Monthly Archives: July 2013

Not as Good a Long Day

footTV

Started out a standard Sunday: Up at 10 for Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and Radiolab, leftover pizza and coffee. Settled in with some Fandemonium and laundry.

2 p.m. left for the rink for our 3:15 game.

3:45 contemplated vomiting in pain.

Game had started well enough; got an assist. But not long after that, I was rushing to the back boards to get a puck that had been dumped in. Just before I got there, I turned in anticipation of (hopefully) snatching the puck clean and pulling it behind the net.

Instead, I lost an edge and in a blink went feet-first into the boards.

Feet-first always looks bad—it’s not an unusual source of hockey injuries—but I’ve done it a hundred times without incident, usually because I have time to position myself and/or bend my knees to absorb the impact. But this happened so fast. I saw a flash of light and for a brief moment thought, “Oh, this is one of those things that just looks bad.”

But within moments, the pain crept in, leaving me scooting forward on my hands and knees, and then knees and elbows, head on the ice.

Two guys—one from each team—helped me to the bench, one skate gliding, the other hanging.

There on the little recessed goalie bench, in a shaky daze of adrenaline, I took off my helmet. And there was a roach in it.

Apparently in times of sweaty, adrenalized semi-consciousness, bugs haunt me. It’s like they’re my incapacitated spirit animals or something.

Seriously—and this is the only time I will ever say this—but I couldn’t give a damn about the roach. The pain was preoccupying. Then after a few minutes I started pouring sweat and feeling nauseous. I wasn’t ever aware of an imminent fainting (although I’m not sure you ever see that coming without following through), but I figured I might have to throw up on someone’s backup stick, because I couldn’t fathom moving beyond leaning forward, and even throwing up on my pants didn’t seem to be something I should care about at the moment.

It was halfway through the first; a full period and a half went by before I could pay attention to the game. I’d left the team with eight skaters, and even as they scurried around me exhausted, I couldn’t even contemplate what was going on on the ice. I wanted to, but nothing existed beyond my lower left leg.

But that was the worst of it. After the game, with lots of hopping and scooting and help from my friends, me and my stuff got sorted out and stuffed in my car. Mrs. Harrible accompanied me to the ER, where Ma and Krazy Kevin eventually joined us. The docs gave me drugs and a splint and crutches and a diagnosis: broken fibula.

splinting

The PA prepares my splint.

So that’s that. After post-hospital dinner and a trip to CVS (yay pharmacy drive-through), I didn’t get home until 10. It took me five minutes to make it from car to door—my gear stayed put—and simply walking from here to there is now an awkward, painful spasm of hops, stumbles and crutches akimbo that leaves me panting and sweaty. My right leg is already exhausted. Every little task is some combination of baffling and grueling: feeding the cat; getting my water glass from the kitchen to the couch. I haven’t yet figured out an approach to bathing that would be sufficient for hockey stink.

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Krazy Kevin keeps Ma entertained over dinner.

Still. Intense physical pain has a way of singeing off neuroses; hydrocodone amplifies that effect. So thanks to those two, I’ve mostly been basking in the loveliness of friends and acquaintances alike—feeling sincerely appreciative of the attention, instead of the guilt and embarrassment I’d expect to feel:

  • A total stranger from the other team helping get me to the bench.
  • Teammates I’ve only known through a handful of games gathering my gloves and helmet and skate and stick and socks from the bench, asking after me in the locker room, fetching an office chair to roll me to the lobby, even spending quality time with my stank feet to strap ice onto my leg with an Ace bandage.
  • Steadfast friends Krazy K and Mr. Harrible, one on each side, escorting me across the ice, taking great care navigating doors and corners.
  • Mrs. Harrible cheerfully taking me to the hospital in my own car, running inside to grab a wheelchair and dropping me off before parking the car, then joining me in the exam room.
  • Ma coming just to be there.
  • Krazy Kevin arriving after playing his second game of the afternoon, popping in to say hi, then staying another half hour alone in the waiting room because I was only allowed two visitors at a time.
  • Ma picking up the dinner tab to show her gratefulness, too, to these friends.

