Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, June 13, 2015

TOF and the Sidewalk

photo by Adam Elmquist, https://ssl.panoramio.com/user/2771343
About a week ago Thursday, which as all men know is Pepper Pot day at the Key City Diner, TOF and the Incomparable Marge journeyed thither for TOF to consume some of the nectar. Granted, it is not so fine a pepper pot as TOF's Mut once prepared from a shinbone, but one takes one's Pennsylfawnish pepper pot as one finds it.

 Alas, in walking toward the stairs, which are just to the right of the silver auto in the picture (not contemporary), TOF had an altercation. This is like a cation, but different. The curb leapt upward and seized his foot tripping him.

Yaaaaggh!
It's true that time seems to slow down in such moments. TOF can testify that several thoughts passed through his mind, one of which was "YAAAAGGH!" Disinclined to lose his manifold good looks to facio-cementitious interaction, TOF quickly extended his arms to break his fall. He also considered the difficulties in trimming "The Journeyman: In the Great North Woods" to publishable size. In fact, had he not been considering the latter, he might not have necessitated the former aforesaid yaaaaggh! Consequently, most of the 87,500 dwt. of TOFian mass came down on four or five square thumbs of palm, breaking his fall and who knows what else.

But from evil comes always some good, and TOF, now prone face down on the sidewalk, provided an occasion of virtue on the part of others. A woman (and her mother!) rushed to his side and cautioned him not to move, just as TOF rolled on his back and contemplated his next move, if any. The elderly woman seized his left arm and began to help him up, but the less elderly one told her to back off. She also forestalled the Marge, not an easy thing to do!

First she ascertained that TOF had not passed out, had a stroke, or anything of the sort, but had only been ambushed by the aforesaid dastardly curb (a/k/a kerb). Assured that all was mechanical and not pulmonary or neurological, she then took his right arm under the shoulder, directing her sister to do the same with the left. Don't pull the arm... Levitation being out of the question, the two of them leveraged TOF to a sitting position and directed he remain thus for a short time to get his bearings. Perhaps they thought he was dazed or disoriented. She asked TOF his name, and TOF considered several possibilities before judging the moment inauspicious for TOFian Humor™.

"I'm fine," TOF declared, leaping to his feet and performing an Irish jig. Well, okay, maybe not that. But he stood steadily and assured his rescuers that all was well. Later, in the diner -- look, he came for the pepper pot and he was darned well going to have some pepper pot -- the waitress told him that his rescuer was another regular at the diner and was a nurse at the nearby hospital, which explained the systematic and professional manner in which she had effected things. TOF had not been wearing a hat, but he lifts one metaphorically in her direction. Here's to ya! You stepped up when others might have passed by on the other side.

Later that day, TOF did not feel nearly as fine. His right hand had swollen to the size of the Hindenburg and had turned a delightful variety of colors. It hurt to flex his fingers, though he could in fact flex them. He feared raising his hand lest, like a balloon, it lift him from the ground. Perhaps someone with an MD after his name ought to look into things. So in the morning, he went to the doctor, who sent him across the hall to a radiologist, who took snapshots of his hand in sundry provocative poses. Like the gunslinger who mourned an injury to his gun hand, TOF cried, "It's mah writin' hand!" and hoped all would be well. Snapshots were taken using mysterious and scientifical "X" rays. (No film, though. Everything's digital nowadays, only fitting for x-raying one's digits.)

The abductor digiti minimi
TOF had lived his entire life until then without breaking a single solitary bone in his body, and the radiologist announced that this string remained, like his bones, unbroken. Yay. More or less, since it still hurt like a federal regulation. Ice packs, elevation, and bandage-braces were recommended and TOF went along with the gag.

And so, little writing has graced these past nine days. The scrapes and abrasions have now healed, the colors have returned to monochrome, and the dirigible has deflated; but the shin still hurts below the knee and the abductor digiti minimi on the right hand still aches. It hurts to scoop ice cream, which is probably just as well.  


9 comments:

  1. Glad to hear that you've survived your encounter with asphaltum. My wife performed much the same injury a year or so ago, with a worse outcome.

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  2. So sorry, glad no worse befell you, get well!

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  3. This is incredible. You've told the story of *falling down on the sidewalk* and made it fascinating.

    Are you a wizard?

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  4. Can't be. Wizards have the kerb retract level with the parking surface, then rise to a level even with the diner floor when the wizard steps onto them, thus avoiding facio-cementitious interactions.

    Hmmm, I've been nursing my own version of a rule-of-thumb for life, along the lines of, "If you find yourself trapped in a physics experiment, have mass on your side." Your version of the experiment appears to be a bad data point.

    Of course, there is a spiritual corollary, which is "If you find yourself trapped in a spiritual experiment, have the Mass on your side." Which I think admits of fewer exceptions.

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  5. Can't be. Wizards have the kerb retract level with the parking surface, then rise to a level even with the diner floor when the wizard steps onto them, thus avoiding facio-cementitious interactions.

    Hmmm, I've been nursing my own version of a rule-of-thumb for life, along the lines of, "If you find yourself trapped in a physics experiment, have mass on your side." Your version of the experiment appears to be a bad data point.

    Of course, there is a spiritual corollary, which is "If you find yourself trapped in a spiritual experiment, have the Mass on your side." Which I think admits of fewer exceptions.

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  6. Reminds me of C.S. Lewis' observation -- can't quite remember where -- that if, while walking on slippery pavement, one neglects God's Law of Prudence, one suddenly finds oneself obeying God's Law of Gravitation.

    Thanks be to God, you were spared the dreaded Distal Radial Fracture, which all too often results from such curbal ambushes!

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  7. I suppose you feel more inclined to talk of the pepper pot - is it anything like the pepper soup of Lloyd Alexander fame?

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  8. I finally got a chance to read this. My sympathies to TOF, and my wishes for a speedy recovery.

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