It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time go to LiLu's joint for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun!
In the past week two, count ‘em, two of my colleagues have ended up on crutches after slipping on some of the lovely frozen precipitation covering our fair city and it’s environs. Turns out, according to my friend’s X-ray, a broken ankle isn’t really a broken ankle.
It’s actually a broken leg. At least hers is. She said she actually heard the bone “CRACK” when her fibula let go.
That, and seeing all the giant piles of snow everywhere, brought me back. Back to yesteryear. Back to recess at Briar Glen Elementary school one January 18, 19(year redacted to protect the old and decrepit).
It’d snowed a lot that winter. Yes, a whole bunch more than we’ve gotten here in the past couple of weeks. According to the National Weather Service, we got 89.7 inches of snow that winter (that’s just about 7.5 feet for those without a calculator), the most snow the city ever had before or since, although this year is shaping up as a doozie.
My school, and everywhere else for that matter, faced the same problem we here in the D.C. area face – what the Hell do you do with all that snow? The solution, then as now, plow it up into towering 7 or 8 or 10-foot tall piles. Well, they looked towering to me as I was then only 4 or so feet tall having only completed about two-thirds of my growth.
Probably not the smartest idea, ya know, putting great, big piles of snow around the playground. It took us about 17 seconds to figure out these were great things to play on and even, dare I say it, to jump from.
You just follow the kid in front of you up one side iceberg and then: Wheeee! You jump from the precipice into the soft, pillowy embrace of the snow below. I should point out, the teachers were watching us do this. I can’t even imagine kids being allowed to do this kind of thing today. The whole thing just screams out in capital letters LAWSUIT!!
Where was I, oh yes, at the precipice. For once, I decided to look before I leapt. The snow in the landing area was looking a little thin so I decided to aim a little to the left.
Like Joe Theismann taking the snap from center on Nov. 19, 1985, and having no idea it was his last as L.T. came rushing around the end, I still didn’t know I’d never play baseball again. Not that I was any good at it, but still, all my friends played baseball and only the strange weird kids played that sissified foreign soccer-type game. Ha, who ever thought of that whole “can’t use your hands” crap? Tweren’t no ‘Merican I can guaran-damn-tee you that my friend. (If you want, here’s some coverage of the sack, you get a really good view of Joe's leg at about the :52 second mark. Prepare to cringe.)
That fresh patch of snow I was heading for at what seemed like terminal velocity was crisp, clean and just waiting for someone to break its virginal surface. I breached that barrier and made a shocking, shocking I say, discovery.
Did you know when 3 feet of snow falls it effectively hides a fire hydrant that stands just 2-foot-6?
If I’d know how to swear at that tender age (a shocking oversight on the part of our educational system, my parents and big sisters I say), you can be sure I would have as I snapped not just the little fibula in my right leg, but its big brother the tibia as well. Same as Joe when he was crushed by a coked-out Lawrence Taylor (Go Tar Heels!).
All my 8-year-old lungs, larynx and mouth could come up with was a primal scream of pain that may or may not have shattered the double-paned windows nearby as I suffered pain similar to the ultimate suffering Wesley did in the Pit of Despair.
Long story short, I spent the next three glorious, snowy months of winter on crutches, inside, wearing plaster up to my hip - first six weeks - then up to my knee - next six weeks - before missing the start of Little League and being forced by my mother to play soccer (“Just to get you some exercise, hon.”).* Yeah, thanks Mom for making me play a girls’ game and for making my brothers play too. (Thankfully neither one of them was that good at baseball either.)
To this day I can still feel the spot on my leg where the bones knitted together.
* For those of you who are wondering, I played soccer all the way through high school and only switched rugby, a more dignified game, once I was in the Marines. All told I probably played about 18 or so seasons of soccer.