Living Proof of the Need for Health Insurance
The truth hurts. Literally. Especially when it hits you all at once, right in the face. Or in my case, the hip. In Alex’s case, the ring finger. In Brett’s case, the calf. In Frank’s case, the elbow. The truth is, I am the posterchild for why people need health insurance, and so are other guys like me. Who is a guy like me? Oh, mid 30s, questionable fitness level, and a misguided notion that he can still hit the park for a game of pickup pigskin with his buddies and not risk serious injury. Who can blame me though? My top running speed isn’t nearly fast enough to do any lasting damage even if it was a brick wall I plowed into. Truth is, the average sumo wrestler could give me a ten second head start in 100 yard dash and I’d likely still lose. And there are more like me. Many more.
Inexplicably, 12 of us thought it would actually be a good idea to meet for a game of touch football at a nearby park after work on a recent Wednesday, to celebrate the upcoming start of the NFL season. What harm could possibly come to us? We were playing, after all, merely two hand touch.
The 15 minute warm-up session consisting of heaving 20 yard wobblers at one another, most throws ending up anywhere but their desired target, was reasonably uneventful save for some colorful barbs about whose throws unflatteringly resembled any number of people who may never have seen, much less thrown, a football in their lifetimes. I quickly made the connection that the frequency with which those barbs were directed at me was inextricably linked with how frequently I was the one making a throw. In my one and only wise decision of the evening, I elected to forsake the further humiliation of throwing more passes in favor of loosening up with some good old fashioned stretching.
After the teams were horribly distributed by Frank, the one guy out of all of us whose throws actually resembled those of a quarterback, to be himself and the four fastest, most athletic guys, versus the five guys who looked most like their football experience consisted exclusively of Madden on the Playstation, we got going.
On our first play from scrimmage, Frank rifled a beautifully spiraling pass that intended receiver Alex for some reason tried to catch my sticking his ring finger directly into the throw, resulting a gruesome looking dislocation, as Brett who was futilely attempting to cover him crumpled to the ground with an agonized wail, clutching at his torn calf muscle. One play, two players down for the count. That’s a 20% casualty rate on the first play for those of you keeping track at home.
Sparing some details in the interest of your valuable time, suffice it to say that our casualty rate reached 90% in short order. The lone survivor was Frank, whose husky build would likely lead you to the incorrect conclusion that he wasn’t in very good shape, as the rest of us fell like dominos. My hip went out as a result of my delusion I could still change directions at top speed like I could in my early 20s. Chris and Robert took each other out with a bone-jarring collision at the goal line, the best part of which was that neither had the ball. Richie turned an ankle, slipping on a sprinkler head. Jaime, who by all outward appearances could win a triathlon, was wheezing like you might suspect Sir Edmund Hillary was after a successful Mount Everest climb. The list goes on.
The following morning, amazingly, all of us walking, or as it were, limping wounded made it to work. As I trudged to my desk, dragging my useless right leg behind me, Frank greeted me with a, “Man, you don’t look so good.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. “That’s okay,” he continued, pointing to his swollen elbow, showing the effects of his Tom Brady impersonation. “I can’t even lift my arm.”
Casualty rate, 100%.
Various splints and bandages: $$$$$
Anti-inflammatory medication: $$$
Health insurance: Priceless.