Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No, Mam, I just walked into a doorknob....

Who would believe that sort of excuse? If a kid tells me that, I am suspecting abuse no matter what else s/he says. I have always felt that way. I don't know if it is something that I heard on TV or somewhere else, but I feel like that is a common excuse when people have been hit in the face. Maybe it is not that common an excuse, but I still think abuse when I hear it - and maybe even more now. You see, Gabe walked into a doorknob this morning. I don't think he even noticed that there was a door there. I was checking the weather on the computer on my bed and Gabe was sitting next to me. He slid off the bed and was walking out of the room looking at a toy in his hands and he walked straight into the doorknob. The door was open, so his aim is bad, not his judgement (he wasn't trying to walk through a closed door at least). It sounded like he hit the doorknob pretty hard and it knocked him to the floor. He cried for almost a minute while I tended to his injury, and now he seems okay. Now here is why I think that the doorknob excuse means abuse: First, Gabe is two years old and just tall enough to be surprised attacked by a doorknob. I am betting that our doorknobs were made in China, and so they may have some residual Chinese martial arts skills a la Jet Li that they used in this case to knock down an unsuspecting two year old. Older kids are much taller than Gabe, but doorknobs don't get taller; so it doesn't add up if any kid older than a two year old uses this excuse. Second, Gabe walked right into the doorknob without even slowing down a bit. It knocked him on his butt. However, he has no black eye, no bruise to show for his fight, nothing. I can only imagine this excuse being used in cases when some, or all, of those elements are present. I am guessing that Gabe's injuries are typical of those that a kid who walks into a doorknob would receive. Black eyes and bruised heads come from something more than a doorknob.

Now, you tell me, have you heard this excuse before? Wait, wait, I think that I remember where I heard this excuse. There was a woman in my church congregation who told Becky and me that that is what happened to her when we showed concern over a black eye that she had. Knowing her husband, we totally suspected abuse; and it didn't make her story more convincing when her children gave totally different accounts of what happened. One said that she tripped at night and hit a hand rail on the stairs (with her eye). I don't know for certain that she was being abused, and I am willing to be wrong about that, but we did not see her back at church for about six months after that and when we did see her again, it was only after she had divorced her husband and he had moved out. That was about three months ago, and she looks much happier - and she has lost the Hollywood drug addict sun glasses (my name for them) a la Mary-Kate Olson that she used to use to hide her black eyes.


  1. Walking into doors is one of the stereotypical see-through excuses for abuse. There's even a book called Walking Into Doors. It's about domestic abuse, of course.

    I'm guessing your assumptions about the woman are true.

    That said, I know that sometimes people really do walk into doors. I'm afraid I've done it myself a time or two and it definitely wasn't abuse! So I guess I won't call the authorities out on you for Gabe's bruises. Not yet, anyway!

    Ha ha ha....

  2. I just didn't leave the house for a week until it was gone. I called in sick to classes (I was in college) and did homework and wrote papers and just didn't leave. (a long time ago). I never thought of the big sunglasses thing... but then, back then, big sunglasses weren't in style.