To add insult to injury, I had an adverse reaction to the pain meds that landed me in the ER twice in less than twenty-four hours, so now I’m completely drug-free and cranky. The pain’s down to a dull roar, and I did get to choose my favorite color – purple – for the cast. But three days in, I can’t help but imagine it as a purple ball and chain while I dream of purple sledgehammers.
“How did you do it?”
The truth is tedious. I’m compelled by nature to tell it, but given I broke my fibula – which I have dubbed, “The Fibber” – I am giving myself permission to fib about this all I want to. Because the truth is dull. You can handle the truth just fine, but trust me – you don’t want to hear it. And I don’t want to bore you. (Next time your child lies, give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they’re just trying to spare you death by boredom. If they make a habit of it, send them to their room with a copy of my book, A New Leaf for Lyle.) Here are the first three installments of my choose-your-own-ending version of “How I Did It” (click the drop-down next to each for the slightly-more-interesting-than-what-really-happened stories):
How Did You Do It #1: The Penguin Story
I had lived long enough in “Tornado Alley” to recognize their ominous blare, and long enough to reflexively check my smartphone to be sure it wasn’t just the system test they ran at noon on Wednesdays. It was Sunday. I must have hit my head on the curb and lost track of the time. The gray sky was morphing into a bilious green, and the sound of a freight train bearing down on us caused the penguins to squack and squirm and try to bite me. One got away, and was swept up by the swirling air currents overhead. I heard, later, that wildlife rehabbers had found an odd, nearly wingless chick resting happily in a hawk’s nest near the Dallas Arboretum, and it laid my guilt to rest. She would be reunited with her siblings at the Dallas zoo, once the storms had passed.
I hobbled to my sister in law’s house, where I had to protect the penguins from her two inquisitive kitties. Fortunately, the penguins were quite happy to be stuffed in the freezer until we could get them to the zoo, at which point the cats lost all interest and turned back to being hand-fed from a can of tuna.
How Did You Do It #2: Hardcore Soccer Match
A few hours later, I came home from the ER sporting padded snakeskin boots and titanium crutches. We strung some spider webbing on the crutches and played cricket. With real crickets.
How Did I Do It #3: Somnambulist Ballet
He’s bruised and confused, but I’m the one sporting the purple cast and trying to figure out how to go en pointe in crutches without pirouetting a hole in the floor.