What I'm Reading

Stardust by Joseph Kanon
Coming out in the fall, the next novel by the author of The Good German. It's so good I kinda want to lick the pages.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Maybe Baby wrote a blog about stupid injuries and asked people to write in with their own stories. Now, as you all know, I am the clumsiest person on earth. But while my embarrassing injuries are too numerous to count, one stands out above the others. I was originally going to just email him the story, but I realized I never shared it with all of you. And you know how I love offering up my personal humiliation for your amusement.

About 5 years ago, before Polly Poppins had Secret Lulu, she decided that before she had kids of her own she wanted to be a good godmother and take her six-year-old goddaughter to Disney World. Mr. Poppins, having a highly developed sense of self-preservation, wanted no part of that. She was on her own. So she convinced me that I should take my godson Jeremy, who was eight at the time, and we'd make a trip out of it. Okay, so it actually took no convincing. My sister Michelle didn't have grandkids yet, so she was still putting up stiff competition for the "cool aunt" title, and I had something to prove. Also, I have a deep-seated love for Epcot that completely baffles Polly. But that's another story.

The time came for the trip, we both headed back to Rhode Island to pick up the kids (who, by the way, had only one thing in common: they were both notoriously difficult) and we were on our way. Through the combined efforts of flight delays and really bad directions that got us hopelessly lost, we didn't make it to the hotel until 2 in the morning. So the next morning, we're rarin' to go. All we've seen of Orlando is the rental car, that same tollboth we accidentally went through four times, and our hotel rooms. We've got a full day at the Magic Kingdom ahead of us.

And that's when it happened. I had just gotten out of the shower, and I was putting on sunscreen in the bathroom. Now, until this point, I had always thought that my body was incapable of doing a split. But it turns out that's not entirely true. See, if my legs start to slide in opposite directions on the bathroom floor, and my hands are slippery so I can't grab onto the counter, it turns out that I can go all the way down into a full straddle. It's not a good idea, mind you, and there were noises that can only be described as popping and tearing, but it's possible. I know it sounds terrible, but believe me when I tell you that the pain was far, far worse than it sounds. Even now, I get queasy just thinking about it.

So now I'm sprawled on the bathroom floor, completely naked, in excruciating pain, and I can't get up. I'm stuck there. I can just reach a hand towel, which I use to cover my juicy bits, and I yell for Jeremy to "go get Polly. Tell her it's very important that she come immediately." She, thank God, had the foresight to get us adjoining rooms. So Polly comes to check on me, but she can only open the door a couple of inches, because it's bumping up against the top of my head. And oh, right, I can't move. I explain what happened, and Polly, ever the pragmatist, tells me, "Look, here's the deal. Normally I would call an ambulance. But since you're naked, I'm going to let you make that call..."

I blessedly have blocked out the details on exactly how we got me off the floor, but I do remember Polly putting my underwear on for me the first few days of the trip. I could only lift my feet, when sitting, about an inch and a half off the floor, and only one at a time, so she had to hook the underwear around my feet, and then, since I couldn't bend, pull them up above my knees so I could reach them to pull them the rest of the way up. Jeremy had to put on my socks and shoes for me, because my feet were so out of reach they may as well have been in another zip code. With the help of a heavy-duty prescription painkiller Polly just so happened to have in her bag, and enough Tylenol Arthritis Relief to cause permanent liver damage, I managed to make it to Disney that day. But it wasn't pretty. And well, let's just say Polly and Jeremy were kind enough to take turns pushing the wheelchair...

I had to move so slowly that a full week later, after I was back in New York, I was heading to the subway one morning and an old woman with a cane, I kid you not, cruised right past me. Injury, here's insult. Nice to meet you.