The events described here actually did happen… which just goes to show that we take our backyard cricket very seriously indeed in my neighbourhood! Cheers, Greg
It’s that time of year when children go into a holiday frenzy, retailers rub their hands together in anticipation, teachers crack open the bubbly, and parents shudder in horror at how quickly the year has flown by. Meanwhile at work, those of us who aren’t on holidays, celebrate the fact that many of our bosses are, as we enjoy a few weeks free of corporate speak, which is a ‘synergistic’, ‘saw sharpening’, ‘win/win situation’ for we ‘pro-active’ toilers at the ‘cutting edge’ of ‘the coal face’.
During a particularly hot workday last week, to take my mind off the rampant chafing which was spreading like molten lava across my legs, I pondered Christmases past. Happily, the majority of them have been pretty good, particularly the Christmas day I spent lying in a wading pool, reading my new book, eating boiled peanuts and drinking beer, because it’s not every year a kid enjoys Christmas in this manner.
But it was Christmas 1996 which stood out in my memory; our first Christmas in our first home, with our new neighbours. During the Christmas Eve Backyard Test, I took an absolute screamer of a catch, and leaping to my feet, I cried out, “Howzat!”, then noting the shocked faces staring back at me, gazed down at my left arm which was sticking out at a sickening angle. A drinks break was immediately called, while my bent wing was hastily braced with a torn up beer carton, and wrapped with cold towels that had been dipped in the esky. A lengthy delay followed while the neighbourhood was scoured for a sober driver to run me up to the hospital.
After waddling through the doors of the Emergency Room, I was helped onto a bed by a nurse who informed me that I was the first of many alcohol fuelled injuries expected that night. I informed her that I hadn’t actually had a drink yet as she removed the wet towel exposing the beer carton bracing. “That’s not mine!” I cried, but my pleas of innocence fell on deaf ears.
The doctor arrived eventually, having been paged halfway through a church service, hooked me up to the machine that goes ‘Bing!’, then shot me full of painkillers. As the dope kicked in I asked, “Hey Doc, why did you wear a Star Trek tie to church?”
“It was a gift from my son,” he said with a smile, then gripping my arm he announced, “This may hurt a little.” He was wrong, it actually hurt quite a lot. While he wrestled my arm back into place and yelled at me to relax, the little machine that goes ‘Bing!’, stopped going ‘Bing!’. “Doctor! His heart has stopped!” shouted the nurse.
We stared in alarm at the monitor as a long, flat line spread across the screen. “Um, how do you feel?” asked the bewildered Doc.
Pretty good considering I had no heartbeat. A quick check revealed that we had somehow knocked the power lead out of the socket during our struggle, and it was decided to leave it out in order to reduce the stress in all our lives.
Nursing my freshly plastered arm, I felt very un-Christmassy as I staggered through our front door later that night, where I was greeted by a small throng of well wishers, who, like the Wise Men, had come bearing gifts. In place of gold, frankincense and myrrh, there was instead, beer, prawns, and mudcrab, and soon, a very merry time was being had by all. As the night wore on, I discovered that my new cast was perfect for cracking open crab claws; a party trick which I paid dearly for the next day. But, long term friendships were forged that night, which made that Christmas ‘break’ one of the luckiest of all.