I hurt my foot, exercising.
It was entirely my fault. I was doing the “Step” series, where you step up on a box – “Left foot, right foot” – then you step down – “Left foot, right foot.” Repeat.
I am supposed to do ten repetitions. But my sagacious “Inner Voice” says,
“You’ve had months of bronchitis. Do six.”
Being stubborn – and showing off for my trainer –
I do ten.
Though the last four feel “funny.”
Now I am unable to put weight on my left foot and the thing’s puffed up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. My sagacious “Inner Voice” heartlessly says,
“You do ten, you get that!”
Now I lie nervously on a gurney – is there any other way to lie on a gurney? – in a cubicle at Saint John’s Hospital “Emergency”, waiting for the X-ray to be read to see if my fat foot’s actually broken.
Which I am certain it is.
Not because I am a stealth orthopedist, which I am not, or a congenital pessimist, which I am.
But because that’s the game that I play.
And always have.
(If by “always” you accept the approximated “since I was four.”)
17 Claxton Boulevard, Toronto.
A lot of kids on our street. Neighbor Tommy Sullivan makes up a game.
First of the week, we put our names on small slips of paper and drop them into an old Kleenex box. On Friday, the name that’s drawn out wins a bag of much-enjoyed cookies, possibly Dare’s Chocolate Chips. (I don’t remember because I was four.)
Here’s the deal.
The moment I drop in my name, I go,
“I am not going to win.”
To the chagrin of my much put-upon brother. It was great self-control and fear of our mother that kept him from retaliating.
And who wouldn’t have? “I am not going to win.” “I am not going to win.” – through five entire days, including “Lights out” at bedtime? With any sense, I’d have pummeled myself!
Friday finally comes. And wouldn’t you know it?
Wrong lesson learned:
When I proclaim what I don’t want to happen, what I do want to happen will then magically transpire.
This should not reasonably occur. Outcomes ought to be random. And most likely they are.
Still, I persist with this subterfuge.
My entire life.
Like I am “King of the Universe.” And through this hocus-pocus procedure,
I get to Decide.
Ergo, “My foot’s definitely broken.”
So it definitely won’t be.
That is so. Stupid.
The X-ray comes back.
“There is no evidence of fracture to your foot.”
And there you have it. At least twice – when I was four and when I was seventy-four – the game that shouldn’t have worked worked.
What are my chances of giving it up?