Monday, October 11, 2010


Well, it's official -- being healthy is hazardous to your health.

Let's start at the beginning. Despite my long-standing personal belief that the world revolves entirely and completely around yours truly, it turns out that my column strangely isn't considered to be one of the more newsworthy bits of your Sunday paper. Ergo, my weekly deadline to submit each column is considerably earlier than, say, reporters who get to throw around phrases like "shots fired" or "details have not yet been released." In fact, on an average week, I turn in my column some five days prior to publication.

Which brings us to last Monday. I was about halfway through one of my usual being-a-homeowner-is-wacky-fun columns when I realized my throat was dry and my fridge empty. Since the consumption of Rock Island tap water is actually considered a form of torture in many Western cultures, I decided my best bet would be to take a break and head over to the gas station.

My new house is located exactly one block away from a convenience store. I stepped outside and literally had this conversation with myself:

"Should I drive or walk over there?"
"Dunno. It's getting late."
"Ya, but it's only one block, you wuss. You need the exercise, tubby. Let's walk the thing."

Bad move.

I mean, FORTUITOUS mood. For had I not set out for the gas station on foot, I wouldn't have seen the nearby house full of innocent children and wide-eyed newborn kitties. You know, the house that was ON FIRE!

"Pleathe, mithter," screamed one innocent child and/or newborn kitty. "Pleathe help us!"

"Sure thing, kids and kitties," I replied. "Shane's here to save you all!"

For the next hour, I worked tirelessly rescuing child after kitty after child from a raging inferno, a blaze which I then put out by kicking the nozzle off a nearby fire hydrant. Sure, I may have broken a foot in the process, but that's a small price to pay for knowing that a family of children and kittens can bear witness to another sunrise thanks to me. Just don't call me a hero. My satisfaction is in a job... well... done...

You're not buying any of this, are you? Dang.

Okay, you wanna know the truth? The REAL truth? It's shocking, people. Gritty, hard news kinda stuff. You ready?


All I know is this: I was walking, and then I wasn't walking. And since I'm a perfectly coordinated muscular brute of a specimen, the ONLY rational explanation is that the sidewalk has a mind of its own and that the mind in question is clearly psychotic. It clearly tripped me on purpose.

That's when human instinct takes over -- the instinct that commands you to cover a stupid sidewalk trip by Suddenly Pretending Like You're Running And Totally Meant To Do That. So I stuck my other leg out to begin my fake-jog shuffle-step, but that just complicated matters. My legs tied up like a pretzel and I went down HARD, rolling my left foot in ways that feet don't particularly go. It was a spectacular pratfall -- had someone been filming the thing for Youtube, I would right now be as famous as Justin Bieber.

I stood up and got two steps before the pain hit. "Oww, I might have hurt my foot a little," which immediately progressed to, "OWW! OKAY, I DEFINITELY HURT MY FOOT," "OMG-A-MILLION-KNIVES-ARE-PIERCING-MY-FOOT," and, finally, "PAIN LIKE THIS HAS NEVER BEEN FELT BY HUMAN FLESH. MY FOOT MUST BE SEVERED AND DANGLING BY A MERE TENDON."

Or at least bruised really, really bad. One emergency room visit + an orthopedic follow-up and I still as of press time don't know if it's broken. It was too swollen to check for hairline fractures last week, so I've got an appointment later today for follow-up x-ray's to survey the damage.

For sure, though, it hurts. And I'm now confined to crutches and something inexplicably called a "walking boot" despite my inability to walk anywhere or boot anything. My poor foot is swelled up like a pumpkin -- if pumpkins came in a gross shade of purple. I guess it's more like an eggplant. A painful, painful eggplant. Still, it hasn't stopped me from learning a couple important things:

(1) Crutches are HARD. I'd never used them before, but they seem pretty simple -- crutch, hop, crutch, hop, right? Well, that's fine and dandy if you're crutching along a flat parking lot. But the first time I got home and faced the six steps to get to my front door? I had to stand there for five minutes and hold a quick physics refresher in my brain. Crutch first? Step with the good foot first? Hop? Cry? Eventually I gave up, sat down, and gracefully scooted on my butt up all six steps. Happily I've since figured out the mechanics of it all and can ascend and descend the stairs without pain -- not that it matters because you forget all about the foot pain when you've got two crutches digging permanent canyons into your armpits.

(2) I would make a lousy drug addict. Many of my literary heroes -- Kerouac, Huxley, Hunter S. Thompson -- wrote some of their best stuff while whacked out of their minds. I, meanwhile, take two Vicodin and can't even turn on my laptop without falling asleep. My girlfriend can attest, though, that upon leaving the emergency room, I did apparently compose a piercing and soul-searching original song entitled, as I"m told, "I've Got My Very Own Crutches And They're Neat-O." William S. Burroughs wrote "Naked Lunch" on heroin. I take a Vicodin and all I can muster is THIS column. No thanks, drugs.

But my foot will mend, and as my mom pointed out when I called her at my lowest for love and support, "You know, other people have it WAY worse! Be thankful you even HAVE feet!" Next time, I'm taking the car.

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