Hey starting here with Pt. 3 is cool, really, we take what we can get.In yesterday’s Kos, our hero had finally become cognizant of his broken a rib, while immobilized with snorkel and flipper in the surf at Key West's Fort Zachary Taylor. We knew full recovery was imminent, when the residual twinge began to relocate from from the dorsal side of my ribcage, toward the ventral --which is where we always picture our ribs, because that's where we see them duing any form of uberinhalation. I would have preferred it had relocated back to the subtropics – quite possibly to a fanciful Mexican retirement community that would be named Puertoviagra or Playa Cardsright. We take what we can get.
But Parts 1 and 2 were quite literally, sidesplitting. So if you are inclined, you can begin with those and just keep going. Same title under Alleged Humor: [Friday Pt. 1] [Sat. Pt. 2] [Today] [Mon. Pt. 4]. LINKS AT BOTTOM
Today, let's illustrate how the Key West incident was only the latest act in what any anatomy class would have to consider a work of art in progress. The series of unlikely mishaps that prompted my friend John Dewey to label me the Tim Whatley of sequential self-inflicted personal injury – subconsciously will them upon myself only for the stories. (If you had been paying attention, you’d know that Dr. Tim Whatley was the Seinfeld dentist who had converted to Judaism “only for the jokes.”
But unless other readers continued this far with you, they would not now know who played that Whatley character. “Breaking Bad’s” Brian Cranston, and I’m pretty sure he was also in that for the jokes too, and not the meth.L. Bryan Cranston in dental office with Seinfeld. R. in meth lab with Aaron Paul as Jessie.
With Sochi fresh in our minds, it would not be terribly inaccurate to describe my immediately previous plunge in rib fracture as a near perfect Triple Louganis, Olympic caliber, swan dive over the front hall sewing table, with a twist. This was executed after having tripped over one of the housecats, landing yours truly flat on his back, immobilized on the foyer’s cold brick floor.
the cold front.Where's the cold
compressfor my back?
To my recollection, the hospital judges gave it a 7.9 for technical difficulty, but for obvious reasons, only a minus 3.7 for the execution. And yet, had I broken three ribs and a hip, I feel confident that would have taken the bronze. To be fair, that second score was later adjusted upward to a positive 5.6 when it was determined the additional technical consideration of including irony of circumstance was admitted into the mix.
You see, that previous saga began innocently enough with a plan to relocate our somewhat tattered, yellow corduroy sofa bed from the superfluous furnishings refugee camp on our back patio to the front, for the city’s monthly heavy trash pickup.
This intel, once leaked, placed our grown son Ty on red alert, warning of chronic back injuries. He admonishes, and I quote, “Under no circumstances” was I to even consider dragging that behemoth fold-out piece of furniture to the curb acapella.
This initiated an impromptu family phone tree and follow-up call from our daughter, the physican, then in Colorado, adding a professional second to our non-medical kid’s diagnosis and prognosis. A reminder of their mother's recent craniofacial badge of honor --the result of a recent equu-fu hip bump from her startled horse-- may have been a threat to employ medical training to similarly geld [ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/...] my own person, if that’s what it took to keep one equally manageable and out trouble. Having entered a Glass Menagerie. I swore compliance on a stack of spinal disks.
Not that you asked but the daily Doberman regimen consists of hurling yellow tennis balls, for both speed and distance, with the implementation of something like a plasticized jai alai cesta. This, in turn, facilitated a virtually sisyphal process of joyful retrieval.
Last August, in two hours of weeding under our various hedges and ground cover, and this is no lie, I collected fully 27 of these Wilson tennis balls, some in pristine condition, others quite weathered with age.
Upon return, it took a while for one of the family members to discover the crepe streamer-adorned object hanging from their front yard tree, with accompanying broom stick. Dangling from the temple’s bottom, they would find the tag, featuring a map of the Mexican peninsula labeled “LittleTouch-o’-Yucatan Operator’s Manual,” with the following instructions:
“Leave in full hanging and upright position until giddy with anticipation (incidentally the ONLY thing anybody has ever been described as giddy with] – or until a crowd gathers, whichever comes first. In the interest of observer safety, maintain a secure perimeter, then give this a couple of wacks with the stick. A reasonable degree of Mesoamerican mirth is almost certain to ensue (blindfold optional).”
There the family gathered round, exhibiting the circumspection of raccoons casing a baited trap (no not quite the wonder and awe of those prehistoric hominids coming upon that imposing “2001 a Space Odysse.”monolith.) Trying to figure out exactly what Zarathustra had spake.
With a single swing, the young man of the family promptly shattered the provided broom stick against the excessively-sturdy piñata. A Louisville Slugger was then recruited to complete the assault. A knock at the door led to the neighbors dryly informing, “The minute the first tennis ball dropped out, we knew exactly who had done this.” How often is one able to affect this type of culturally integrated, yet up to the moment spectacle?
Now, in the words of Sigmund Freud, “Back to the couch.”As our considerably smaller hound/red healer mix frolicked betwixt the imposing Dobermans, out of the blue, Neil offered, “I see you still have that sofa out back. I’d be happy to help you get it to the curb tomorrow morning.” I, of course, jumped at this commutation of sentence.
At this point, you may wonder why we did not simply donate the sofa for charitable pickup by the Salvation Army? Well, let’s just say the reluctance in this case could conceivably involve concern over the possibility of being forced to submit a notarized affidavit attesting to the precise amount of cat urine residue transferred along with the sofa bed (within a +or- 3% margin of error).
