When I was 11 or 12 I began my experience of going to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. In 6th grade, I was asked to go to a Bar Mitzvah of a girl who was a year above me. I felt not only honored, but super cool, as I was the only 6th grader going. The service was in the morning, and the party was later that evening, so the time in between needed to be filled. My mother arranged for me to go over to one of my friends houses that was also invited so she could do errands and stuff. (I mean, I guess, I have no clue…)
My friend (we’ll call her Zoe for the sake of anonymity) just moved into a monster house in a fancy part of my childhood town, so the house was pretty empty. Especially the basement. So here’s the math: an empty Saturday afternoon, an empty house, an even sparser basement, and two friends. Add two pairs of roller blades and you’ve got the equation for a brilliant 4 or 5 hours.
Zoe and I strapped our roller blades and began zooming around the concrete cellar. No longer was our Saturday mundane, it was filled with purpose zig-zagging in between the metal poles keeping the house up, kicking a soccer ball to one another and laughing about nothing in particular.
Zoe and I were gliding all through our grey concrete kingdom when she kicked the soccer ball to me as I was going backwards. I dribbled the ball in between my feet for 2-3 seconds when I literally rolled into a metal poll, frantically grasped at the air and fell back, my right wrist and arm falling underneath the weight of my body and hitting the ground first. The first thing I felt after I fell was warmness all over my body. Then a searing pain set in and I just lay there screaming at the top of my lungs for a good 20 seconds. (Side note: my scream is one of the most heinous, banshee like shrills that no one really needs to hear. It awakens the dead, causes blood pressures to rise and can communicate with whales off the coast of Nova Scotia.)
Zoe’s mom appeared at the top of the stairs and looked down at me crying my fucking eyes out on the floor. I think I recognized the look in her eyes as terror. Not in the sense of: oh this poor kid, but more like: oh my god how do I get this kid to quit screaming/her parents are going to kill me. After I had given my vocal cords a sufficient exercise, Zoe and her mom helped me up and we made our way to the kitchen to put some ice on it.
My mother was called, and I sniffed and moaned until she got to Zoe’s house. Since Zoe’s mom and my mom were friends, they chit chatted and laughed for a bit before having to deal with the invalid: me.
My mom looked at me, and asked me if I could turn my wrist; it was her way to prove to herself and me that I was fine. I got half way through the wrist twist I yelped the way I imagine Old Yeller did when he got shot. My mom sorta got impatient, and then she was like: you’ll be ok Margaret. Just stay here a while longer because I need to run some more errands and catch the 4 o’clock mass. Catch the 4 o’clock mass? What the fuck? I sniffled and felt betrayed and also understood, because after all, we were catholic and to put up a fuss about my Mom going to church would be like saying I thought I was greater than God, in which case I would get struck down by lightning, die and get dragged down to hell. I certainly didn’t want to go anywhere besides home, so I sucked it up and tried to play video games with a pillow and ice packs under my right hand. (that went over really well, obviously.)
When I did get picked up later in the afternoon, my parents wisely decided to not let me go to the Bar Mitzvah. Instead, my father convinced my mom that we go to the hospital. We sat in the waiting room for what seemed like forever.
Finally my name was called and the doctor walked my mother and I down an empty corridor with sterile lighting. We got to the end of the hall and we were brought into a huge room with one single table in the center of it. The doctor asked I sit up on the table and began speaking to me in a saccharine tone trying to loosen me up. If there is one thing I can’t stand (even as a child) is when people talk down to others, no matter what the age. I was already in a pissy mood and this douche bag is trying to pretend like the world is all sunshine and lollipops.
The evil doctor then proceeded to try and tickle me to see if that would distract me from the matter and hand. I curtly said: don’t touch me. That made my mom uncomfortable and she said briskly: Margaret. Like: Margaret, mind your manners. This asshole is trying to tickle me and be weird and you’re concerned me being snippy to him reflects on your parenting skills? Bullshit.
So seeing I wasn’t taking to any of his tactics he read and studied in school like 50 years before, the pig doctor said ok, Margaret. On the count of three I’m going to readjust your wrist, ok? Me: ok. fine.
So he was holding my wrist with both his hands and went: one…*CRACK* and re-set my wrist. That mother fucker didn’t even wait til 3! If I thought I was in pain when I actually broke my wrist…this was about 20x worse. I didn’t even do the shrill banshee scream, more like a deeper yelp. All set! The doctor exclaimed cheerfully. If I had the power, I’d have snapped his stupid neck right then and there.
So I guess the bottom line is: don’t roller blade in a basement. That’s just dumb.