Monday, January 4, 2010

Can I Put Boggle-Master on my CV?

So, 2010 is only a few days old and already it's off to a rip-roaring start. There is a dead rodent in the walls of my house and my mom has busted out a half-dozen air fresheners, which has given the house the odd smell of dead rat flesh and lollipops. The exterminator who came out said that barring ripping up our walls, there's nothing to do but sit back, relax, light some incense and wait for putrification to work its magic. We're really getting the decade off right around here. (On the plus side, isn't burning sage supposed to ward off bad spirits? Can you buy it in bulk?)

It's therefore no surprise that I was looking for any excuse to leave my house, which is one reason why I showed up at a wheelchair-basketball game for the first time since the hip replacement. I think I've mentioned before about how, after a season of being hung from doorframes after every game while people tugged at my spasming leg to put it back in the socket, I was burnt out beyond belief, disappointed in myself for not being able to play through the pain (what? You mean that sometimes life doesn't go according to the script of Nike commercials?) and basically of the opinion that I would rather stab myself in the eye with one of those electrified neurologist needles than do another triple-switch within the tea-cup defense. You would therefore expect that I would be able to watch a game and think only, "Yeah, that shit used to be fun....until it made me want to rip my stupid hip off and beat myself senseless with it...and then it was not."

You would, however, be wrong. Apparently, when I said "I never want to play basketball again" I meant "I never want to play basketball again until 6 months of wearing an ass groove in my bed makes me long for the feeling of hitting a sweet-ass jumper with only a few seconds on the clock." (Shut up. I have probably hit at least one sweet-ass jumper in my career). The game was surprisingly hard to watch (and not just because of the ass-bruising involved in sitting on bleachers). I was practically humming with nervous energy, in full-blown basketball mode thinking, so-and-so should have switched earlier on D because he was in help position and so-and-so would be more successful playing up on the press if she'd sag to the level of the ball and that was a nice pick-and-roll because the off-side created good spacing....and....and.... I can't help it. When someone coined the phrase "Type A personality," the A stood for Arley.

The last time I tried wheelchair basketball, I ended up sore and disappointed. This hasn't, however, stopped me from getting coach Cheryl to bring me a wheelchair to Wednesday's practice so I can suit up for round 2. I have already started planning elaborate schemes involving neoprene straps, the removal of side guards, and the re-arranging of other straps to make my hip more comfortable. Now, some of you are probably thinking, "Uh, Arley. Could the fact that you need a ton of modification to even SIT in the wheelchair, let alone PLAY in the wheelchair be a sign that maybe you should take up needlepoint and leave wheelchair basketball to those of us who do not have semi-broken hips made out of ceramic?" To you, I respond, "My doctor said I can't do any more damage and that I could do whatever I wanted." And to those of you who say, "Could it possibly be that your doctor's definition of 'doing whatever you want' and your definition of 'doing whatever you want' are slightly different because he is banking on the fact that you are not insane?" I say, "Hey, the stupid thing is already broken and I'm going to have surgery anyhow. How much more damage can I do?" And to those of you who say, "Isn't that the same logic that got you into this mess in the first place?" I say, "Good point, but I'm doing it anyways."

After all, if my new hip is going to act like my old hip, then I'll treat it like my old hip, and let's just say that I treated my old hip rather poorly. Actually, today has really been a day of deja vu. This morning, I woke up with a sharp pain in my hip and when I forced myself into a sitting position, I heard a loud clunk as the hip went back into place. It's been a little off kilter the whole day and tonight, as I was leaving dinner with some of my basketball friends, the stupid thing locked up and my ankle got twisted around, forcing me to pull myself up using the table and stand there with my leg at some grotesque angle while everyone (except my friends, who had already left the restaurant) stared at me. Just like old times! Nothing to see here, attractive gentlemen of Granville Island! I'm just going to give my hip a sharp twist and send that bad boy back home! Seriously, if someone told me that my old hip had miraculously grown back, I would believe them.

Oh well. Besides feeling like a total tool for having to gimp out of the restaurant like someone's stroke-addled grandmother, the night actually turned out very well, mostly because it involved Jameson and a rousing game of Boggle with Shira, Elisha and Cheryl where I conducted a master's seminar on the art of Boggle-ry. Seriously, I brought the Boggle Thunder. I was throwing down eight-letter words like they were Thor's mighty hammers. I may not have a job...or a love life....or a social life....or the ability to get through a dinner without having to wretch my hip back into its socket...but sweet Mary mother of Jesus can I play Boggle. Hey, I will take an ego boost wherever I can find it.

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