Writer’s Workshop: Silly Me…

Image by P Tate from Pixabay

I managed to break my right arm twice before I turned 10, and I was to blame both times.

We lived in Indianapolis in the late ’50’s, so I would have been around 3 at the time. Half of our basement was finished: It had some tall cabinets (about 8 feet) at one end, with a shorter (about 6 feet) cabinet in the middle, and the floor was finished in hexagonal tile. I used to climb up on the shorter cabinet and from there up to the top of one of the taller ones and stay up there for a while before climbing back down.

Now, before you ask: I don’t remember exactly how I was able to do this. When you’re 3 years old, you do a lot of things and can’t explain how (and more importantly, why) you did them. Anyway…

One day I was in the basement with one of the kids in the neighborhood, and we were climbing the cabinets. I got to the top first, and when he tried to get up on the cabinet himself, he knocked me off. (I’m sure it was an accident, though there’s an apocryphal story that I stood up there and declared "I’M SUPERMAN!" and my friend wanted to see if I could fly.) Anyway, I fell 8 feet, landed on my right arm and broke it. I spent a couple of months in a cast.

The second time, I was in first grade. Jim, Kip, and I were horsing around shortly before bed, which involved running around the apartment. We were told on several occasions not to run around the apartment, and of course we ignored it, because we were kids and thus very stupid. On one of the trips, I slipped on a throw rug and went down on my arm. Hard.

My parents were, of course, very angry with me, not only because I had disobeyed them and maimed myself in the process, but because they had better things to do than sit at the Emergency Room at St. Francis Hospital on a Tuesday night, which, as everybody knows, was when The Red Skelton Show was on TV.

I loike to think that was the reason my parents never had any more kids…

21 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Silly Me…

  1. The first thing I thought when I read that you broke your arm twice was, “your poor parents!”…I’m sure you didn’t enjoy it either but you’re right, hospital visits are no fun for anyone involved!


  2. Impressive! Your post reminds me how surprised I sometimes am that any of us survived to adulthood.
    I have three sons. Oldest broke his arm shortly after turning 11. Middle broke his ankle shortly after turning 11. I almost wanted to wrap the youngest in bubble wrap shortly after he turned 11.


  3. Ouch! Boys always climbed stuff, went into puddles and basically got into trouble. I was scared of heights so I never climbed anything even a tree. Well, I climbed just a little bit onto a tree a few times but never high. I guess I am lucky (??) since it is hard for me to break a bone due to my Ehlers-Danlos but spraining is another matter. My dad would have hit the roof if it was during Bonanza or The Fugitive.


    1. It’s built into a boy’s lizard brain to perform death-defying acts of derring-do (that just sounded good). And yes, do not under any circumstances interrupt your parents’ TV time…


  4. John,

    Some kids are just hard headed. That’s why that part of you never sustained injury, just your arm. πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving, my friend! May the Lord bless you and yours this day and always. I’m grateful for our friendship. It has meant so much to me, more than I can ever say. Enjoy your time gathered with friends and family.


    1. On an early episode of “Two and a Half Men,” Charlie had to rush Jake to the hospital because he hurt himself, and Alan said “Being injured is practically a young boy’s job,” or words like that….

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