I’d gladly give my left leg for experiences like that.

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Makes Me Want a Hot Dog REAL BAD

Apparently today is National Hot Dog Day. I’ve got my Nathan’s in the fridge, although the Salty Dog is right on my way home, so there’s a decent chance I’ll be swayed by a batter-dipped, deep-fried, quarter-pound wiener of awesomeness.

 

 
And then there’s this:

 

 

 

Awesome. This is my 101st BananaHammer post. Yay hot dogs.

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A Better Long Day than Usual

The backside of the sunset.

The backside of the sunset.

Sunday morning. I dreamt I was taking Thing 2 to some Main Street bar/restaurant, that I knew (or thought I knew) was nifty, but it wasn’t really living up—I had trouble finding it; it didn’t seem the same; the bartender/owner wasn’t very helpful. We somehow wound up, unfed, in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

That being said, it was a decent night’s sleep.

I would’ve lingered in bed, but when I got the wherewithal to look at the clock: 10:05. Motivation enough to haul myself up and turn on the radio for Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. (This week’s guest? Comedienne Tig Notaro, whom I’d conveniently read about just 12 hours earlier, catching up on TIME back issues.)

After that, Radio Lab—an especially unsettling hour of stories about parasites. Animals eating other animals alive. Intestinal worms.

I like to while away my weekend-morning radio time mixing puzzles and Wii golf, but since yesterday’s “productivity” involved finishing my latest puzzle—an elongated rectangle of Harley-Davidson memorabilia—I kept my arms and eyes busy for most of today’s two hour-long radio shows playing Wii golf and Wii Frisbee and Wii three-point contest.

Then killed time till 2 watching baseball and putting away laundry. Then off to the rink, a 45-minute drive of radio baseball—game-tying HR from Longoria. Go Rays. Go radio.

Not a great hockey game, but at least against a team not prone to confrontation and ugliness. I recently heard a snippet—a preview for some other show?—from some kind of cognitive scientist about his detest for the word “consciousness.” He felt it mislabeled something; it was a misleading catch-all. He cited the mind of a pianist performing—that the fingers moved without thought, and to think of their movement—to be aware, to be conscious—would screw it all up.

And someone else (oh, I’m excellent at citing my sources) recently mentioned physical activity among a list of meditative actions. I guess I’d known that, but I sort’ve thought maybe “sports-induced meditation” wasn’t considered legit among those who performed meditation as an activity in and of itself.

But for all that I dive into conscious descriptions of things in writing—or maybe because of trying to put everything to words—I’ve long appreciated sports for giving me some lovely moments of Zen: relaxed, focused autopilot. It’s amazing to me, to relax and let things happen, to see what I can do without trying to do anything in particular.

My brain is sharp but diseased; left alone, my body has always done pretty well for itself.

Anyway, today’s game was but a fitful bit of Zen. Sometimes—the best times—a whole game can go by without the urge to grab the wheel. Today I had some nice moments on the ice, but nothing that lasted. Like one of those nights where you get a bit of sleep, here and there, but nothing you can maintain.

And then I drove home. This past season marks the first time since my first months playing hockey, nearly a decade ago, that I regularly arrive at the rink, skate, and then go home. Years and years of post-game social pursuits; it’s weird to drive home in the daylight.

Weirder still after a 3:15 p.m. game—generally the earliest available. I’m at Publix before 5 and home before 5:30. It’s July. It may as well be noon. I fix dinner; I rarely feel like taking the time to cook on a Sunday. I eat dinner (stroganoff). I watch two hour-long episodes of Slings and Arrows, the last two of the first season: Hamlet. The story of Geoffrey’s mental breakdown.

It was still bright as hell outside. I’m fed, but I stink.

I went to the beach.

