No Boating Accident

By Clint McElroy

I love the scene in “Jaws” when Quint, Sheriff Brody and Matt Hooper huddle around a table in the bowels of the good ship Orca and swap stories about all their different scars...

Hooper: (Points at scar on his arm) Moray eel. Bit right through my wetsuit.

Quint: (Pulls up his pant leg to reveal long, ugly scar) Thresher! Thresher’s tail.

Hooper: (Rolls up his jeans) Bull shark scraped me when I was getting samples.

...You know, I think I could actually go toe-to-toe with these guys given my years of bad luck and harrowing accidents. Just imagine it...

Brody: What about you, Mac? Any scars?

Mac: Aye Chief. (Pulls down sock on left leg. Reveals an ugly round scar about two inches in diameter.) Rusty metal picnic table leg. Horse-play with my brother and my cousins. It was the first day of a two week vacation in Florida, but not for me. Sucker got infected and little Mac had to miss Marineland, Six Gun Territory and Weeki Wachee.

Quint: Where the mermaids swim around wearin’ nothin’ but ...

Mac: I was 9, Quint. I wouldn’t have noticed even if it was true. And then there’s this one. (Lifts right leg of shorts to reveal a black dot on his upper thigh.)

Hooper: Speargun accident?

Mac: Worse. Dropped my pencil in Mr. Blagg’s Algebra class. With my cat-like reflexes I tried to catch it between my legs, but it had rotated and I ended up with it jammed into my thigh, sticking out like one of Robin Hood’s arrows. If Robin Hood had used Ticonderoga No. 2s.

Brody: That’s pretty awful.

Mac: Not as bad as the summer of 1991. Corner of a window screen. Razor sharp. Sliced through me like a hot knife through butter. The cut was eight inches long and half-an-inch deep.

Hooper: Where did it get you?

Mac: (Just pats the back of his pants where people keep their wallet.)

Quint: More like a hot knife through BUTT, I’d say.

Brody: Now, what was that you said about getting your throat cut?

Mac: Right at the end of 2017. Spinal fusion surgery. Fine fellow named Alberico opened me up right in the front of my throat. Of course, that was after another nice fellow named Vega put me to sleep (He smelled vaguely of cupcakes, now that I think about it.)

Hooper: What happened then?

Mac: They took off a bunch of bone spurs, whittled down a couple of discs and screwed a couple of plates right onto my spine. They done me up right. And now I feel terrific!

Brody: It’s not much of a scar.

Mac: I know, but all things considered ...

Quint: Thresher! You should tell them a Thresher’s tail done it!

    Hooper: Enough with the Thresher!!

Brody: Wait! Did you hear something?

Quint: Who’s playing a bass, way out here?

Hopper: And why are they just playing the same two notes, over and over?

Mac: Guys ... I think I’m gonna need a bigger column.


Clint McElroy was a major radio personality in the Tri-State for more than 30 years. He was named the “Funniest Man in Huntington” by the Huntington Quarterly in 2011. Most recently he co-authored “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins,” a graphic novel that reached #1 on the New York Times list of Print Paperback Best Sellers.

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