Duplicate and Elaborate

This is a story about a girl with nerves of steel. Maybe just bones reinforced by steel, and nerves of … (Dan, what is something kind of wimpy?) … a wet tissue. (Ew Dan, that’s gross.)

It is a story about this:

My elbow, which I broke in a freestyle walking competition six years ago. Though the night led to surgery and 6 months of physical therapy, I still think of it fondly.

I blame many factors for the broken bones. It could have been the increased confidence I felt after spending the afternoon at a fancy gym with a free trial pass. It could have been the documentary on krumping that I watched later that evening. Or it could have been the beer.

While walking home from a party, my 7′ roommate wowed the crowd with a heel click. Granted, he is a 7′ tall basketball player who gets major air, but I was not to be outdone. I’d been practicing my freestyle walking, planting on curbs and the occasional lamp post, and I thought, “this is my time.”

I took a running start, park bench in my sights.

I missed the park bench.

I landed in a completely horizontal layout, elbow cracking pavement first, head cracking second.

I was deemed the winner since my roommate could not duplicate and elaborate, the first rule of a freestyle walk-off. Then I went to the ER, where I sat for hours across a waiting room from a guy with a gunshot wound. He was called back first, the jerk.

The friend who drove me to the ER sends me a little note at this time every year, and he never fails to mention his favorite part of the story — that while in the exam room after being given painkillers, I threw up my juice and a whole mushroom, a remnant from the quiche I’d eaten 12 hours earlier. Krumping makes me so excited I fail to chew my food.

I told most people that I tripped. Though I had been a dancer for over 20 years, most people accepted this explanation immediately.

At a follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, he took x-rays to examine the 3 mm thick metal plate he told me was attached to my humerus with 4 teeny tiny screws. He clicked on the x-ray screen:

Then turned to me and said “oops.”

It was just a matter of too many patients to remember, but you can imagine my surprise at seeing two gigantic 3″ screws embedded in my arm. I’ve since grown quite fond of my bionic elbow, though, it never sets off airport metal detectors like I hope it might.

Dear 7′ roommate of yesteryear — you know who you are — I’m ready to defend my title. Better practice your heel clicks, chump.

And to all the friends there that night, thanks for having my back, er, elbow. xo!

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