Monday, May 07, 2018

COLUMN: Butthurt

Well, I wondered how long it would take for the winter of 2018 to cause me bodily damage.

The answer, as it turned out, was seven days. If you had ONE WEEK in my injury pool, you're a winner. The worst bit?  It COULD be argued that there MIGHT have been a SLIGHT chance that this one was avoidable.

It was one of those blessedly boring Sunday afternoons where I was groggily waking up at the crack of noon. That's about when I received an unusual text from my mom.

"FOR GOSH SAKE WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T GO OUTSIDE."

This is not the normal sort of communique I'm used to receiving from my mother. My mom's texts are usually more like, "YOUR AUNT CALLED. THEYRE OK." Or "HOW IS CAT?" Or, on a particularly brave day, "WHAT IS A SNAPCHAT? CONFUSED." Mom is not usually prone to issuing prophetic warnings via text message.

Whatever I do, don't go outside? This isn't good. I had exactly four things in my refrigerator -- three of which were condiments and the fourth appeared to be growing a fifth. I had a long-standign plan for the day in my head which involved me, my car, and a large plate of enchiladas from whatever restaurant lucky enough to serve me.

Maybe the world was ending. For a minute there, my sleep-addled brain almost forgot that we now live in a world where each day should really begin by checking Twitter to ensure that our commander-in-chief didn't get a 4 a.m. urge to hurl race-baiting insults at nuclear countries with itchy trigger fingers. But no, apart from a routine jab at CNN, Twitter was joyously Trump-free.

I looked out the window and everything seemed fine. My folks live fifty miles south of here. Maybe there was some freakish snowstorm that we missed by miles. Outside MY window, birds were chirping and no snow was falling. Call it curiosity. Call it a quest for knowledge. All I knew was that whatever I did, I had to go outside.

The back steps looked safe and inviting. I mean, sure, it was a little more brisk than usual, but a sudden cold front shouldn't be enough to keep one from an enchilada destiny, no? What the heck could my mom have possibly been --

KER-WHUMP!

I take that back. It didn't go KER-WHUMP! There wasn't enough time for KER-WHUMP! I'm pretty sure there was only time for "KE" and I was already on the ground.

As it turned out, this pretty winter day was especially gleaming due to the glaze of ice that had frozen onto pretty much everything. I had stepped off my back steps onto a makeshift ice rink, wherein my feet went flying over my head while my, err, southern lands came promptly down butt-first onto the sharp, hard, and impressively sturdy edges of my back steps.

At least, that's what I THINK happened. The whole affair took about 1/16th of a second and that's about all I can piecemeal together of the incident. I was too busy reacting to the fall - and the reaction I chose was to immediately start FAKE LAUGHING.

I think the initial adrenaline boost kicked my brain into this split-second reasoning: "You just fell. Hard. This is horribly embarassing, and extra stupid since your mother just warned you about this very sort of thing. I bet you looked hella foolish to any neighbors who may have been watching. You need to play it off as though you're in on the joke and can take a harmless pratfall for the team. HA. HA HA HA HA. HA HA HA HA. Are they buying it? We're all just having fun, right? RIGHT?"

I looked around. No one was pointing or laughing. No one was there at all. Why? Because my neighbors aren't idiots. THEY listened to their mothers and stayed inside when they were told. THEY knew it was icy out. THEY were probably watching football and eating mountains of enchiladas.

I, meanwhile, was bleeding. My arm was all skinned up, and no amount of fake laughs could mask the pain that was starting to shoot up from Down Yonder. I gingerly stood up and nearly passed out from the tingly pain searing from my tailbone, which I'm pretty sure I've either bruised, cracked, or otherwise turned into abstract art. A week and a half later, it's a LITTLE better, but not much. Everybody I've talked to says this is to be expected. The internet says to give it a month.

How do ice skaters do this sort of thing on a daily basis? I was watching Olympic trials recently and saw little girls a third my size take harder falls to the butt, only to get up and moments later perform a triple axel like nothing had happened? I, meanwhile, performed a triple whimper on my way to the freezer to sit on ice for the rest of the night.

I've learned many truths this past week: (1) There's no way to look casual when you're 47 with the top speed of an 85-year-old. (2) There's no way to look cool when you're carrying one of those butt donuts to sit on. (3) Whoever invented those butt donuts should be our next president. (4) Listen to your mothers. (5) For gosh sake, whatever you do, don't go outside. Not til spring, at least.

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