Okay: Which do you want first? The movie or the peas?
Picture it: You’re playing racket ball or squash – with me, it was squash, but this is not a recipe about squash – and you lunge toward the front wall for the ball, pushing with enormous force off your right foot . . . and just as you do, your opponent angles his racket not flat on but edge on and smashes you in the middle of your stretched calf as hard as he can.
The pain is unbelievable. ‘F–k!’ you cry. ‘F–k! F–k! F–k! F–k!’ (You are hopping, trying to grab hold of the flat wall for support. You could not possibly lower your right foot back to the ground – the pain remains unbelievable.) ‘What did you do that for?’
Your partner has been watching, astonished.
‘I didn’t do anything. What happened? What are you talking about?’
‘You hit me!’
‘I didn’t hit you!’
‘You hit me!’
‘I’m over here!’
And – through the pain – you have to admit he is several yards away, in the far corner of the court. Your screams apparently brought him up short and kept him from retaking key after making his shot.
The pain remains excruciating. You are hopping and sweating and wondering what could possibly have happened.
‘You hit me!’ you say again with a little less conviction, as you start hopping toward the door to find a doctor or an ambulance or someone to just kill you, which right now would be a plus.
Your friend summons the pro who asks, ‘Did it feel as if someone shot you in the back of your calf with a rifle?’
‘Yes!’ you try not to shout. ‘Exactly!’ (How did he know?)
‘You split your plantaris. Basically, you tore your calf muscle. Put some ice on it, get crutches for the first two or three days, take an anti-inflammatory like Advil. Lie down for the first day and keep your calf elevated higher than your heart.’
So you hop to a vehicle, you are driven home – the pain remains acute and your calf, not small before the accident, is now the size of Alaska.
And here is where we get to the peas.
The way to ice your leg (or any other body part that may one day need icing) is to take a bag of frozen peas . . . smash it against the floor so they are all separated . . . put a thin towel around it, or a T-shirt or something . . . and put that under or atop the afflicted limb. The peas will conform to whatever shape is required.
Real guys don’t cook peas. But having a bag around can come in handy.*†
*You should be able to walk with a cane in about three days, with a limp in about a week, with an ache for about a month, and with an undying memory of the word plantariseven 34 years later.
† You are wondering: Why peas? Why not frozen cherries? That works too – until you start to eat the cherries. Go with the peas.
Tomorrow (clickable today): One More Movie (and a word about Bjorn Lomborg)
Quote of the Day
A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.~Henry Ward Beecher
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