. I assumed it was going to be ok having known people with broken blood vessels in the past. But, just to be safe, I did what anyone would do with a possible medical emergency. I googled it. Sure enough the internet said I would be ok. However, when Hoyt saw my blood red eye he said that he thought he had to fire me from the fire work.

So 48 hours after having lost my fire work because of the blood eye, it looks like I may not get another job because of my blood eye. This blood eye appears to be a curse. Fortunately for me the internet says that it will only stay a blood eye for up to 14 days. The next two Saturdays will not be as productive as I nap and regain my strength to face the world with two good eyes. However, the next two Friday nights I will be working at a state fair as a carny on the midway by the name of Blood Eye. Lemme guess yo weight, skinny.

Sadly Yours,

Jason Spafford



  1. Cynthia says:

    Any relation to Blood-belly?

  2. Derik Newman says:

    Oh, man. Sorry that your Blood Eye probably cursed you from getting that job, Jason. But here’s two things to think about:
    1) Would you REALLY want to work for a company that wouldn’t hire a “blood eye”?
    2) Think about those naps. Those awesome, amazing naps. A man cain’t nap when he’s workin’, if he wants to remain workin’. (This is coming from a man who wishes he could nap a lot more often…)

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