“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones
Here’s a confession: I watched PG-13 movies long before I had reached the age of 13. In fact, most of my favorite films growing up probably would’ve been considered inappropriate for children my age (I’d like to apologize to my mother, father and the Motion Picture Association of America).
The greatest of all of these films was “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’m not exactly sure when I was first exposed to the film, though I remember my petition for a bullwhip being denied at roughly age 6, so it must have been before then.
I made up for my lack of a bullwhip by hanging ropes from the tree in my front yard and swinging between the lawn furniture. It was at the base of that tree that I started a new family tradition: Let’s take David to the hospital.
I plopped out of the tree and broke my arm. It hurt worse than anything I’d experienced up to that point. After a round of crying, I kept playing. Indiana Jones shrugged off a bullet while driving a truck and fighting Nazis – a snapped humerus couldn’t be too bad.
Carrying that attitude into the rest of my life helped introduce me to scores of new injuries.
After enduring the scraped knees and elbows common for most 10-year-olds, I opened up my double-digit years with a series of broken thumbs and sprained ankles – all courtesy of tree swinging and newly-introduced dirt biking.
In high school I chose the no-contact, low-impact sport of competitive swimming, but still managed to break a finger by jamming it into the timing pad at the end of a race.
I came home for Christmas break after my first semester of college, and my parents put me to work. My father’s Stihl chainsaw sliced through my leg even easier than it did the mesquite branches I was supposed to be clearing.
Who knew my dad could drive so fast? I started my second semester with eight wide stitches across my knee.
Not long after that healed (leaving an awesome scar, by the way), I started competitive cycling.
In my first race, two riders in front of me collided and went down, and I had no choice but to crash as well. As I limped over the finish line, the women’s category finished their race. A powerful, Amazonian sprinter took gold. She crossed the line uncontested, her hands stretched upward in victory and ran straight into the back of my bike, knocking me forward several yards and onto the ground for the second time that day.
To me, the potential for injuries mean that an activity has merit.
When first responders examine a patient, they check for a pulse. Flowing blood is a sign of life.
I like to think I’ve proven conclusively that I’m alive.
David Talley is a summer intern at the Wise County Messenger. He will be returning to Lubbock next week to begin his junior year at Texas Tech University.