Sunday, May 06, 2007

Deck Disasters, Deadnecks and Dinosaurs

A few weeks ago I was coerced by my crafty wife into cleaning our deck. This involves coating the deck with a noxious and mysterious mixture of soap and bleach and radioactive isotopes and chicken guts (I think; this analysis is purely based on smell).

On one side of our deck are three steps that lead down to the backyard. I had already been down these a few times that day to retrieve items from our storage building. On my last trip of the day one foot slipped on a soapy spot and I went airborne. My wife told me later that as I flew from the top step my feet actually went higher than my head, a move worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos. I landed with a crack and a blinding bolt of pain as my lower back collided with the bottom step. For a moment –okay, a couple of moments – I lay there thinking I probably wouldn’t be able to walk again. My wife was saying something but I couldn’t hear her. The buzzing in my head blocked out most everything else.

Finally, I stood up. The left side of my back throbbed mercilessly, but I could almost stand completely upright.

“I’m okay,” I said. I don’t think Norma believed me, since she was crying (and the expression on her face reminded me of the way the villagers in the old Universal movies stared at the Frankenstein monster).

“Really. I’m fine,” I repeated, even as I realized I couldn’t lift my left arm higher than my shoulder. I must have jammed it up when I tried to break my fall.

“We’re going to the hospital,” she said.

“I don’t need to go,” I said, in a typical male response. “I’ll rub some dirt on it. I’ll be okay.” Even as the words left my mouth the pain spread over to the right side of my back and down both legs. I imagined my vertebra, cracked apart, the gap widening as I stood there denying I was hurting.

Norma grabbed her car keys. “We’re leaving now.”

“Okay,” I said. See how a real man stands his ground?

The emergency room visit went as well as could be expected. A security guard pointed out to the crowded waiting room that I was the guy on the radio, which is just the kid of attention you want when you’re hunched over like a osteoporotic octogenarian. The whole x-ray procedure felt like I was being interrogated during The Inquisition. By the time I saw a doctor, the pain was so great I didn’t even notice the foot long needle used to administer my tetanus shot.

The bottom line: no breaks. A massive contusion. Expect a lot of pain for a while.

I spent three days on the couch, watching approximately 117 Law and Order reruns. Then it was time to go back to work. I had an interview scheduled with Edward Lee. Brian Keene was coming into the studio. I had a new episode of Pod of Horror to put together. So I loaded up on the pain pills and hit the road.

Now, I’m much better. Most of the pain is gone, though I seem to be left with an odd swelling which feels like a boney ridge along my lower back, and a huge purple, black and blue bruise across most of the area. All in all, it could have been much worse, so I’m not complaining. And a special shout out to the makers of modern pharmecuticals. I haven’t taken any for several days, but they were nice when I needed them.

Here’s the lesson, my friends: household chores are deadly. Avoid them at all costs.

***

Deadneck Hootenanny should be up for pre-order any minute now. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s ready. Bob Eggleton’s pen and ink cover is a perfect combination of the horrific and the humorous, hopefully just as the book itself. I can’t wait for everybody to see it.

***

Soldiers and dinosaurs. Was there ever a better combination for boys with hyperactive imaginations?

DC Comics knew this. For a few years in the 1960s, they produced a number of episodes in Star Spangled War Stories that become known under the umbrella title of The War That Time Forgot.

It wasn’t an easy title to find at the two drug stories I used for my comics fix, but I occasionally came across an issue and read it until the pages fell out. Because, again, soldiers and dinosaurs. Need I say more?

Now, DC has reprinted over 500 pages of the series in a nice cheaply priced trade paperback.


In reading it, I’m surprised at how short the stories are, and how much action was packed in those pages. Now, a 12-pager would be expanded to six issues. It would take three artists to tell the story because nobody can keep a monthly schedule anymore. The last two issues would come out months late.

It was amazing how little explanation was needed to satisfy the 10-year-old reader in 1963. In the very first story, “Island of the Armored Giants!”, a marine, upon seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex pop up from a large crevasse, says, “The earthquake must have opened the underground tomb these monsters were in for millions of years – maybe in a state of suspended animation – brought them back to life!”

‘Nuff said, brutha. Let’s get back to the shootin’.

These stories are big, goofy fun, healthy nostalgia and a pleasurable distraction from the news. I’m going to parcel them out to savor over a few weeks.

3 comments:

Brian Speasrs said...

Sorry to hear about your accident Mark. Hope you are doing better, and try to take it easier on the home improvement chores. You now have proof that a little hard work can hurt you :)

cesarcarlos said...

"Here’s the lesson, my friends: household chores are deadly. Avoid them at all costs."

You said it, brother! Here's to you, Mark Justice, for taking one for the team! ;)

Seriously, I hope you're doing better. Take care!!

Cesar

Mark Justice said...

The back's a lot better, guys. I still have to clean the deck, though. Wish me luck. :^)