Broken Bones and Priorities

Crutches had unintended but beneficial consequences

Broken Bones and Priorities
Photo by Appic / Unsplash

Crutches had unintended but beneficial consequences

The impact threw me from the motorcycle into the air in the opposite direction of the way we had been traveling.

Physics is funny like that!

I landed on my right leg, which snapped like an unlucky baseball bat in the hands of an angry Bo Jackson who just struck out.

Things were worse for my friend Tim, who lay screaming on the ground because the car’s chrome trim had peeled off and sliced into his right leg making just a big mess.

A few minutes before all this, my friend's brother had given him a motorcycle for his birthday.

Just one catch: No brakes.

Let me say that again: There was no viable way of stopping the bike absent the tried and true Flintstone Method.

To be fair, his brother had said not to drive it until he repaired the brakes.

But we were eighth-graders and that's just nonsense.

Tim had the good sense to put on a helmet. I had neither good sense nor a helmet.

On the way back home, there's a slow car in front. So, Tim did what any reasonable person riding a motorcycle without brakes would do: he tailgated her. And just when she was ready to turn left into her driveway, he passed her …

On the LEFT!

I wound up with the obligatory broken leg while Tim scored the next several hours in surgery.

But as a bonus, he also got a cast and crutches.

And we both get to hobble around school for the next several months.

Besides building up my skinny arms to just slightly less skinny arms, there were positive consequences for having a broken leg in the 8th grade:

First, my grades improved dramatically. And I am not being dramatic! I was drafted, inducted, or whatever you call it, into the Junior Beta Club. That was a first. (But after my leg healed, the good grades didn’t last).

Secondly, I got to leave class early to avoid the maddening rush of crazed middle schoolers in the hallways between classes. And we all know what a chaotic horror that can be.

Finally, girls started to notice me. OK, I made that part up.

But there was one red-headed girl who felt sorry for me and saw her chance to also escape early from class by offering to carry my books.

Here’s what’s clear to me now: When I could no longer do what I wanted, I did what I was supposed to be doing. I studied instead of being distracted. And that's probably a good way to live. Focus on the things we should be doing while eliminating distractions.

Just avoid motorcycles with no brakes.