Friday morning I arise to observe that our neighbors had already affected the scheduled sofa relocation on their own. I march next door to extend gratitude. That accomplished, reopening our own front door, I promptly trip over the perfect storm of our indoor solid black feline Kugel, perpetually lurking in the darkness for an opportune lightning speed race to freedom, in conjunction with some sort of dog distraction in the distance and an oxymoronically untied “New Balance”shoelace.
Splayed out on the foyer’s brick floor, staring at what eventually comes into focus at the hall ceiling fixture, I am provided with the conundrum of:
1. wondering if it were even possible to somehow belly slither over to the nearest refrigerator, for ice, and then, if yes,I somehow make it to the fridge, then the couch --no not that couch -- and 5 hours late Florence Nightengale arrives.
2. deciding whether to apply that compress to my aching back or bleeding skull, or
3. before losing consciousness, first text messaging the missus in her first grade class, in the unlikely event she might be able to rush to my aid when school gets out at 3, rather than remaining hostage 3-4 more hrs.to the usual next day's prep.
Saturday morning, after hospital X-rays correctly identify the two ribs as actually fractured, I am entirely bedridden the next several days, without some human assistance to overcome the excruciating experience of attempting to bend the first few inches needed to sit up and then swing over the side of the bed. The remaining elevation and dismount with assistance was never the problem. You know if you've been there.
The first improvised remedy of fashioning a zip-line of rope from the headboard to a chest on the other side of the room proves ineffectual in negotiating that first 60 or so degrees. Tying the other end to the dog’s collar was also a lost cause, she being of the type who remains focused on your finger rather than directing attention to whatever you happen to be pointingfor her to scramble to.
WE HAPPY FEW Inarguably, the only other individual I’ve known personally who could appreciate a self-inflicted catastrophe or minor mishap as as much as I did, if only for the ironic or self-deprecating stories he could milk out of them, was my friend, the movie producer Arthur Loew, Jr.Whether or not you complete the journey with me, you should be pleased to learn the two additonal accidental injuries, covered in tomorrow's final installment, are entirely ribless, though not entirely boneless. It concludes with a separate travel take on several Key West attractions that were well worth walking to, even without a full complement of healthy ribs.
Arthur was born into a fabled motion picture industry family, his paternal grandfather, Marcus Loew, founded MGM, as did his maternal grandfather, Adolph Zukor, Paramount. Arthur’s godparents were Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Because his dad, who was president of the studio, didn’t want people to think Arthur moved up too quickly only out of family connections, he purportedly spent his early years there as Lassie’s groom. But there was no stopping the inferences. Arthur said he got so tired of hearing the word nepotism thrown around so loosely, that he finally marched into his father’s office and asked the elder Loew to resign.
Among other films, he produced the 1953 MGM musical, “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis” well before the TV series. It starred Bobby Van, Debbie Reynolds, and an up-and-coming young dancer named Bob Fosse. However his biggest claim to notoriety may have been having produced “Arena”-- the world’s first, last, and only 3D rodeo western, that same year. That featured such western icons as Gig Young, Polly Bergen and Jean Hagen, with of all people “M.A.S.H’s” Col. Potter, Harry Morgan, as the rodeo clown. What could go wrong there?Well, as the story goes, one of the other stars, a bull, refused to come out of the shoot and apparently had to be encouraged with a cattle prod. Sho’ nuff, bull charges out of the gate and falls over dead of a heart attack. Continuity problem, they had to find a matching bull for the first one, who had already shot several scenes. Continuity problem 2. The stand-in didn’t have any horns like the late one, so they had to glue on a pair.I don't know what the story is here, but it looks like my friend Arthur's film was so ahead of its time, that, when first released in 1953, the MGM publicity department hadn't yet even realized that length and width already counted as two SEPARATE dimensions.
The replacement charged out of the shoot like a trouper. But in the process, the right horn fell off. Tried this again; this time it was the left horn. Finally finished the picture, about a month before Arthur’s father received something like a $1,000 invoice (in 1953 dollars) for the first bull’s burial. The handler had purchased something like 12 plots in a pet cemetery to accommodate its size.
More directly to the point I am trying to make, in WWII, as a member of the US Army Signal Corp., I believe Arthur captured some of that great battle photography we’ve all seen in so many documentaries as well as in feature films where somebody like Robert Donat asks, “Is everybody scared padre, or is it just me?”
On his return stateside, Arthur said he happened to have sprained an ankle, stumbling off a Beverly Hills curb in something of a drunken stupor, while celebrating V-J Day with a group of friends. Still in uniform, and leaning on his crutch, my friend hobbled into the fabled Brown Derby restaurant on Wilshire Blvd. at Rodeo Drive for a late supper. Whereupon, he claims, the entire restaurant suddenly erupted with a standing ovation in salute to this clearly wounded returning GI, on his service to our country.
Arthur once remarked that I reminded him of his own longtime friend, the notoriously neurotic and equally mordant motion picture piano prodigy Oscar Levant—arguably America’s first publicly dysfunctional celebrity entertainer. Among the many Levant idiosyncrasies related was his habit of visiting Arthur’s father’s house every single day for something like seven straight years.During an interview on the Tonight Show, when then host Jack Paar inquired as to whether Levant ever got any exercise. The perpetually overmedicated and sometimes institutionalized Mr. Levant famously replied, “Well, I like to stumble and lapse into a coma.” I would encourage you to link to a video clip of that here. You're welcome.
It is apparently to my great misfortune that, of all the pianist-composer’s many neuroses, I happened to have latched most consistently onto that one.
THE FULL SERIES (all same title)
Part 1 (the hotel breakfast tumble/proprioception part) Fri. 2/28
Part 2 (the snorkel part) Sat. 3/1
Part 3 (sofa relocation/Arthur Loew/Oscar Levant part) Sun. 3/2
Part 4 (floss toss, district court, KW travel) Mon. 3/3