When I played basketball in high school, I was lazy as hell, but I had a really consistant jump shot. These days, I've lost the shot, so I've overcompensated by making sure that I'm always the most aggressive guy on the court.* The other night I was playing in a men's league, and although this has been my worst season in a long time, this night I was playing like a beast man. Despite the fact that I gave up some pounds and inches to the other team's big men, I owned the boards, dominated the paint, and all in all played a half of basketball that will assure me a slot among some of the finest wreck league players in Chicago's fine, long-standing, round-ball history.**
Then, only moments into the second half, I ran my finger into some dude's back, and it contorted into a funny position. I had to leave the game. Now, most people, given my situation, would have a train of thought like this:
"Shit, I have no insurance. What am I going to do?"
But, my thinking was more like this:
"Shit, I'm the only tall guy we have tonight. We're going to get killed underneath."
I tried in vain to do a Mel Gibson from Lethel Weapon 2, on a smaller, less dramatic scale, and pop it back into place, but it was not to be. We did get killed underneath, we went on to lose the game, but I learned a few things:
1. Don't ever bitch about your pinky hurting. The very word sounds pussy. Waiting way too long to have a dislocated pinky reset, and the reset itself, was one of the most painful things I've ever dealt with, but trust me, if you ever have your daintiest of digits injured, just suffer in silence.
2. For a while there I thought my left pinky would never be able to bend, which is funny, because when I do toasts or shots, I always go "pinky up," and insist that everyone else does the same. Now I would have no choice in the matter . . .
3. Vicodin is the shit! I made the "mistake" of taking my happy pills before bedtime, and wow! I was drifting in and out of consciousness, and in one dream I was in The Eagles. I don't remember playing any music, but Glenn Frey and I were getting all messed up on various substances and gallivanting around with all the groupies and floozies we could get our ax-wielding mitts upon.***
3. With all the writing I have been doing, I was worried about how this would effect my typing.**** As it turns out, my ring finger has really been a team player, instictually absorbing all of his fallen compadre's duties, while still fulfilling all of his own obligations. I started thinking, I really took my full typing capacity for granted, which in turn got me thinking: Do we not overuse the phrase "take for granted?" I mean, should I really have been thinking at some point, "Man, I'm so glad I have a fully operational pinky to hit these q's, a's, and z's!" Seriously, everyone who miraculously comes away from some kind of near death experience always says that they are no longer going to take life for granted, but yes they are. If you're sitting around being thankful for what you have, then you're not living your life, right? Also, if that person were to steer every conversation to what a great gift life is and how precious it is, then all his/her friends would start to hate his/her guts, wish he/she had died, and rightfully so.
*I really want to don a headband, so everyone knows who the overly aggressive guy is.
**There are no such annuls, and I may have slightly exaggerated the glory of my performance.
***I finally have a rock star dream and I'm in The Eagles, of all bands? Well, as nerdy as their music could be, at times, I'm sure they had as much fun as just about any other band in the 1970's.
***Email me if you're interested in checking out stuff I've been writing for online publications.