I’ve played hockey and then gone swimming before. (Hell, I’ve played hockey, gone to the beach, and then played hockey again, same day, but god only knows where that stamina went.) Still, so much recreation today, it seemed special to have the memory of cold toes fresh in my brain as I kicked off my flip-flops and walked through the sand, threw down my shit, took off my shirt and dove into the waves in the same sports bra I’d worn (god, how many hours ago?) under a pile of pads, trying to stickhandle around guys twice my size. From looking at ice through a cage to lying back in water over my ears and staring at the bright blue sky.

So that’s one way to get the stink off.

Later, while I sat in my wee little sand chair and read Gone Girl (about a journalist who kills his wife), a couple came between me and the waves—about 15 feet away—and proceeded to take pictures of each other. I swear to god, the nearest humans were 50 yards in front of me, and none to be seen down the other way on the beach (which, by the way, is about ¾ of a mile long). Why the fuck these two parked their asses right in front of me to take pictures, and then turned around and walked back in the direction they’d come is like…I dunno, it was that scene in the movie where the universe fucks with the main character.

But it was a lovely sunset.

I walked home with a phrase stuck in my head: “You can explain yourself all you want, but you are who you are.”

Anyway, here I am. I had to take a shower almost immediately—oddly enough, I can sit in hockey stink all day, but beach sticky-salty skin is nigh onto intolerable for me.

Now I’ve written a blog, one that’s pushing short-feature length.

And it’s…9:30 p.m.

I haven’t even been up for 12 hours. Technically speaking, my bedtime is two hours away. And it’s not a bedtime I necessarily adhere to.

Time to start the next season of Slings and Arrows, I think—the Scottish play, this time. Not sure what that says about my Monday. Maybe Mackers just needed a trip to the beach.

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Endless Commentary on the Modern World

In this week’s search for a blog topic, so many issues surfaced—so many “serious” points I wanted to make, all of which would be painful and exhausting to write about, with the awful, ever-present cloud hanging over me, saying, “There’s no guarantee you’re going to communicate your thoughts effectively. And even if you do, nobody has to listen.

 

“And even if they do listen, there’s always, always more to say.”

 

There are countless (really, so many) nuances to be addressed the Zimmerman trial and the Rolling Stone cover. There are lingering issues of the language of locker rooms and outrage in general on the internet. And, in every waking moment, there are my own unsteady emotional torrents yanking things around in my head in ways that may or may not relate to everyone else’s reality—brain flotsam.

 

Everything seems to be a constant, unrelenting source of outrage fueling outrage fueling outrage. It is an outrage feedback loop. It makes me angry, then tired; sympathetic, then frustrated; inspired, then resigned.

 

And so.

 

I walked to the beach, in a steady drizzle.

 

And I made a sandcastle.

 

sandcastle

 

Happy Hump Day, everyone. Let’s coast a bit, shall we?

 

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Fantasy Thursday: My Last Meal

mcdonalds-Cheeseburger

Where’s my nuggets, yo?

For my third and final (and possibly favorite) fantasy this week, I gave much thought to assembling the best spread ever.

Have you ever seen some of the things people order for their last meal on death row? Granted it’s kind of a morbid topic, but if you just think about the food—it’s these incredible lists, more than many people could ever eat in a single sitting. Not a “meal” in the sense of a single composition, but just a big pile of your favorite things to eat, ever.  I tried to limit myself a top-10, all-time favorite and/or transcendent indulgences (plus beverages)–and while I think this is pretty darn good, I feel like this list is going to be an ongoing project…

  1. Ma’s Spaghetti carbonara. Pasta, eggs, bacon, cream, butter, cheese. Can’t beat it.
  2. McDonald’s cheeseburger and chicken nuggets. They count as a single item because I put the nuggets on top like a condiment.
  3. Oreos.
  4. The Beach Bistro “White Castle slider.” Seared foie gras, tenderloin, demi-glace and béarnaise on a garlic bun.
  5. Mashed potatoes with lots of butter and some real brown gravy on the side.
  6. Eggs Benedict. Cook the eggs just barely firmer than normal, real back bacon (Hi, Canadians!) and lemony Hollandaise with a little bit of cayenne or hot paprika kick. And real, well-done home fries to sop up the extra.
  7. Snow crab legs with drawn butter.
  8. Granny’s baked mac ‘n cheese.
  9. Cheetos.
  10. A hunk of brie.

