We spent our tax refund on our nice, new, flat-screen TV. I love that TV.
To change the subject...
Pardon my whining, but I want to tell you about some of the adventures of my youth. I've hit that time of life where cashiers in chain restaurants give you the senior discount without even asking your age. Damn brats! I don't feel as if my youth was misspent, but I have had a few accidents that have left me with arthritis in most of my joints. Some of them were even funny. After one of them a friend kept asking me, "Well, have you seen the humor in it yet?"
When I was around 19 or 20 I was taking horseback riding lessons. We learned to saddle and bridle our mounts (even how to make a horse open its mouth to receive the bridle); how to clean out hooves, which included making a half-ton horse raise its foot (you lean against its leg); how to groom them; even how to catch a horse in the field (you use a bucket of oats); and we learned how to jump. The horses were adorable. I just wanted to hug every one of them. The owners of the stable had set up jumps in the large field and that's where I was riding Tantivvy that day. Tantivvy, bless his heart, was a very unpredictable horse, and he showed it right after we had gone over a jump. About a stride or two after we cleared the jump, Tantivvy decided to make a sharp left. He turned and I didn't. I went flying off the saddle and landed flat on my back a few feet away. The fall knocked me out briefly and I woke with my instructor's dog, Jobyna, licking my face. I petted Jobyna and lay there for a few moments and then I got up and got back on the horse, which is what you're supposed to do when you fall off. I didn't think much of it. Falls happen. And I was young and indestructible. The next morning I tried to get out of bed and I couldn't do it. Every muscle in my body was stiff, almost rigid, even those muscles that allow you to wiggle your ears. I called in sick and stayed home and hobbled around the house when I wasn't flat on my back in the bed. As I told Richard a little while back, I am now at that age where the adventures of my youth are coming back to bite me in the ass.
The second most spectacular accident I had was a fall down a flight of stairs. The night before this one I had been thoroughly enjoying myself at a cast party. I was working on a play at the historic Dock Street Theater in Charleston (SC). The play, if I remember correctly, was Chapter Two. My job was stage manager. I got to tell all the backstage people what to do and when to do it. We held the cast party the night before the closing matinee. I got home late, of course, and possibly a little tipsy. I didn't crawl out of bed until about 11:00 am the next day. For some reason I didn't own a pair of slippers and I had put on a pair of tennis socks before I made my way downstairs. About three steps down the recently-refinished oak stairs, my feet went out from under me and I bounced the rest of the way down on my butt. Somehow, perhaps by divine intervention, I made myself turn a little to the right so that I wasn't bouncing off each step on my spine. I landed at the bottom, shuddering with pain (I didn't cry until later). My housemate helped me up and I walked around a bit, then had breakfast and went to the theater for the matinee. Before the curtain went up we were all in the habit of sitting in the greenroom and chatting. I didn't feel like joining them that day, so the union tech came looking for me. Pete was one of my good friends and he asked why I was sitting backstage in the dark. It was then that I started to cry. Pete sat in my lap and put his arms around me and I told him all about the fall. He was very comforting. He went back to the greenroom and explained my absence and throughout the afternoon actors and techs were coming to me and saying nice and sympathetic things. After the performance we had to strike the set; I didn't feel like helping, but I did want to stick around for the usual celebration. Pete sent me off to rest, so I went out to the lobby (the theater was closed by then) and lay on one of the carpeted landings of the staircase. When I got home I was curious to see if I had a bruise, so I took a hand mirror into the bathroom and got a look at my butt. Holy cow! there was a bruise the same size, shape, and color of a large ripe eggplant. There must have been a pint of blood under that patch of skin. I felt my stomach turn over. I went to the doctor the next day and when he saw the bruise it shocked him too. I got X-rayed and sent home to do as little as possible for the rest of the week. I spent the week on my nice cushy sofa with my legs propped up on the arm to take pressure off my back. I read a lot and watched a lot of TV. This was the accident that my friend later asked if I'd seen the humor. I did eventually.
My most embarrassing accident took place in a Market Street bar in Charleston. (This is already getting good, isn't it?) My usual drink is gin and tonic, but a friend of mine talked me into having tequila and tonic. It was tasty and went down smoothly, so I had a couple more. This "friend" had the bartender mix them almost half and half, so soon I was pretty well snockered. It started getting late and I was getting sleepy, so I got up to leave. I had to take one step down to cross the dance floor and just as I did, I fell directly onto my knees. I went straight from standing to kneeling in a split second. I hauled myself up, got in my car, and drove myself home to my apartment. Yes, I was still drunk. I was aware of this, so I drove as carefully as I could and at the speed limit and made it home safely. (I never drove drunk again.) I don't remember much about the hangover, but I'm sure there was one. A week or so later my knees were still hurting so I went to the doctor and when I told him how I had come to hurt them, he had a good hearty laugh, prescribed some steroids and gave me some exercises to do.
I've only been that drunk one time since and I had a designated driver. It was one night in January of 1986 after I had been accepted at the University of Washington for library school. My friends decided to hold an extended happy hour for me at our favorite Friday-afternoon-after-work bar on Folly Beach. I downed gin and tonics like they were ice water on a hot summer night. David drove me home afterward and I didn't get out of bed the next day until about 2:00 pm. The hangover was so bad I swore I'd never have another one and I haven't. I didn't give up alcohol altogether, but I cut way back and now hangovers are a thing of my past. They just weren't worth it. Oh, yeah, no accidents happened to me that weekend.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this brief look into my past. Tell me your stories in the comments.