Monday, March 31, 2014


Finally my theory has been proven: Being responsible and mature is hazardous to your health.

In the grand theatre of adult life, I've been proudly cast in the role of the Clumsy Yet Affable Screw-Up. You know, that ONE friend of yours who still lives by himself, has a mountain of pizza boxes in his kitchen, and is just sure he'll get around to cleaning as soon as he beats Level 75 of Candy Crush.

But I've recently discovered that being the Clumsy Yet Affable Screw-Up isn't all it's cracked up to be. He never gets top billing. He never gets the girl in the end. And the only reason his place is called a "bachelor pad" is because any woman fateful enough to see the squalor lurking inside would instinctively run away in fear.

So ever since I bought my house a few years back, I've been doing my best to put Screw-Up Shane to bed -- at a decent time and with clean sheets, even. I thought I was being grown-up -- it turns out I've been risking life and especially limb.

It was four Sundays ago. The clock was rounding its way to midnight and I was getting ready to call it a day. That's when I glanced in my kitchen and saw the overflowing trash bag. Monday morning was trash day, and I'd forgotten to haul the bin out to the street. Screw-Up Shane would have said "ah well" and maybe gotten in a few rounds of Call of Duty before bed. But noooo -- Mature Shane decided to throw his coat on and haul the trash out at midnight like a responsible lad.

And that is how Mature Shane ended up proudly cast in a cast for the next month. Somewhere between my back steps and the street lay a small patch of black ice, just small enough to avoid with the naked eye and just big enough for me to execute a reverse 360 triple axle. Well, my ANKLE did -- the rest of me, not so much.

I knew from the landing that it was bad. I fell onto one knee with my toes pointed down. That part of the scenario only KINDA sucked. Then the REST of me fell down onto my foot, rolling my ankle in a direction that ankles aren't exactly designed to go. I managed to hop inside before the pain got so bad I collapsed onto the kitchen floor, much to the bewilderment and amusement of my cats.

"It's just a sprain," I told myself as I hopped to the freezer for some ice, of which I had none. Ergo, I opted for a wing, a prayer, and a bag of frozen peas. "It'll all be better in the morning," I reassured myself.

It wasn't. The next morning, it looked like my ankle had sprouted a goiter. Worse yet, the bag had ripped in the middle of the night and my entire living room had transformed into what can only be described as The Great Pea Holocaust. My friend Dianna came over, took one look at my ankle, and whisked me off to the doctor. Following a sexy radioactive photoshoot, the results were in -- and my night-time attempt at freestyle speed skating had left me with a broken tibia AND fibula.

For the past month, January excited the Quad Cities with snowstorms and cold spells and headlines aplenty... or so I read. I couldn't tell you for certain, because I've spent the whole month sitting at home on my couch with my leg elevated and adorned in a stylish purple cast in an ongoing attempt to see just how much Netflix a person can watch without going insane. Couch Island has been my home for the past 4 weeks, interrupted only by the occasional wheeled excursion to the bathroom on my sexy and stylish new knee scooter.

Here's what the knee scooter's website says about its product: "Powerful!" "Agile!" "All-Terrain!"

If "powerful" means that it's capable of supporting my girth with only a minimal amount of sad squeaking, then yes. If "agile" means that it only requires a carefully balanced pre-planned 18-point-turn to get from my living room to my bathroom, then sure. But the person who wrote the word "all-terrain" has clearly never met MY living room carpet. On the tenth day of knee-rolling, I wiped out on the carpet and went flailing to the ground with the knee-roller landing squarely on the ankle it's designed to protect. January has NOT been my month.

In the history of Shane, this has been my first ever cast, my first ever extended leave from work, and the last thing I wanted to deal with. Were it not for the constant doting of my legion of friends, I'd have likely been forced to spend this un-vacation in Galesburg leeching off my parents. So a big public shout-out to Dianna Saelens for the countless food runs, for doing my laundry, my dishes, and basically keeping me alive this past month. Thanks to Friend Jason for the handy and mega-stylish pink basket for my knee scooter and the soap bubble machine that's kept my cats in a month-long state of sheer terror. And thanks to Dr. Shawn Wynn, Mary Jo, and the entire staff of ORA Orthopedics for putting up with my bad jokes and taking awesome care of me.

Maybe I'm officially mature and responsible after all. After all, Clumsy Yet Affable Screw-Up Shane would have yearned for a month-long vacation on the couch. THIS Shane thinks it sucks. One thing's for sure, though: next time, the trash can wait.

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