Friday, September 27, 2013

This Little Piggy

Recently, I won a Ginny Award for being the best LT story teller while one tries to hold on to a paceline. An award like this deserves to be ensconced in olive branches and displayed among all my other palmar├Ęs on this blog's sidebar.

The story I told to earn this Ginny is also an example of the power of suggestion.

The power of suggestion is a strange phenomenon when someone imagines something happening before it actually occurs in the real world. It's as if their suggestion caused it to happen. For example, there are countless reports of people who had earthquake premonitions days before it actually happened. Closer to home, the power of suggestion kicks in when someone says that they had a dream that Rafal's crank arm fell off during a race. That particular dream must be a recurring nightmare, because Rafal's crank arm falls off quite a lot. 

You get the point. The power of suggestion is real. Word.

Anyway, my Ginny Award connects the old school playground game of tetherball to an incident that happened in the NFL recently. My story goes back to my college years. It's about my friend Matt Brennan, who told me of the time he had to move a tetherball stand across a school's parking lot. In the process, he dropped it on his foot. 

Tetherball is that game that Napoleon Dynamite liked to play. It's rad. It's a poor-man version of volleyball. But you don't need a net. You don't even need other players. All you just need a ball, a rope, a steel pole, an old wheel and some ready-mix concrete to anchor it all in. Only in Matt's case, the tetherball pole wasn't anchored to a wheel, but to a rusty 55 gallon steel drum half-filled with concrete.

The drum was very heavy and awkward to maneuver. As a result, he only managed rolling it a few feet before he lost control and dropped the drum on his foot. There was a flash of searing before he was able to lift and remove his foot from beneath it. Aside from his big toe throbbing a little, he was otherwise fine. Matt shrugged it off and pressed on with his task until the tetherball stand was moved off the parking lot.

By this point, his big toe was throbbing pretty hard. He sat down to take a look.

When Matt removed his shoe, he was surprised to see that his sock was bloodied. He remarked that that was odd since his leather shoe was not cut. He peeled off his sock and casually dropped it to the ground.

That's when he heard a soft but distinct "thud".

A moment later, he was staring in shock at a bloody stump where his big toe once was; the stump squirting its rich maroon ink all over the blacktop.

Fortunately for Matt, his father was a local surgeon. He picked up his sock with toe still in it, hobbled to the car and drove himself to the emergency room, whereupon arrival, asked the ER nurse to page his Dad to sew his toe back onto his foot.

Matt's dad was no plastic surgeon, but by golly, aside from some jagged scars and a permanent 7° loft, his big toe had been successfully grafted back onto his foot. Why, covered with a pair of heavy wool socks, you'd barely even notice the 'frankentoe.

That's the story that I told Fred while riding in an LT paceline. It was an honor to receive a Ginny for it. 

But what's amazing is what happened two days after I received my Ginny.

Apparently, during punt coverage, Rashad Johnson (no relation) somehow lost the tip of his finger and didn't discover it until he removed his glove. He said that he doesn't know how it happened. Well, I do. It's called the power of suggestion. Sure, there were no tetherball drums, but a digit was severed completely off that was later discovered in an article of clothing. That, only two days after I won the Ginny for a similar story. Coincidence? No way. That's the power of suggestion.

At any rate, I couldn't help but wonder if Rashad Johnson first saw that his finger was missing, or if he heard a soft "thud" while tossing his removed glove aside, and then saw the bloody stump.

The power of suggestion is real, my friends. Stay healthy, and may you keep all your toes and fingers safe in the coming days.

Happy Friday. Peace Out.


  1. The Ginny awards were the last time I typed with all 10 fingers. After I finished that post, I went outside to play catch with a neighbor kid. I hurt my finger and now have it in a splint because the tendon holding the end of it straight detached. For the next 5 weeks, I will be unable to use my right middle finger when I type. My ring finger is doing it's best, but it keeps hitting the wrong letter. I'm now convinced this was all inevitable.

  2. That's right. I forgot that you jammed your middle finger recently. Ya see?

    The other give away was of course Rashad's last name being "Johnson (no relation)". Frankly, I'm both surprised and disappointed that the real Wes J hasn't come out of his lurkdom to point that out.