Breaking bones is all in a day's work for stuntmen and extreme athletes, but seeing how I was neither a stuntman nor an extreme athlete when I broke my arm - or ever - I didn't see it coming. Indeed, at age 13 the worst injury I'd ever suffered was a paper cut (I won't say it was such a severe paper cut that I almost lost my index finger, because it wasn't, but it definitely stung for a few seconds). The last thing I expected when I set out one Sunday afternoon to buy a Batman comic, then, was to return home not only with said comic, but also with a cast running from my wrist to my shoulder - keeping my elbow bent at a 90-degree angle - and a crippling fear of parking lots that persists to this day.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. To understand what transpired that late-spring afternoon at the old Kinney Drugs in Saranac Lake - the site of my accident - you have to remember what was going on in the larger world in June of 1996. I don't have a clue (as a 13-year-old Batman enthusiast, I didn't have time to follow the news), but according to Wikipedia, there was a bunch of boring and irrelevant political stuff happening - which goes to show, I guess, that you actually don't need to remember what was going on in the larger world to understand how I broke my arm.
Frankly, it was pretty simple: I bought my comic book at Kinney's then made the classic mistake of trying to read it as I rode my bike across the uneven parking lot. I figured I could get through the first and last pages before reaching the street - allowing me to spend the rest of the ride imagining what happened in the middle pages - but, alas, I figured wrong.
Before I finished a single panel, I felt my bike starting to wobble and looked up to see that I was barreling toward a parked car. In a desperate attempt to regain control, I carefully slid my comic into the orange plastic bag hanging from the handlebars, threw my arms in the air, and cried out for divine mercy as I toppled over. My left arm took the brunt of the crash landing and a quick visual inspection suggested what the x-rays would shortly confirm: I was hideously disfigured.
As you can imagine, the rest of the story consists almost entirely of me weeping and demanding more morphine, but in the end I was richly rewarded for my trouble: I finally had a legitimate excuse for spending all summer lying around the house reading comics instead of playing outside.
Dan Leonidas makes shallow observations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org