I took a fall skating on Tuesday,  landing on my forearm, jamming my pointy elbow into my rib-cage at 10 mph. In chapter four of The Outsiders, Dally says he cracked a couple of ribs and just needed a place to lay over, after Tim Shepard and he tangled. Then five days later he rescues Jhonny (Thanks for reminding me, Mrs. M!) by yanking him out of a window, and the next night he is throwing and absorbing  punches in a rumble.

As we used to say back in the day…

Yeah right.

Twenty-five years ago, I got kicked in the same place while playing softball. I “cracked a couple of ribs.”  Please note:

1. Usually when someone says he cracked ribs, they’re usually just bruised.

2. It takes 4-6 weeks to heal, bruised or cracked.

3. It huuuuuuurts to breathe, lift stuff, roll over in bed, etc. It feels like a steel band crushing your chest.

4. Rumbling? Fuggeddaboutit!

5. I done bruised ’em good this time.

So I suddenly don’t have “the voice.”  It hurts too much to expel that much air. My “STOP! NOW!” in the halls, which usually works like the Hammer of Thor, is a shadow of its former self. The stopping power ain’t what it used to be. Suddenly, “Don’t make me get out of this chair” isn’t just a joke any more.  I am walking slow and talking slow and moving slow. (Yes, I know those should all have ly’s, and dagnabbit, I don’t care.) It’s Grampa Coward time.

I even resorted to the silent treatment for a warm up or two.

(aside) It’s actually pretty fun to go silent on them. I always put all the directions for warm ups and such in writing on the screen, and then I can get by with pointing and gesticulating and drawing arrows and the like with my virtual pen. When I did it for almost a whole period, back in the day, they really got scared toward the end. They thought sure I was so mad at them that I was speechless, and they thought I was just going to explode at any minute. They were a very sensitive bunch; several would cry every time I showed Mr. Morton, because they felt so sorry for him being so lonely. I was much scarier to them silent than yelling.

But boy, it’s hard work.

I haven’t told the kids that I am hurting. It’s sort of like Survivor (or Lord of the Flies), where you can’t show any weakness that might be exploited. Actually, not really. I just don’t need them always asking after it for the next however many days. Or doing the old Eddie Haskell kiss-up thing:

“How are YOU today Mr. Coward? And how are those ribs of yours? I am so sorry that happened. I hope you feel better soon.”

This would be from the cheese-head I had to pull a desk out into the hall for yesterday. (Pulling: Also painful.)

I told the wife I was moving mighty slow at school the last couple of days:

“I feel like I’m moving in slow motion.”

“So you’re now only going double speed?”

Clever woman, that one. Very funny.