I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 9: The Broken Wrist
There was this weird period between getting super-glued to that log at Scout camp and burning down my parents’ basement some three years later. It’s all one big blur.
I’d like to think I can’t remember much from that time span because I had my nose buried in my books or because I was off being awesome somewhere, but I’m pretty sure I don’t remember it because I spent most of it either yanking my crank or playing Nintendo at my friend’s house.
Here is what I do remember of those three years.
Chocolate milk and a half dozen donuts were a great daily snack to eat while conquering Zelda or Mario Bros. Eyeglasses that would tint in the sun became popular. For about two weeks. Which is right when I got my pair that I’d have to wear for the next two years at least. Hell’s existence was proven to me by walking through it every day in the halls of my junior high school. Finding shoes in a size 13 wasn’t easy. Finding hats made for gorilla-sized heads proved even more difficult. It was impossible to get to my next class on time when my gym coach insisted that the fat kids actually finish the mandatory “Fun Run” every Thursday. I had magical powers that made all but the odorous parts of me invisible to girls.
And, I broke my wrist.
Again, I’d like to say that I was doing something glorious and awesome when I broke it. I’d like to tell you I was playing football, or street fighting, or beating up some jerk with impossible biceps at school, but I wasn’t. I was walking down a sidewalk, probably on my way to buy my daily maple bars, when I tripped on a heightened slab of concrete and landed square on my wrists, fracturing one of them.
The moment I landed, I knew I had broken it. You only have to break a bone once to know what it feels like, and I had broken several before that moment. In fact, my entire existence started with a broken collar bone. Apparently almost 10 lb. babies aren’t made to go through such tiny silly things as birth canals and pelvic bones, but out I finally was pushed, and snap went my collar bone on the way.
After I broke my wrist that day, some 13 years later, I sat on the ground making that awful sound people make when they’re hurt but they want to be tougher than the pain. It sounds a lot like a gross and inexperienced person getting lucky with their very unlucky partner, except my grunts and groans lasted much longer, I’m sure. “Ooooh, ooh, aah, eeeee, ooooh, aaah, rrrrr, grrr, ooooh, aaahaaahah. Rrrrr.” You know, like that. You’ve done it too. Guaranteed.
I finally picked myself up and carried my limp wrist in to Mom, and told her I was pretty sure I had broken it.
“Nah, it’s just a sprain,” she said as she wiggled it back and forth and up and down. I winced in pain as she did so.
I insisted that it felt like it was broken.
Again she insisted that it wasn’t. It couldn’t be.
And, since I was a teenager with no transportation and no way to get medical care on my own, I finally said “okay” and was just really careful with it for the next few days.
As it happened, I had an appointment to have my tonsils removed three days later.
We were escorted to a hospital room where I was told to get naked and put on a gown. Mom left the room so I could change. I stripped down to the buff, pulled the gown on, and looked down. It was so short that my nethers were flapping in the breeze below. I mention this for no reason except to point out how ridiculously tall I was for a teenager of that age. Or maybe I mention it to make you believe (without having to tell some big lie) that I was very well endowed. After all, you may have been picturing a gown that went to my knees, and who am I to stop your assumptions?
Anyway, since having your mom see your dangling nethers isn’t the most fun thing, I hurried and got under the hospital blanket and waited for them to come back into the room.
Mom returned and kept me company. Eventually a nurse followed with a clipboard in tow. First she listened to my heart. Then she took my blood pressure. Then she checked my pulse.
Back then, they didn’t use fancy gadgets that clip onto the end of your fingertips. They grabbed your wrist and manually counted the beats.
And, as you’ll remember, my wrist was broken.