Secretary of Bizarre Cosmic Injuries

I finally have something in common with a President of the United States. No, I have not mastered bodysurfing or started wearing stovepipe hats. Like Joe Biden, I have broken my foot while playing with a dog. (Note: it is NEVER the dog’s fault when this happens. I am confident Joe agrees with me on this.)

I was thrilled to have this in common with the next President, so I texted my kids about it.

Me: JOE BIDEN BROKE HIS FOOT PLAYING WITH HIS DOG

Me: #notjustme

Daughter: I bet he didn’t do it twice *three laughing emojis*

Yes, as my daughter loves to point out, I have two dog related broken foot incidents. Not exactly fun, but I think I can use the experiences to help the Biden administration.

The first one was when my kids were young. I had just put a frozen pizza in the oven. I never preheat for frozen pizza—I just put it in and start the oven. As the oven warmed up, I smelled oven cleaner and realized I must have missed some when cleaning the oven earlier that day. The smell didn’t seem like it would enhance the pizza flavor, (also-would the fumes somehow get in the pizza and poison us?) so I pulled the pizza out and turned off the oven. I wiped the oven out a few more times to be sure to get all the cleaner, then turned it back on, put the pizza in, and restarted the timer.

There were no oven cleaner fumes the second time, but we did smell burned pizza. I had forgotten that the pizza would be thawing while I wiped out the oven, and I hadn’t shortened the cooking time accordingly. Smoke, burnt cheese, black crust, etc.

  The kids were starting to wonder if they’d ever get dinner. To keep them occupied while the second pizza was cooking, we played tag. I chased them to the back of house and tagged them, then turned around and ran to front of house while they chased me. The dog was on both teams, running back and forth with us. On one pass when the kids were “it”, I ran into the dog and fell. Have you ever had the kind of break where it seemed like you heard it from the inside? It was like that. From the pain and the sound, I was pretty sure it was broken. I wanted to yell, but I tried to be as calm as possible so the kids wouldn’t freak out. (The dog was uninjured. Yay!)

I was lying there trying to look like everything was fine when the pizza timer went off again.

“Don’t burn this one too, Mommy” said my daughter, looking down at me.

Sighing at the lack of sympathy, I got up and hobbled to the stove. I cut the pizza into bite size pieces, then sent the kids to their kiddie table with their plates.

By then the foot hurt too much to even limp on it, so I hopped to the couch. I called my mom, then sat there waiting for help to arrive. A few minutes later the kids came to the living room. Clearly their “read the room” skills had not developed yet, because they asked for more pizza.

“I’m sorry. You’ll have to wait for Granny to get here. I can’t get off the couch right now because I hurt my foot.”

“Granny! Yay!” they replied, clearly not the least bit concerned about me.

(This proved to be a trend with my kids. Years later, I fell off the monkey bars. Did they worry? Not at all. My daughter continued swinging across, stopping only to hang over me and ask, “Are you dead down there, Mom?”)

My husband got home soon after and took me to the emergency room. I then got to tell the front desk person, the admitting nurse, the x-ray tech, the doctor, and what seemed like 14 other hospital employees that I had tripped over a dog. Super fun.

I had to wear a walking boot and use crutches for about six weeks. Telling the “tripped over a dog” story for six weeks turned out to be even less fun than telling my mom that I had gotten hurt while running in the house. About three days in I started wishing that I had gone with hang gliding or something cool like that.

Moral of the story:  Cleaning ovens is for suckers. If at all possible, wait until you are moving out of state to clean your oven. Then you will not be the next person to turn it on.

It was twenty years, five houses, and four dogs later the next time I broke my foot, but when I fell, I acted as if I had done it the week before.

“I @&#%ing did it again” I yelled from the living room floor. (Since I no longer had young children, I felt that I was justified in being as dramatic as I wanted to be.)

My daughter ran in and immediately wanted to take me to the emergency room (Compassion! Finally!) but I resisted. After about an hour of pretending to be fine while my foot swelled and turned purple, I finally agreed to let her take me. (The dogs were uninjured. Yay!)

There were no rooms available in the ER so I was assigned to “Hall Four”—literally a bed in the hall, with a large number four painted on the wall behind the bed. By then my foot was so big and so purple that every ER employee who went by stopped to gawk and say something along the lines of, “Whoa! Dude! What’d you do?”  So many people came by that after a while I started to suspect that someone had sent an IM saying “Go check out that foot in Hall Four. Dang!”

Walking boot technology had improved a bit over the years, but my attitude about them had not. I was irrationally crabby about the whole thing. A few days later when I went back to work, I was not in the mood to tell even more people that I had tripped over a dog. Even if most of the people at work had not heard the previous story, I was not doing that again.

So I started telling people it was a meteor strike. Genius idea, right? Who’s going to question a meteor strike? Some people laughed; some people gave me a blank stare. That’s pretty much how my days go anyway, so it worked out well.

Moral of the story:  Blame any embarrassing injuries on a meteor strike. No one believes you, but it doesn’t matter because they don’t mind laughing with you. It makes the situation just a little less aggravating.

