Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Redhead the Whiner

Hey, I’m throwing this post up right now and warning everyone that I will not be putting anything up tomorrow – I have a ‘Spring Fling’ office cocktail thing this afternoon, and then I’m off to the Yanks-Sox game. So, it should come as no surprise to any of my readers that I plan to drink heavily at both events. Therefore, the odds of my being even remotely coherent tomorrow are slim to none, and…wait…yup, slim left town. (Bite me, that was funny.)

Anyway, in the meantime, let’s tell a little story. Hmmm, what might you guys want to hear about? Well, I call no drunk Redhead stories today (since I’m planning on being a drunk Redhead tonight), and I think we should save many of my ‘I can really pick ‘em’ guy stories for another time – like when I can’t think of anything else to write about. Soooo, maybe a nice tale from Redhead’s childhood is just what the doctor ordered. (Note: Is my use of the third person annoying you? Because I’m kind of liking it – I feel like Rickey Henderson.)

OK, so let’s go back a few years to the third grade (or thereabouts). Now it may be hard to believe, but I was a pain in the ass back then. Some would even go so far as to call me a complainer. No, really. I claim I was just trying to get noticed – being the youngest of three kids and all – but I guess there is a chance that I really was just annoying. Anyway, I needed more attention, so after much soul-searching (not really), I chose to go the obnoxious/whiny route. And it worked for me. I really was very hard to ignore. And I thought (still do actually) that made me endearing.

Anyway, it was around this time that I found myself at a birthday party for one of my best friends. It was at a roller skating rink, and I was an OUTSTANDING roller skater. So outstanding in fact, that I got a little cocky. Some would even call me stupid. Either way, I needed a bit of excitement to make things interesting. So I organized a group of us to hold hands in a line and whip around in a circle. Why? Because it would be fun, damnit. And it was. I got the prime position at the very end of the line that was being spun, and I was moving. Fast.

So fast (it turns out) that I had a bit of trouble stopping when we let go. I like to call this the moment in my life when I learned about momentum and the whole ‘an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force’ thing. My outside force? The wall.

It really came upon me (or did I come upon it?) so quickly that I don’t remember much. One second I was having fun skating, and then the next second I was hurtling toward a wall. And then I was hitting the wall. Hard.

And it hurt. A lot.

At some point I apparently put my arm up – I imagine in an effort to protect my face from making any significant contact with said wall – but I honestly don’t remember doing so. I do remember the impact when my arm hit though. That managed to get my attention.

Oh, did I mention that it hurt?

Trying valiantly not to cry (total lie), I stumbled off the rink and toward the mothers that were there. I needed comforting. So as they cooed over me, gave me cake before everyone else (score), and inspected the wrist that had now started to swell, I began to calm down.

That is, until my mother arrived to pick me up. Then I started to blubber again. Unfortunately, my mother had seen me sitting there looking fine just moments before, so she basically deduced that I was full of shit (which I usually was). Even when the other mothers explained to her what happened, my mom remained unmoved. Oh she laughed (because I’m a spaz and that’s funny), and said all the right things – yes, she would keep an eye on my wrist – but I would generally characterize her demeanor as…unconcerned.

Yet still I persevered. I whined. I bitched. I moaned. ‘My wrist really hurts,’ I said. ‘I think there’s something really wrong with it,’ I whimpered. ‘I can’t move it,’ I wailed. Basically, I was an all-around nightmare. Pretty much par for the course.

Didn’t work. My mom wasn’t buying it. Don’t get me wrong, she iced the wrist. She had me rest it on a pillow. She made little sympathetic noises when I really seemed to need it. But the overriding feeling amongst the family was that I was overreacting. I was being dramatic. I was being…myself.

So it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that it took my mother a week to finally give in and take me to a doctor – more to get me to shut up than anything else. And imagine her surprise when the doctor told her (after taking some x-rays) that I did indeed have a broken wrist. That I had been walking around with a broken wrist. For a week. Possibly doing further damage to myself. Because she didn’t believe her own child. (He didn’t really say that last part.)

Mom had the grace to look guilty. Actually, she looked kind of horrified. Like she was going to be sick. So horrified in fact, that I didn’t even give her a guilt trip right away. Eventually, but not right away. It just seemed like it would be too cruel, you know?

Besides, I didn’t blame her - I didn’t then and I don’t now. It’s the classic ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation. I made a big deal out of every little scrape and bruise – blowing them way out of proportion – to the point where when I finally got a real injury, no one believed me. I’m actually pretty surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

But the best part of this story took place the next summer. I was away at camp, and during the first week fell during a hike. Not wanting to take any chances, the camp sent me to a doctor who took some x-rays. (Note: The camp and doctor were in the middle of nowhere.) Turns out, my wrist was broken. Again. So I spent the whole hot, sweaty summer sitting there watching everyone else play. I couldn’t even go swimming in the lake to cool off – because I couldn’t get my damn cast wet! I basically sat on my ass and did nothing for 6 weeks –and it wasn’t as fun as it could have been. (I blame the whole no a/c or tv situation.)

Anyway, after toughing it out, getting the cast off, and returning home, I went for a follow-up appointment with my doctor. ‘Hmmm,’ he said, looking at my new x-rays. Then he looked at me. Then his lips twitched. (Uh oh.) Clearing his throat, he turned away and started to chuckle. (WTF?) ‘Sorry,’ he apologized, still kind of laughing, ‘but it appears your wrist was never broken a second time.’


Apparently, the boondocks camp doctor had looked at my x-rays and seen my old (healed) break. Only being a complete and total fuck-up, he didn’t have the intelligence/training/sobriety to tell the difference between that and a fresh break! So I got to wear a cast for 6 weeks at the summer camp from hell. For no reason! (Wow, I feel all warm and fuzzy just remembering it all.)

So, the lesson for this Tuesday/Wednesday in May: Life isn’t fair.


TK said...

Rickey Henderson thinks this is an awesome story.

I've already detailed my lengthy list of childhood injuries over at my place, but your mother reminds me of my father. One time when I broke my thumb, the school nurse called my dad to come get me and take me to the hospital. His response? "Call his mother". He finally got sick of taking me to the doctor.

I'm willing to bet that even now, you still occasionally pull out the "remember that time when you wouldn't take your injured child to the hospital" card on your mom.

Redhead said...

Occasionally? I pull that story out all the time - it's my ace in the hole, she STILL feels guilty about it.

Manny said...

She STILL feels guilty about it? You're good.