I landed on my head. I got strapped to a backboard and carted into the back of an ambulance.
Now, in the back of the ambulance an EMT is asking me questions about my wrestling career.
“Ever gotten hurt before?” He asks.
“Nah, not really.” I replied, as I stared at the ceiling. “I probably should have told my wife it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.” I added.
“Yeah, we messed with a rookie, today. Had him called into the office and fake-fired. He cried.” The EMT said with a laugh.
I fake laughed and gave him a half-hearted, “Hell yeah.” In my head I thought, “At least wrestler’s aren’t the only assh___s that enjoy brutal ribs.” Then I laughed a little, for real.
“It’s taking a little longer because we’re going around the train tracks, so you don't get bounced around as much.” He informed me.
A few minutes later, we hit the hospital parking lot speed bumps, it hurt like my heart when Scar killed Mufasa.
The EMTs rolled me into the ER still wearing my wrestling-sandals, tights with skulls and doves and masked women on them, and a robe-like top. I imagine that I was an interesting sight even for a Central Florida hospital, that’s probably used to wacky tourists from around the Globe.
I was told, “Wait here.” An easy command to obey.
While I waited, I thought, “My wrestling career might be over.” Then I waited to feel my emotional reaction to that thought.
No change: still filled with inner-stillness, still happy.
“Huh.” I thought. “Wonder why that idea isn’t heartbreaking to me.”
“Because it’s always been about the journey, and you have had one hell of a journey?” I asked myself.
“Yeah, that’s definitely part of it, but there’s more.” I answered.
“Also, because you understand that everything you have been given through wrestling has been an invaluable gift, that this life wasn’t obligated to give you, and can never be taken away?” I asked.
“Yes! But what else?” I answered.
“Because, now, more than ever, you have realized that you don’t need anything including professional wrestling to be happy: happiness is generated within you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be so damn cheerful while restrained to a bit of plastic with pain blasting through your cervical spine like a bullet through Bambi’s mother?” I asked.
“That’s it!” I answered.
I got carted into a room, followed by a male nurse who asked me, “How are you doing, my friend?”
“Really great, considering.” I answered.
“I’m going to stick you with an IV, okay. It’s going to hurt. I’m sorry.” He told me.
“No worries.” I said.
About that time, my wife entered the room.
“Hey, darlin’.” I said.
“Hey. You doing alright?” She asked sadly.
I started to answer, but the nurse interrupted with, “Wowsers! You have nice veins!”
Without being able to turn my head, with my neck in a brace, I glanced at my wife and said, “Really great, considering.”
Then I turned to the nurse and said, “I knew my forearm vascularity would do me some good, one day.”
He giggled, then said with wide eyes, “Oh! You are a bleeder my friend! Keep your arm where it’s at.”
I kept my arms still while he bandaged and cleaned me up.
About that time, I noticed that my wife was rocking back and forth like Big Van Vader during an interview.
I laughed and asked her if she realized she was doing it.
“No.” She said self-consciously and slowed her rocking, but didn’t stop it.
“I promise I’m completely okay.” I said in a cool-calm, happy tone.
“I know, but I’m not sure I am… Seeing you like this.” She told me, anxiously.
“Put your hand on my chest. Feel my breath and heartbeat.” I gently requested.
She did and finally stopped rocking.
Once I was sure she was relatively calm I asked her, “Mind getting my phone out of my bag the EMTs brought with me, I want to take a selfie.”
She honored my request and I invoked my inner Budai (Fat Buddah) and gave the biggest smile ever captured of me as an adult to post on social media.
I made it my daily #365BestDaysEver Facebook post, with reference to it being April Fool’s to make people wonder, a bit.
Around that time the nurse asked, “Pro wrestling, Huh? So, I gotta ask: is it fake?”
There was a time when I would have unloaded a mean spirited sargasm unto him for his lack of irony in asking me that, considering the state I was in.
Thankfully that time had passed, so I just laughed and said, “Well, I’m a grown man who dresses up in a costume and play fights with other grown men in costumes, but fake isn’t the right word, considering the badass-toughness required to literally risk your life doing that. As you can see, it doesn’t always work out.”
He smiled and nodded his head. After a pause he said, “It might be awhile before you get sent back for a ct scan. Sorry, but we can’t unstrap you or take that brace off ‘til we get the results; you’re going to be like that for awhile.”
“Not a problem.” I said.
So I just laid there, enjoying the challenge of remaining patient and happy, while pain continued to grow and the fearful uncertainty of thoughts about persistently numb extremities kept trying to arise, as my wife and I waited, and waited, and waited.
Like you will have to wait for my favorite part of the entire experience, 45 minutes of keeping completely still inside a narrow tube while the sounds of robots on MDMA and psilocybin f___ing on a tin roof in a hail storm ran through my ears like a car through ol’ Trusty in Lady and the Tramp, in Part III.
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