Code Teal


I was 18, finishing up a workout (current self to former self: what is this “working out” that you speak of?) when Lola called and asked if I could pick up some envelopes at Staples for her.  Sure, Ma.  No problem.

Lola had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and had just gone through major surgery and was in the middle of chemotherapy.  She spent many days in bed thumbing through issues of Reader’s Digest while she recuperated.  My dad was out of the country on business, and Ryan was just a young lad at the time.  So, envelope retrieval was up to me.

It was a late night workout, so I pulled into the Staples parking lot just as it was about to close.  Thankfully, I had my running shoes on (what is this “running” that you speak of?) so I made it to the front door just shy of 9:00pm.  The Staples employee was getting ready to lock up, but she reached for the door to open it and let me in.

Well, apparently she had forgotten that she had turned off the function that makes the automatic door automatic.  So she let go of the heavy steel door, thinking it would continue to open.  Instead, the weight of the door caused it to rapidly swing closed, slamming me in the head, knocking me into the doorjamb, and then closing on me.

I saw stars, flashes of light, and Freddie Prinze Jr’s face.  I was in so much pain, and totally embarrassed.  Staples employees wearing red polo shirts ran towards me, but I told them I was fine and that I’d just head home.  JK on those envelopes, honey.  I think I’d rather go home and ice my entire body, and by the way, when did Post-It notes get so expensive? 

I stumbled towards my car, and by the time I got home, I had no recollection of how I got there.

I relayed the story to Lola who was all, Where are my envelopes?  Why have you failed me as someone who carries my DNA?

In actuality, she took one look at me and told me I needed to see a doctor.  She grabbed my cell phone, dialed my friend Jackie’s number, and within 7 minutes, Jackie was in my driveway, ready to take me to my local ER.

Me, at 18, with Freddie. I'm wearing a corsage.

A triage nurse took my insurance card and asked me what happened.

“I was violently assaulted by an automatic door at Staples.”


“I sense a lack of urgency.  An automatic door traveled at great speed and shoved me up against a metal doorjamb like we were a Roo sandwich with steel bread but no mayonnaise even though it’s the greatest condiment of all time, after ketchup.  And maybe whipped cream.  Is whipped cream a condiment?  Because it’s dessert-y, but lives next to the mustard in my refrigerator door.  Lookit, Triage Nurse, call a Code Teal or say whatever magic word is necessary to get me on an operating table.”

After a visit with the doctor and a series of brain scans and possibly a colonoscopy, they sent me home with the instruction that a family member should check on me periodically throughout the night.  Since Lola was unable to care for me and Ryan was busy making Lola weak tea and playing video games, I slept at Jackie’s, in the guest room.  Total upgrade, as our high school sleepovers usually consisted of five of us sprawled out in the basement with a scary movie and many bottles of OPI nail polish.

Jackie set her alarm and shook me every half hour to make sure that I hadn’t died.  God bless Jackie.  That is a good friend.  If you’re reading this?  Hi, Jackie, hiiiiiii!  (Jackie is currently finishing up a super advanced degree in anthropology, so let’s just call her Dr. Jackie and ask her to paint our nails in OPI’s I Think in Pink.)

Lola called Staples and was all WHAT THE JUNK, STAPLES, my kid’s already bad at math and now you’re going to take away what few functioning brain cells she has left?

And they were all, Lola, we’re sorry, but what was she doing just hanging out in a doorway like that?

They then offered to pay my hospital bill, but Lola said, Nah, Staples, it’s cool.  She’s got good health insurance.  And that was it.  That was it?

Staples, this happened ages ago, but if you were going to send me complimentary head trauma Post-Its, I wouldn’t turn them away.

I wouldn’t.

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  • Reply Amie Jo May 2, 2012 at 1:39 am

    You’re so funny. :) congrats on the new baby too.

    • Reply Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:38 am

      Thanks, Amie Jo! And thanks, Amie Jo! ;)

  • Reply Chelle May 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

    What??? Post its? They need to send you envelopes. After all that is what you went in for. Lifetime supply, right? And then you could take the post its.