For beverages? Three Bud Lights, a Mountain Dew, Van Winkle Special Reserve 12-yo, and some whole milk (for the Oreos).

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Fantasy Wednesday: $10,000

neon-dinosaur-planters-2

$10,000

My hump-day fantasy theme is money. This actually came to me a few weeks ago–how I can’t bring myself to fantasize about Power Ball millions, but what a relief a slightly more modest fortune could be.

However, after modestly fantasizing about debt-repayment and responsible saving (and trust me, those are powerful fantasies), I can’t seem to prioritize any indulgences–there aren’t any big purchases I long for, and while a variety of experiences would be nice (a trip to wherever, season tickets, a bunch of fancy dinners), nothing jumps up to the top.

So, basically, I turned this into a modest shopping blog in honor of one of my favorite gift sites. These days, more than half of the 10 grand would go straight to pay off my credit card and car. After that, I decided I’d use the leftover to purchase 10 vaguely useful, occasionally overpriced and exceptionally awesome tchotchkes from Uncommon Goods:*

  1. Rawr.
  2. Classiest rally shots ever.
  3. A polar bear that vomits ice cubes!
  4. The coastal region of Southwest Florida: a place to lay my head.
  5. I’m too flabby for the mitts these days, but I still want a boxer’s robe—and it’s good for the environment!
  6. Yay for letters.
  7. I’ve failed at making compost for some time now (which is pretty sad, if you think about it).
  8. I can’t tell if this would improve my grilling or my stick-handling (or neither). Also I wonder if they have different brands.
  9. Perty skirt. (This one, too.)
  10. And, well, duh.

*And these are just things for me; shopping for other people on that site is almost as much fun.

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Fantasy Tuesday: A Day with the Cup

stanley-cup.gray

A lot of times, thinking about the things you don’t have (and likely never will) can be depressing. But I recently discovered that taking a somewhat “realistic” approach to a fantasy can bring a little bit of lightness to your day. Like, go from “Wouldn’t that be nice” to almost planning for the opportunity—whatever it may be. Sure, it sucks that it’s not going to happen, but maybe this is like when they tell you to smile even if you feel like ass—that there’s still something physiologically beneficial to the act. And nothing says “Tuesday” like a forced smile.

(P.S. Please don’t ever tell me to smile when I feel like ass, or I will give myself a reason to smile, and it will involve violence.)

Anyway, here is the first of three fantasies that I will try to play through to their logical outcomes.

A Day with the Cup

Interestingly, I never really thought about what I’d do if I, like someone on the winning team, got to spend 24 hours doing whatever with the Stanley Cup.

Seems right to take it to your hometown, as many folks do. So I guess my day would involve a trip to Bradenton Beach, where the Cup would be the mold for the top of a sandcastle before being filled with ice to keep my beers cold.

It’d also have to take a moment on the Asolo stage, and then I’d do a soccer-themed photo shoot with it at GT Bray.

It’s also logical to take the Cup back to where you first started playing—for real Cup winners, this invokes memories of mite-ish beginnings and that oh-how-far-I’ve-come kind of vibe. My hockey roots are decidedly more shallow.

But I could see it do just as well around a table at the rink’s Beef O’Brady’s (back before it was a preschool, a church, an OK bar, a bad bar, and then a horrible steakhouse). No, Beef’s: a few tables pushed together, with all the old crew, and the crew that have come since. And select favored opponents. And every single soul who ever showed up just to watch us play and then hang out afterward. With a pile of wings, keep the pitchers coming.

And, while we’re fantasizing, make it on a Sunday night before a Monday holiday—so nobody has to worry about going to work in the morning.

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