Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I remember, once, laying (lying?) on my back and trying to scream. I'd taken a fall, about twelve feet is all, but flat on my back. I couldn't breathe and I wanted someone to know. It's hard to scream if you can't breathe. The pathetic squeaks that came out never carried past my own ears.

A couple of years later, frostbite. An arrogant teenager it, seemed stupid to put on gloves just to water the neighbor's rabbits. 17 degrees below zero fahrenheit with a stiff wind... when I got home, my fingers looked like they were made from candle wax and clicked strangely when I slammed them together. My mother had me slowly thaw my hands in lukewarm water. It felt like it was boiling as feeling returned. I promised myself I wouldn't scream, but I couldn't stop the little animal whimpers coming from my throat.

Learning sword and buckler, somehow-- still not sure how it happened-- the ring finger on my left hand was crushed. ICES--Ice, Compression, Elevation, Splint-- didn't cut it. Went to the doctor. He said it wouldn't hurt as he heated a straightened paper clip under a Bic lighter to melt through the fingernail to relieve the pressure. It was a lie, but he was sprayed in blood and pus for the lie so, in retrospect, it was okay.

Run on a broken fibula. Liver punches and testicle kicks. Broken ribs and broken fingers. Lacerated eye. As the man says, "Life is pain, Princess. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell something."

Living is a privilege, and sometimes we pay a price to get here.


  1. I raise my glass to you sir.

  2. "Pain we can help. But for hurt, there's nothing we can do." Harry Connick Jr. (song lyric). Pain might leave scars but at least you heal.

  3. Hi Rory,
    I can relate to these stories. Once I crushed my fingers under a huge rock that pinned my hand to a cement wall. When I got them out there were no broken bones but the pain welled up and seemed to be getting worse and worse. I looked at my son hovering over me with concern and said "I am going to weep now" HEH. I made good on that and as soon as I did the pain flowed out of me. Learned something about the purpose of weeping that day!



    Just found this interesting and maybe relevant.


  5. Whenever I experience any kind painful or uncomfortable medical or dental procedure, I always think about the traumatic injuries I've received over the years. There seems to be a huge difference between getting something bashed, smashed, ripped, or broken unexpectedly versus knowing that something painful is about to happen. "This is going to hurt" seems so much worse!

  6. "Living is a privilege."

    How the world would change if people believed that... It would be a better place for sure.

    Thanks Rory!

  7. Anonymous2:12 PM

    What's that they say ...much of our life is determined by how we learn to deal with loss. I think broken body parts go in the loss category. Everybody who lives long enough has some sort of list. Even the emotional scars just have to think of them as down payments on the good stuff.

    Related ... Pain is all in your head. I'm not a big Sports Illustrated fan. (OK...maybe I've picked up an occasional swimsuit edition over the years). Anyway, someone left the August 2011 SI in the lunchroom a few weeks ago. There's a pretty comprehensive studying within of how pain may function in human performance.

    Posted here if anyone's curious...

    -Billy G.