I have spent the whole week in a good deal of pain with my left knee and to be honest, I don’t even know how I injured it. Now I’m not so old that I have reached the stage where I cannot remember what I did, but apparently old enough to injure myself if I don’t do a warm up before I decide to stand up. There was a time when I had to lie about my injuries because of my recklessness, but that is called youth.
God be with the days when I’d twist my ankle jumping from a four metre high shed and just get up and carry on regardless.. and that was when I was eight! My Ma would have killed me if she knew how I did it, so I’d lie and say I went over on my ankle stepping off a footpath or some such auld guff.
The problem with my Ma was that she didn’t like us doing anything dangerous. I walked the railings outside our house on a near daily basis with my neighbour Martin, often timing who was the fastest. We both fell off on a regular basis and occasionally we fell straight down to land astride the metal railings. I’m surprised I was able to father children I did it so often.
But you see, because my Ma was so unjustly strict about doing dangerous stuff, there was no way you could go crying to her so you had to just suck it up. For the most part, the odd thwack to the knackers was an acceptable risk for the pleasure we got from being high wire artists (in our heads), but sometimes you fell on the spikey part and that could leave a mark or cut you.
Pain was easy to hide, but my mother had a sharp eye for a cut or a bruise and at eight, she still put me into a bath every Saturday night whether I needed one or not, so you couldn’t conceal such things easily.
The lies I told about cuts, abrasions and bruises, you would be ashamed to hear them I’m telling you. The other problem was that my mother was as sharp as a tack when it came to sniffing out a fib. She’d skelp my skinny little arse for lying and she could read me like a book, so I had to be good at coming up with a cover story. I was never good enough to be totally convincing, but the excitement of doing something stupid like climbing too high on a tree was always worth the ear bashing if she found out.
Of course now I seem to get injured going to the fridge. Seriously! I’ve actually twisted my wrist opening the fridge door. I mean COME ON! I blame it on all the sport I used to do. We didn’t have the same information or education, not to mention proper equipment like kids today have. Half the time we ran in the wrong shoes and played a lot of sport on dodgy tarmac. Bish- bash–bosh. As for correct physical education… we had one teacher who coached the football team (that’s soccer to my American friends) whose primary advice was, that if we couldn’t get the man, we should try to get the ball. We won the league that year if I recall.
I broke fingers, tore ligaments, sprained wrists and ankles, fractured ribs, had my nose split open, been stitched several times and generally put my body through the wringer over the first twenty odd years of my life. I’m paying for it now. I should have stayed in my bed eating chocolate.
The problem was that back in the day when things were in black and white, just before many can remember but shortly after the dinosaurs, we didn’t have daytime TV, computer games, or any such nonsense. I read a lot for sure, but that too had its limitations and my mother would inevitably feck you out the door, as long as it was bright and it wasn’t raining. I was bound to get into mischief and break the odd bone or two.
I once fell out of a tree onto a fella on a bike – no joke. He didn’t even really break my fall. I sort of hit the front wheel and handlebars, then he bounced up in the air and landed on me. He wasn’t happy I can tell you. He was a big lad and he would have kicked the living sh**e out of me, only I escaped before he had time to get over the shock of a kid falling out of the sky. The weird thing was, I hadn’t a mark on me.
We played stuntman using our shed as a fall off point. The game was simple. One of us would take aim with a toy Winchester and shoot the other… “Percherrrowwww” the sound would ricochet around the imaginary canyon as you shot. Whoever was on top of the shed, had to take the hit, dramatically clutching their chest, maybe with a spin if you decided the bullet hit you high to one side, or a double over and stagger, if you were gut-shot. Then came the tricky part; the fall from the roof of the shed into Mrs. Malone’s garden of nettles next door. It was not a game for the feint hearted.
The worst injury any of us got was a scuffed elbow or knee, or the occasional nettle sting if we hadn’t cleared enough of them away. I missed the last stair the other day; I nearly threw out a hip for feck sake. Honestly, it’s not funny.
I no longer wonder about random, unexplained pains that appear and disappear for no reason. I only count the ones that hang around for more than a week these days. It’s not that I’m a complete crock or anything, I’m actually not in bad shape, but someone should tell my bits.
The worst thing is when you forget that you are no longer twenty. There may or may not be alcohol involved, but … well you know. Anyway, it can be a bit of music that gets you twerking or whatever, or in my case something silly that starts me off…I’m a bit of a child at heart and my head sometimes remembers what it was like to be free to throw myself about with abandon. Not a good idea anymore. Still I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My biggest worry is that I will seriously injure myself doing something entirely inappropriate for a man of my supposed maturity, and then have to tell the emergency room triage nurse, exactly how I did the damage. I suspect when that day comes, I’ll revert to the skills I learned dodging the questions my mother used to ask me… and lie…
Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
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