Friday, January 22, 2016

If I Had Two Legs For Just One Day

For a little while now, I’ve felt like I was on the verge of writing something groundbreaking. Something earth-shattering. Something that would knock the socks off of just about everyone who would be lucky enough to read it.

The feeling comes on particularly strong when I’m in the presence of tremendous creativity or art — be it in a room full of artfully moving athletes or at the concert of one of my favorite bands. Unfortunately, the feeling always seems to escape me as soon as I pop open my word processor. Why is that, I wonder.

As far as the subject matter for my imminent masterpiece goes, I’m not yet certain. Although my writing is usually exercise-related (and occasionally autobiographical in nature), I don’t necessarily want to pigeonhole myself. Rather, I imagine this work would transcend genres, sharing far and wide and making me a household name among the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Donald Trump, and Big Bird.

Anyway, this blog post probably isn’t that masterpiece. Nonetheless, I did have a conversation with a gym member today, Leroy, that got my wheels churning, so I figured I would share. After all, this is my blog, and that’s what blogs are for.

The conversation began, innocently enough, about prosthetics. Leroy asked why I didn’t wear one of those blade legs. I explained that as an above-knee amputee, the blades are well-suited for running, but not so much for walking due to the instability.

Then Leroy wanted to know how I lost my leg, if I didn’t mind him asking. Not at all, I said. After all, it was an easy enough question to answer. For whatever reason, though, I was feeling particularly chatty, so I set forth on a rather long-winded and introspective version of the story. Thanks to Leroy, I wound up eating a few of my words in the end.

It was nothing heroic, I explained — I was born missing my left femur. Basically, my left hip was fused with my left knee, and I was born with a left foot but had it amputated for functionality and cosmetic reasons. I actually think it’s better to be born missing a leg than to lose it later in life, I continued. After all, I don’t know any different. This is me and always has been.

It does suck sometimes, though, I rambled on. Like, I can’t really run. At least, not very fast or for any appreciable distance, which sometimes makes me feel sort of... trapped. I mean, I can run a little, but I get so tired.

If I had two legs for just one day, that’s what I would do. I would go for a run.

Careful how you choose your words, Leroy interjected. Does it really suck? He prodded me. You’re not dead, are you? That would suck. Anyway, he proceeded to point out, when we’re deficient in one aspect of our lives, we tend to have heightened abilities in another.

I thought for a second. Having just finished watching the first season of Daredevil on Netflix, I reconsidered my word choice. Actually, it doesn’t suck, I said. I mean, look at all the cool stuff I can do instead! Stuff that many people with two legs only dream of, like handstand walking and strict muscle-ups and a seven-foot single-leg standing broad jump.

And those are only physical attributes. My intellect is pretty good, too. I mean, how about these writing chops?! Plus all the great jokes my coworkers can crack about me leaving my leg all over the place in the gym.

Counting your blessings may not be anything groundbreaking, earth-shattering, or sock-knock-offing, but hey, we can all use a reminder from time to time, myself included.

Thanks for the chat, Leroy.

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