Thursday, July 12, 2007

Learning to Fly - the Prequel

As I was casting about for another embarrassing story about myself, which apparently has become the raison d'etre of this little chucklefest, it occurred to me in a flash that there was a rich vein of comedy gold out there that has yet to be tapped.

For, my friends, I have flown through the air before.

March 5th, 1991. I'm standing outside my good friend The Corporal's house with his cousins Brian and Glenn, some ten and twelve years our junior, and a bunch of our friends. We were just about ready to head over to our regular hangout (Cpl's brother Steve's pad in Revere), there to wait for the midnight showing of The Doors movie.

Brian and Glenn were clowning around, throwing rocks at streetlights, generally doing kid stuff, nothing major. For the life of me I don't know how it happened but I chanced to get into a footrace with Brian, the older of the two.

It was then that I learned the first important lesson of the evening: overweight 23-year-olds tend not to run as fast as fit thirteen-year-olds. I was, to the surprise of precisely nobody, losing the race, and losing it ugly. So much so, in fact, that I started silently thanking the city planners that this street was straight and not oval, lest he lap me and start running backwards, taunting me as he fades into the distance for a second time.

So it was with these thoughts of impending humiliation with which my brain was preoccupied, when it was broken out of its reverie with a priority telegram from my left foot:


(for you youngsters who might not know what a telegram is: look it up)

Never let it be said that my left foot lied: After a majestic yet all too short sail through the air, down I went like ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. I put my hands in front of me to break my fall - and brother, break they did.

My father took me to the ER when he got home from work the next morning (he was working nights then), and they put casts on both my hands. My right hand had a little mobility - it was a smaller cast with just a band across my palm. But my left hand - I'm a lefty - was casted such that the only flesh one could see was the very tips of my fingers and thumb.

For six gorgeous weeks I had casts on both hands.

I know what you're thinking right now, or something close. You are all thinking, "well how could he _(specific function here) ?" Let's get it all out on the table: I couldn't. Whatever you're thinking, I couldn't do it, and let's just leave it at that.

The list of miseries was long and fraught with sorrow. Driving, for instance: I drove a stick and until I learned to manipulate the shifter with the palm part of my cast I was a menace on the roads. Working was nearly impossible: I worked tech support and had to log every call's details on a computer. Ever tried to type without being able to bend your wrists? I had to position my hands above the keyboard like some lunatic puppeteer and divebomb each key with an unmoving hand, hoping I hit the right key, which I did maybe 30% of the time.

I had to put a plastic bag over my casts to shower. It's hard enough putting a bag over your arm when you're in a cast - now try putting one over your other arm with an arm that's in a cast in a goddamn bag already! And when that's done, try taking a shower. If you can get 60% clean, god bless you, bunky, 'cause you did better than me.

Eventually they were pleased enough with the progress of my right wrist that they took off one cast, so certain things could get back to normal: I didn't need my mother cutting my food, for one thing. And about six weeks after that, they took the left one off and life once again returned to normal. Or close to normal: My arms looked like those of a long-dead Pharaoh, all crusty and flaky - truly disgusting.

Also, to this day, anyone who shakes my hand feels, and hears, a click that is at best surprising and a touch disturbing, and at worst creepy and off-putting, depending on the weather. Which, by the way, the doctor who casted me promised I'd be able to forecast; no such luck. The wrists only hurt when the weather IS bad. All of the pain, none of the cool psychic weather guy act.

But I got through it, and I learned a valuable lesson in the whole ordeal: if you're going to break both your wrists, for the love of God, have a girlfriend.

1 comment:

  1. So many comments, so few appropriate for this forum. Suffice it to say that

    You, my friend,
    (insert *deaf voice* here)
    are a Genius!