Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

07 August 2007

Flips, Trips and Jumping To Conclusions

Did I tell you about the time I broke my shoulder? So stupid. It was back in 2000. I was at work, which in this case was when I was flying for PHI, based at the airport in Houma, Louisiana. We worked seven days on/seven off; the company provided housing. After a day of flying, there wasn't much to do but sit around and eat, two things I'd grown very good at.

I was out jogging one night...one very humid night. Ran from the pavement onto some grass that was wet with dew and slick as ice. My tractionless foot slipped out from under me and my legs started spinning and arms started flailing like I was in some sort of cartoon. I started falling forward and knew I was going down. Yes, it happened in slow-motion.

Now, my intent was to tuck-and-roll, do a little tumble, come up the other side and keep on jogging. Ahhh...but it didn't quite work out that way. Due to (pick one): 1) Age; 2) Weight; 3) Lack of Agility; 4) All of the Above, my left shoulder slammed directly into the ground with the full force of my 180 pounds behind it. Yowsa! My clavicle snapped like a twig. (Later, the x-ray showed it broken in two places, forming a little luminescent "Z" on the film. The orthopeodic surgeon was impressed! And my left shoulder is slightly narrower than my right; makes my shirts fit funny.)

Now buddy, you talk about pain. I just thought I'd experienced pain in my life. Hah. Never again would I complain about a mere migraine headache or...oh, kick to the groin. I do believe I could now endure the pain of a gunshot wound, although Lord please don't let me find that out. Broken heart? Pfft- piece of cake.

So who says exercise isn't dangerous! You won't find me engaging in such risky activity ever again. Exercise of any kind, I mean.

My little stunt surprisingly put me out of commission for the better part of six weeks until I was able to raise my left arm and manipulate the overhead throttles of the helicopter I was flying at the time (BO105). Luckily it was my left arm, and I'm right-handed so I wasn't totally out of commission if you know what I mean. It was a major inconvenience nonetheless. My young, athletic friends gleefully ribbed me of course, as is required of them whenever I do something completely dumb.

And I did feel pretty stupid. It made me angry. What should have been a simple tumbling maneuver, and would have been for a younger, more agile person ended up being an embarassing fiasco for me. It made me realize that I was not only not a kid anymore, but a not-in-very-good-shape adult as well. I went my whole life up to that point, 45 years without so much as a broken bone or even a bloody nose.

So I'm noodling around YouTube today and I came across this video. These guys call themselves the Kings of Gravitation. Evidently they put on shows where they display their tumbling, flipping and pseudo-breakdancing skills. And they are "mad skills," as the kids say. Below is a video taken at one of their practice sessions. There are other videos on YouTube of their shows, which are pretty cool. Keep an eye out for the little fuzzy-haired kid. He's just awesome. Check 'em out!

Okay, so it's just a bunch of tumbling and jumping. But watch those kids go! How much energy and stamina does it take to do that! More than I have, that's for sure. Especially the kid that tumbled his way down the grassy area over and over and over and over... I have a problem just walking around my yard without tripping (especially if I happen to be chewing gum at the time). So these guys are flat amazing.

Despite my previous reservations as to the inherent risk in exercising, maybe it's time to start doing it again. My weight is down, I feel good, hardly drinking at all compared to my time in Honduras. I've always liked gymnastics, especially the sort in that video above. I may never be in good enough physical shape to do that kind of stuff, but at least it gives me something to shoot for. (Just no jogging, okay?)

Err, never mind. Did I tell you about the time I fell out of the tree and dislocated my ankle? No, not when I was a kid, when I was 46. Yep, less than a year after the broken-shoulder incident. You'd think I would've learned but I did not. Maybe I just better stick to the exercise I'm most familiar with and good at: Jumping to conclusions.


Anonymous said...

Where are you in the video??
--Miguel de manicotti

Bob Barbanes said...

Behind the camera, where I should be, thankavrymch! I'll be in the...uhh...next one...Yeah, that's it! (How are ya, Mike? Is it manicotti night? You the Chief Pilot/Cook/Bottlewasher-emptier now?)

Anonymous said...

Actually, on this trip we have a pro chef, son of the "building blocks" planner. He has been fabulous, but we had to give him time to fish, so I got volunteered (again!).....M de M