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The Mad Dash To Cles

January 31, 2020

I was looking in the mirror the other day and noticed there was nothing to notice. It’s not that the guy looking back wasn’t good looking, it was just there was no noticeable scar on the chin. Let me explain.

Some 13 years ago, I had decided to install a safe under the soffito of our house in the Val di Non, Italy. I had built a respitillio (storage area) above the entry the year before and decided it would be the perfect place for a safe. I purchased a medium sized but extremely heavy safe locally and finally the day for the installation arrived.

I’m pretty good at handyman projects so I decided to install the safe myself. I had a very sturdy latter and so after making some measurements, I started up the latter with the safe in my hands. Well of course, the inevitable happened. The weight of the safe (75 pounds or so) shifted ever so slightly as I approached the top of the latter. I knew I was going to fall so I held the safe closely to my chest so I would absorb the crash and not damage our wonderful tile flooring. (Yeah dumb, right?)

Boom! I came crashing down from about nine feet up and landed with the safe on my chest as planned. What was not planned was a huge gaping cut under my chin as a result of the heavy safe bouncing off my arms. I finally got up from the floor a little dazed and inspected the floor area for damage. There was none. But then I noticed a mighty trail of heavy blood where I had walked. What the hell? I went into the bathroom for a look and sure enough, my chin was cut severely and to the bone. “I’ll just put a Band-Aid on it,”  I thought. Wrong! The wound was opening swiftly and the skin was pulling back about an inch on each side. Yep, I could definitely see the bone.

Finally, I reluctantly decided to go to the local hospital in Cles, some 12 miles away. That small distance entails just short of an hour’s drive in these steep, curvy mountain roads. To complicate matters, my wife didn’t (still doesn’t) drive a stick shift. I had two problems combined into one: How to drive the car and not bleed to death. I fashioned a huge compress out of an old towel and off we went on the mad dash to Cles.

Shifting gears with a manual transmission is no delight when your left hand is occupied with a compress. I had to take my right hand off the steering wheel with every shift. That’s about a hundred times on the twisting road from our home to Cles. I made it in record time: 48 minutes. I finally found a parking spot after another 15 minutes and walked into the emergency room as blood stained as a butchered pig. A nurse finally approached and said I would have to take a seat and wait for about 45 minutes.

I decided to play the blood card. I moved the bloody compress from my face and an open artery spurted blood onto the poor nurse who was two feet away. A horrified look was followed by, “Prossimo!” (Next!) I was then escorted directly into an operating theater. Two doctors put me on a table and surveyed the damage.

“Si’, è proprio profundo.” Yep, I knew it was deep. I asked what they had in mind. One smiled back and said calmly, “Facciamo un punto.” (That would be one stitch). After that was accomplished, both doctors increasingly panicked as they discovered that more and more stitches were needed. When they got to five or six, I blurted out. “Basta – Non mi fate come Frankenstein, prego.” They got the joke but kept on stitching away. Finally, they were both satisfied and released me to my waiting car and the relative safety of my home. The bill? Zero. Remember we are in a Socialist country with “free” healthcare. Well, it’s not free of course; the 23% VAT pays for something after all.

The Scarless Trubador

The bottom of my chin looked like the lacing on a football and I had many worries that the scar would stay with me forever. Well today I looked into that mirror and I cannot see where the cut was no less any scar. I wish I could say the same for the endarterectomy scar that now occupies my entire right neck after a surgery three years ago. That one’s probably a keeper! For laughs, see

The mad dash to Cles – It’s something you probably don’t want to do if you’re wounded.

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Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at


  1. Wow! Stay tuned–I’m having a Reverse Shoulder Replacement next week. . . . Our last stick shift was a VW Jetta. Loved that car.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lordy, I wouldn’t have wanted to be your passenger on that trip! (But I can drive a standard.) I hope you got some help installing the safe after that.😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stay off those ladders!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You did such a great job telling this story, Allen! As I read your post, I could picture the events unfolding in my mind. By the way, I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Here’s the link to my award post:

    Liked by 1 person

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