Intro rough draft for my next book....
They say to write about what you know. Something you’re an authority on. I suppose writing about how to roll the perfect joint doesn’t make for a best seller. I do know how to drink responsibly and not be the guy who ever gets kicked out of a bar for any reason. That’s not a topic. Just called being an adult. I am though the biggest klutz who’s survived more odd injuries/impediments than Lindsay Lohan’s career. This is a topic that I am an authority on: surviving the lemons life throws and coming out a better person with lemonade and a funny story. At the end of the day that’s all we have. Our stories.
I could start by telling you about one of the three black eyes I have survived in my life. None of which resulted from a fist. I could tell you about how during my 10 years bartending I accidentally cut my hands on glass more times than an old person cuts the cheese. I could tell you about my 19th birthday. When I broke my foot walking New York City. Yes. Walking. I could tell you about how I was hit by a car while crossing the street and not only survived but changed the world around me. I can tell you how I ended up with a few screws in my femur, a surgery that made me into the real life bionic man and left me with the uncanny ability to forecast the weather. We will circle back to that one later.
I suppose it’s best to start at the beginning. I was born with two left feet. That’s not a euphemism. I was the cutest pigeon-toed, flat-footed, bigheaded, shockingly pale-white little boy you ever did see. You would have to be blind not to see me. I heard people needed sunglasses to look at baby me. I was so damn white. Back talking about my two literally left-feet. I was forced to sleep with these braces on my feet. Not exactly “Forrest Gump” style but similar. This is what the podiatrist assured my parents would help fix my feet. A pair of shoes with a metal bar connecting them and keeping the toes pointed as far out as possible. This was understood as the only way to help me have a normal life meaning able to walk like other people. It was also before I knew that I would never be like anyone else and that was actually okay.
Every night I would go to bed with those heavy braces on my little meatloaf looking feet. As a toddler I thought there wasn’t anything heavier than that bar holding my feet in place. As an adult I realize that bar couldn’t have been more than 3-5 pounds. At bedtime my mom would tuck me into bed, which was a playpen because I was known for climbing out of the crib. I was the MacGyver of infants. What can I say? After mom hummed lullabies, setting me down in the pen and shut the light off, I was vehemently at work on an escape mission to find me real family, the rich one. I had lots of living to do.
I have never liked the word can’t or limitations others may put on one another. I also have never liked the word can’t. Many other kids in my situation would have thought, “I am in bed with heavy weight on my feet, maybe I should go to sleep.” Or feel bad about themselves for not being like everyone else. Not this guy. I took my legs, lied on my back rocking them back and forth in the middle of the night with my feet dangling over the side of the playpen. After like 20 tries the momentum of the weight of the braces allowed my little body to fly across the room, and limp with the bar holding my feet together, pointed out the living room. Once there my mother would scream out of fear saying, “you could have killed yourself.” I would try to protest my bedtime and every time my father would carry me back to bed telling me to stay put. This would continue for another few years. Luckily I never stopped exploring and we eventually realized that the silly feet-braces didn’t work.