Five years later, I still maintain that the second one was a meteor strike. “Prove me wrong” is my attitude about it. And that attitude is exactly what I will use to help President Biden:

Me: JOE BIDEN BROKE HIS FOOT PLAYING WITH HIS DOG

Me: #notjustme

Daughter: I bet he didn’t do it twice *three laughing emojis*

Me: Meteor.strike. Get it right

Me: Hey! There WAS a fireball meteor seen on the East Coast a few weeks ago. Clearly Joe is a victim of a meteor strike as well! No dogs involved at all!

Son: That is hilarious. You should be his cabinet member of “bizarre cosmic injuries”

We laughed at the time, but later I realized that it is another genius idea.

I would be great at this job. If there is ever a dog related incident, I am confident that I will be able to find a meteor shower/eclipse/sunspots/Death Star malfunction/whatever to explain it away. It will exonerate the dog as well as shield the President from having to tell an ER physician that it happened again. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, if I am injured (dog related or otherwise) while Secretary I will not use a space related instance to explain it. I will sacrifice my dignity for my country and for dogs everywhere, and just say that I fell off the monkey bars.

Believable. Unprovable. Win/win.

Since most of the major cabinet positions have been filled now, it is a perfect time for President Biden to think about this.

I can start immediately, Mr. President. Just let me know!

Bingo!

Just for fun, here are the results from this week’s Kick Ass Bingo card:

I got bingo! Yay for me! I kick ass!

Since the week is not technically over I could theoretically get a few more squares, so I left those blank. You never know when one of my dogs will do something totally crazy and/or adorable. And if someone starts a conversation about Doctor Who, I could get the TV quote square and the time travel square at the same time!

The ones with “FAIL” are either the ones that I was unable to avoid, or the ones that I know that I will not accomplish by tonight:

  • Turns out you don’t need a hotkey for an em dash (figuring that out got me the “research anything” square! Yay!) so I won’t be creating one.
  • Write 3000 words is not going to happen even if I include this blog post.
  • Chips for dinner–Note to those worried about my nutrition: the meals were rice, beans, and cheese, but with tortilla chips as the eating utensils–sort of like nachos. I did not have bags of potato chips for dinner (this week).
  • No clod incidents–I failed this one very early in the week when I cut my finger while trying to clean a hand saw. Bummer. But considering all the potential clod incidents—cutting myself with the chainsaw, falling off of the ladder, getting knocked out by a tree branch—a cut from a hand saw is practically a victory for me. Bingo-wise the day was a victory. I didn’t overreact to the injury—just bandaged it up and kept going—and I remembered to put the ladder away. That’s two squares! Woot!

Since I have kicked ass this week, I am now going to reward myself with a movie marathon. No guilt. I deserve it! I hope all of you are also rewarding yourselves accordingly. Feel free to share details in the comments.

Peace and love(and ass-kicking!),

Lori

But Is It Really Cool?

Philosophical question: Can I really be cool with my nerdiness?

Don’t get me wrong. I am totally at peace with my book-reading, word-philosophizing self. Embrace the geekiness, that’s me. But is cool really the word to use here? Cool and nerd have traditionally been opposites, so trying to be cool and nerdy at the same time could theoretically cause a paradox so big it could tear a hole in the space/time continuum.

(You saw the geeky thing above right? That was blatant foreshadowing indicating that at some point you’d be marking “space/time continuum” on your blog bingo card.)

So can you (I) be both cool and nerdy at the same time?

Of course!

The most obvious, if a bit boring, argument for it is that “cool” no longer has to mean you sit at the popular kids’ table at lunch, or even that it’s literally a bit chilly at that table. “Cool” has evolved to mean, “I am at one with the present circumstances and do not let them bother me.” So yes, in the most basic sense it is possible to be cool while the popular kids call you a nerd. It’s barely a paradox at this point.

(Note: I can’t tell you why someone would be pleased to sit with a group of people who think discussing grammar is odd. All I’m saying is that it can happen without endangering the space/time continuum.)

Literary paradoxes are fairly common. They’re used to help make a point or to capture the reader’s interest. Two often quoted lines are “I must be cruel to be kind,” by Williams Shakespeare, and “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” by Charles Dickens.

No danger there. In fact, the examples above show that literary paradoxes can actually be a bit boring. Shut up already, Hamlet, we get it — everyone must pay for this outrage. Make up your mind already, Dickens, or I’m closing this book until less confusing times.

Paradoxes can be fun though, even the ones that aren’t strictly literary. One of my favorites is the video “Hip to Be a Square” from the tv show Sesame Street. (A spoof on the Huey Lewis and the News song.) In the video a square sings that it’s ok to be a square — all shapes are “hip” in his neighborhood. That’s a great lesson even if most kids probably don’t understand the paradox in being “hip” and “square” at the same time. But what makes this video paradox perfection is that the singing square and his square friends are in a rock band! Being “square” and in a rock band simultaneously is not possible — ask anyone! The video is a paradox with paradox subtext! Genius! Look out space/time continuum!

As great as that video is, the best part about paradoxes (at least if you’re a word philosopher) is that you can make them up at anytime. “I’m on-board with being shipwrecked with Indiana Jones,”— made that one up while I was on hold with the cable company. Try it on your next road trip or while waiting for a table at a restaurant. Show them that you’re cool with your nerdiness. Best paradox wins.