This particular experience occurred during the 2005 season of marching band this last year, so it is fairly fresh in my mind. Here's the setting: The 25 woodwind players are in a giant arc at a baseball diamond. The director is working with the flutes and the rest of us are quietly keeping ourselves occupied. [Action!]
Well, it's been 10 minutes since we've played and we're starting to get bored. The clarinet players and I have already done the wave with our shoulders and clarinets, so now we're just kidna standing there trying not to fall asleep. I discover that my reed is broken, opening up another opportunity to keep myself entertained. I take it off my mouthpiece and start to chew on it. At first I'm just trying to break the thin tip, but once that was accomplished I decided to tackle the thick cane part at the end. Bad. I was chewing as hard as I could to try to break it and during one fairly intense chew (with my section eyeing me intently to see what I was doing) the reed snapped in half. That's the good news, the bad news is that when it snapped in half it shot out the side of my mouth. . . with my mouth closed. That means that in order for the reed to leave my mouth it had to pass through my face.
Open your mouth, right now, do it. Now with your finger, feel that web on the corner of your mouth that connects your upper lip and lower lip? Imagine a sharp reed travelling VERY quickly, slicing right through that. Webbing gone. I felt the warm blood in my mouth so I spit on the ground to see how bad it was. That was a lot of blood. Cue section laughter.
I quickly lef the arc and said "Dylan (drum major)! A little help please?" I went over to a hill near the arc and knelt down, spitting blood so as not to swallow it. Dylan came up and said "Yes?" (sees blood) "Oh My Gosh! What did you do?" I say "Can you go get me *spit* a paper towel please? *spit*" He runs off as fast as he can. We're talkin' back in 45 seconds after running a REALLY long ways fast. He was scared for me I guess, i was just perplexed. There was blood all over my shirt and all over the ground but I couldn't actually feel my face because of the endorphines. I knew I was cut but didn't know where. He brought me paper towels and then I put them on my face and walked to the bathroom. That was when I saw the lack of web. Bad.
I realized quickly that it was gonna just keep bleeding forever because it was soft tissue, and that I would have to hold a paper towel to my face until it clotted. I went back to the field where everybody was trying to figure out what had happened to me. I couldn't tell them without re-opening the wound, so I just had my section-ites tell the story and then everybody laughed at me. Long story shorter, I marched the rest of the practice with a paper towel shoved to my face and a bloody white shirt on, and I have pictures of it too, but they're not digital and I'd need to scan them in. I'll get to that eventually. Until then, just heed reeds and them breaking in your mouth. I couldn't talk for about a week until it healed, and now there's a scar there and it feels really weird. Lovely. The end!