persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


When I was younger, from age four to about six I used to bump and ding myself frequently.It was not due to taking dares or risks. I just did, and my mother was always wondering if I recalled getting hurt; I would notice these things later. For me, this was the “Age of Scabs.” I felt down and got back and and continued to play.

And when I was dating my wife to be and she would arrive at her apartment, she would have a bruise on her side which stemmed from her job as a bike messenger, and only because someone opened up the taxicab door and she could not stop and flew over it. Still, the bruises like this and other weren't noticed until much later. Knocked down, she got back up. She did have quite a few incidents where she hit something and bounced off car hoods.

Years later...

Comes my own son, whimpering to his Mother that he couldn’t sleep because his arm hurt. It was four in the morning. He was five, almost six. Poked in the place he complained about--his wrist--he would just say “OW!” Loudly. His left arm.

Taken to a Doctor. She poked, handled his hand and said, “It’s probably not broken.” Doctors are authority, aren’t they?, thought Giani. “I question authority.”

“Leo,” said Giani, “do you want your arm x-rayed?” “Yes,” he said.

Diagnoses: Wrist broken in two places. Cast put on, with the usual annoying things that casts do: itching, skin warp, weird statements written on cast....

Some months later. I wake up, at some ungodly morning hour and place the kid on the bus. It is an ungodly morning hour because I get to sleep by 3 AM, working the night shift at the post office. By agreement, I end the kid to school. And Giani gets to sleep.

A phone call later that morning. I wake Giani up. “Guess what Leo did. The school nurse think he’s broken his arm. The other one.”

Giani glared at me, scowling “It’s your turn!” And went back to sleep. Leo had fallen off a set of monkey bars, which were military grade and donated by the local Air Force Base in Dover.
New cast. New skin warps. New silly words written on the cast.

A few weeks later...

Leo developed a fever, reaching 105 degrees. His lymph nodes under his arm were swollen. We asked him if he got bitten by the cat,* no, but he did get bitten by a goat.

At hospital Leo is shivering under a blanket in the Emergency room. The attendants try to get blood out of his arms. Normally they would have let it go, but the idea of a goat bite was a novelty to them and the concern was to find if the infection was previously unknown.

Giani held him firmly.

And the needle poked the skin and vein in and Leo was so tense that only a few drops were taken. “We’re going to need to use the other arm. Hearing that, Leo chomped down on Giani’s wrist.

It hurt, she said. “I began to cry, because...” And the attendants had to pry his mouth open forcing their fingers onto both sides his cheeks.

“Leo, if you don’t co operate, I’m going to have to leave.” Leo indicated he would not co operate. Giani left. She sits in the waiting room weeping, She began , hearing shouts of “You’re hurting me. Stay away! Leave me alone.” She feels really out of place. People are looking at her. A few moments later, two orderlies are appearing through the doors and say “We can’t get any blood out of him. And he keeps hitting us with his cast.”

Let’s see, thought my wife, he weighs forty pounds, he’s got a broken arm, he has a temperature of 105 degrees and he fought off two hospital, he’s not going to get kidnapped...

A prescription for antibiotics is given. He did get bitten by a cat, and a goat.

Giani phone calls my Mom. My mother recalls my brother Jack breaking both his arms, four bones with the two wrists. He fell out of a tree. He comes home and decides to go to the Phillies game in Philadelphia that evening. . His friends will drive and he will come back and deal with the broken bones, commenting “All I ask is that nobody touch me.” I don’t recall what game it was, or if his favorite team won. He waited it out and visited the doctor in the morning.

Giani called the genetics counselor and asked what was up. The answer was a condition called “Hyper-myelinazation of the large nerves.” It isn’t that we don’t feel pain, we can ignore it. It’s a dominate trait. It explains why when I was in three totaled car accidents (including a roll over), I was able to get out of the car and walk away and wait for the ambulance.

So when I watch a movie where someone is beaten and they get up and get up again and again until they defeat the foe, I know I understand why.


* another story entirely...


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