Saturday, June 24, 2017

What's One Ankle More or Less (Part I)

This is Raging Stallion, guest posting regarding "the ankle," which has come up a few times in the last few posts. This is yet another epic saga in the tome that is my life, so I'll be presenting it it more than one segment. After all, mere mortals can only handle so much. So, here's Part I of What's One Ankle More or Less.

Pause for effect...

At 1:42 a.m. on June 8, 1996, the bowling lanes were empty. Two minutes later, I would be on my knees in the worst pain my strapping, rugged, overtly handsome body had yet felt.

It was the all-night high-school graduating senior class party. The Elk's Lodge, whose primary selling point had been a spacious gym, was decorated and arrayed with lots of fun little rooms where games had been set up to accommodate the wild seniors of 1996. Most importantly, the bowling alleys were in the basement — and they were the most sought-after attractions of the evening.

The Elk's Lodge, Idaho Falls — where it all began.

I'd been rambling back and forth across the gym all night, dodging sleep drunk dames that didn't have a lot of inhibition when they were fully rested, making my way to the far side of the gym, where the long stairway of old-timer steps led down to the bowling alleys below. There was one of those rickety 1970s plastic deep-dish chairs at the bottom, where a not-so-gentleman kept reminding me that going up and down stairs actually wasn't that interesting, and maybe I should stop doing it.

I wasn't going up and down geriatric steps for my health! I was going up and down geriatric steps to check on the lines at the bowling alley! At 1:42, finally, the Holy Grail of The Class of '96 All Nighter: no lines at the bowling alley! I could hardly contain myself. I fully bolted up the stairs, taking them two or three at a time. At the top, I rounded the handrail, and searched the crowd of lazed no-longer students. I found my friend, Sparky, in the crowd, naturally on the other side of the gym.

Short lines at the bowling alley were precious, but no lines? That was priceless.

I wasn't going to let that kind of opportunity slip away. I had to alert my friends. "Hey guys!" (In retrospect, a poor word choice to summon my particular friends.) "The bowling alley's got no lines!" This exclamation had the intended effect of informing my friends. They dutifully adjusted heading and speed in my direction.

Of course, such an anonymous message was bound to be misinterpreted as to be intended for someone else. As it turns out, there were a whole lot of someone elses. Most of the graduating class of 1996 turned toward me, assessed this new information, calculated the distance my posse had to travel to get to the bowling alley, then figured in all the pranks and misdeeds perpetrated against them as only a high-school senior can figure, and arrived at the conclusion that, in fact, they would be the ones to go bowling instead.

Having grown up in Idaho, you'd think I would have experienced a stampede sometime in my life. Nope. The rampaging horde of narcoleptic zombies pressed on my position — it was the first stampede I'd ever seen. It was ... terrifying! At once I realized that I was the tip of the spear. If anyone was going to claim those bowling lanes, it was going to be me! I took a last look into the gaping maw of the mob, but I could no longer see my friends. I turned, and ran.

The first few steps toward the stairs were easy. I was gaining speed, as I used my arm to grip and spin my way onto the flight of stairs. Five or six stairs in, I could hear the throng converging at the top of the stairs, negotiating that tricky crowded first turn like so many holeshot motocross starts. About ten steps in, I turned to see Kevin Longhurst, center for the football team was lumbering toward me like a tree felled in the forest: uncontrollable and massive. This was good information to have. I was about to be crushed by a 200+ pound man who probably couldn't have stopped himself if he'd wanted to, and the look on his face said he hadn't wanted to.

Despite possession of critical information, it was here that physics taught me a valuable lesson that would later serve me well while playing sports: when one turns their head, their shoulders follow. Where the shoulders go, so go the hips. And where the hips go, the feet go. Despite the gaping surface area of the old-man stairs, my feet had followed my hips.

By the time I realized my right foot was pointing at the wall, not down the stairs, I was busy rolling the full weight of my body across the lateral side of my right ankle. I think my body weight would have stopped somewhere around where the ground should have been, and I probably would have been ok, but my ankle just kept right on rolling...down onto the next step. There was a seizing pain in my ankle, followed by a quick, short crack.

That's when my ankle went on strike and refused to support the idiot racing down the stairs on it. To spare you the gruesome and humiliating details. I found myself at the bottom of the stairs, holding my ankle to stop the pain, and holding my breath to keep the tears from leaking out. That not-so gentleman at the bottom of the stairs let me sit on his retro plastic throne to rest.

The ankle swelled. The parents were called. The ER was visited. The x-rays were taken. The drugs were administered. The crutches were given. And I returned to the senior party in an air splint boot, totally high and just in time for the party to end. I had a hairline fracture of the fibula. Weak. They didn't even cast it.

What I didn't know was that the serious injury that would impact me into the future longer than I had yet been alive, was not the hairline fracture to the fibula. That injury went completely un-diagnosed.

Tune in next week for more Raging Stallion and the Adventures of Ankle Man!

1 comment:

meganmushrat said...

Way to leave it on a cliff-hanger!