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Unlucky Hardway

June 2, 2015

There is a term in the pro wrestling business called a lucky hardway, a phrase for when a wrestler accidentally gets busted open during a match. And in an era where blading or gigging by wrestlers, intentionally cutting themselves open on their forehead to elicit emotion from the crowd, is being frowned upon more than ever, it's typically the only time you see blood in a match anymore.

In the proper setting it can really add to the drama, albeit at the cost of a certain level of health risk. When Roderick Strong suffered an accidental cut last month in his outstanding match in Philadelphia against Hiroshi Tanahashi, the blood pouring down his face provided an extra edge to what was already an excellent pairing of two world-class level performers. When Brock Lesnar was busted open after hitting the post head-first at WrestleMania 31, it made the usually unbeatable-looking fighter look vulnerable.

There are times though where bleeding from your head is not such a good thing. Actually, that's true most of the time. Last week, I noted on Twitter that the image of Warriors SG Klay Thompson bleeding after being injured in the NBA Western Conference Finals reminded me of a Bob Odenkirk character on the all-time great sketch comedy show Mr. Show.

Perhaps that wasn't in the best taste, and I wasn't trying to mock the very real injury suffered by Thompson -- it just struck me as a remarkably similar visual. And that Mr. Show clip is part of the best sequence in that show's history: Subway Break-up/The Five Voices into The Donut Shop into Megaphone Crooners. Both brilliant and hilarious.

But, as I was reminded soon enough, the joke stops being funny when it starts being you. Life has a way of turning the tables on you sometimes.

On Saturday night, I had plans to grab drinks with a girl who I hadn't met in person before at the Chili's in Brentwood. We had matched on Tinder and chatted on there and decided to meet up, and Brentwood proved to be a nice midway point.

As I normally do before this sort of thing, I made sure to get shorn as well as possible. That included shaving my head, something I've been doing for 14+ years now. You think it would be old hat for me at this point, but in the battle of a razor blade and a scalp, sometimes things don't go as you expect. And, because electric razors tend to irritate my skin, I use a Mach 3 Turbo triple blade.

Normally it works fine. But midway through this one, I nicked myself on the back of my head. I knew it immediately, and it was a two-fold feeling: mild annoyance at the pain but major agitation knowing I would soon be bleeding from it. That wasn't the first time this had happened to me. Having a cut on your head before you go out for the night is no good, which is why caution is best used when shaving. But even experienced shavers have things go awry from time to time.

Usually it only takes a few minutes to get a cut to stop bleeding in a situation like that one, but amazingly after my shower I found that it was still going. Finally, after leaving it be for several minutes, I got the flood of blood to stop -- and I figured I would just have to deal with what might be an unpleasant-looking cut.

So you can imagine my dismay when the very first thing the girl I met at Chili's did was point out that I was bleeding. That's right, the cut somehow had reopened. What a terrible initial impression that had to be. Mortified, I went to the men's room and desperately tried to get it to stop, to no avail. Finally I ended up using some tissue paper as a makeshift bandage, but I felt ridiculous.

To her credit, the girl handled it as well as you could hope considering that I was there looking like Massive Head Wound Harry, and it was an otherwise fun first meeting. But, wow, what horrible timing.

This is an iconic image of Steve Austin bleeding profusely at WrestleMania 13.

Of course, I texted some friends later telling them about it. My buddy Scott mentioned Dusty Rhodes, one of the old-school types with a forehead that looks like a road map from all the blade scars from his many years in the wresting biz.

But my brother Matt won the night by suggesting that I looked like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the image to the right of this paragraph. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, though at least in that scenario I would have been able to actually see that I was bleeding.

Multiple people suggested that I should have told the girl I cut myself diving in front of a car to save a dog from being hit. That certainly would have trumped a shaving story. Oh well.

This upcoming weekend is my 20-year high school class reunion. I'm really looking forward to it, getting to see some old friends and people I haven't seen in years, some not since the 10-year reunion and others going all the way back to graduation in May 1995. In some ways it doesn't feel like 20 years, and in others it feels like multiple lifetimes ago.

But, whatever the case, it should be a good time. Hopefully I'll manage to properly groom myself without slicing my scalp this time around. One can hope...

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