Tuesday, January 14, 2020

"The Game I Still Play"


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?

I win!

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?

2 comments:

Randy said...

What, no second opinion?

Maria said...

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