    • Reply Roo May 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      I love Post its. They come in all the colors, all the sizes. MORE MORE I WANT MORE.

  • Reply Amber May 2, 2012 at 8:23 am

    So…. I looked @ the picture before reading the article and said ” whoaaaaa! Roo’s husband looks just like Freddie Prince Jr!!”. Did I mention I’m blonde and sometimes have blonde moments?!?!

    • Reply Roo May 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Hahahaha! This is actually before I met Jack so it’s me and a date!

      But really, it’s Freddie.

    • Reply Jennifer May 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      I…may have done the same thing.

      Then, I might have thought that was actually F.P. Jr. in the thumbnail. Then, I saw it up close.

  • Reply Kristin May 2, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Is it possible that having another beautiful baby has made you even more hilarious?

    • Reply Roo May 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      What?! You think so? Kristin, I want to hug you. I swore I had writer’s block all weekend and I was ready to blame Minnie. Or sleep deprivation. :P

  • Reply Erma May 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    You make me want to find a way to give myself head trauma if it means I get to see Freddie Prinze Jr. So glad you’re ok and have no brain damage! Also, I once wrote a blog post on my MySpace page (hi, 2006!) saying I went on a date with Freddie Prinze Jr. (I used to think Adam looked like him and only went out with him because he reminded me of FPJ. I was so shallow.) but I didn’t photoshop an ultra-awesome photo of myself with him. High five. May you get complimentary Post-Its in the near future…

    • Reply Roo May 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Freddie Prinze Post-its.

  • Reply MichelleLG May 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    for reals roo, you crack me up every time .:o) you are the ketchup to my french fries :o)

    ps: word about the pricey-ness of post-its. if i ever invest in the stock market, i want stock in post its.

    • Reply Roo May 3, 2012 at 7:00 am


  • Reply Bill Davis May 3, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Great post, Roo!

    I mean, I’m sorry you got squashed (while trying to help your Lola, no less!) and that you had to go through all that. But it’s a blessing you came through okay, and that you could write about it with such fine humor now.

    I (sadly *glances at waistline*) agree with you on the exalted status of mayo and ketchup, and when you have the election, I will campaign for whipped cream as a condiment. You have my vote!

    Your self-talk about working out and running being distance memories cracked me up (as I sit in my cushy office chair and languidly type this. Whew! Okay, I’m exhausted now… maybe a donut will help.)

    I’ll never think of teal in the same way again…

    • Reply Roo May 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Hahaha, Bill! Maybe we should invest in a couple of treadmill desks? I think I’d be better off working on a computer that is powered by a bicycle. :)

  • Reply Joani May 10, 2012 at 1:59 am

    This is SO FUNNY, now that you’re okay, of course. You are such a great storyteller, and I just love your blog. What is with our initial urge to prove that we are just fine, no matter what has just happened to our poor bodies? You were feeling guilty about the envelopes, weren’t you? And embarrassed about the Staples people? I know my crazy self would have been.

    Cliff’s notes: my daughter and her boyfriend and I were on a roadtrip to see Bowling for Soup in concert in Omaha(because that’s how cool of a 49-yr-old mom I am) and we leave the concert and somehow I manage to fall backward on the pavement while executing the very tricky move of getting into the car. (No, alcohol or drugs had not been consumed, I’m just clumsy). Blood everywhere, glasses went flying, had to have help to stand up, but I’m insisting to my young companions that I’m peachy keen, and will stop bleeding in no time. I’m halfway worried about freaking my daughter out and halfway worried about bleeding on the backseat of the car, which is new. Luckily my first aid training kicked in and I used a crapload of napkins to put direct pressure on the back of my head, and everything was fine. But, holy shit, batman! Would it take an actual amputation for me to admit something was wrong? lol, now that it’s fine. Sorry–I guess that wasn’t very abridged and Cliff’s notes-ish,

  • Reply Joani May 10, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Oh yeah–I forgot to complement you on that thing you did, talking to your younger self. Freaking hilarious. I have it on good authority that my younger self did something called the Jane Fonda video workout three times a week. WTF?

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