Crippled CEO Blog #095:
Today is the 13 year anniversary of me breaking my face. On August 8, 2008 — 8/8/08 — I was leaving work on a Friday in a rental chair (more on that in a minute). Near the base of the metal fork lift ramp that I use to get in and out of my shop, I must have stopped for a moment. The front tires of the chair were elevated to make it easier to climb curbs — a “feature” I was unfamiliar with. It also made the chair lurch forward if you stopped suddenly. When I stopped on the ramp, the chair flung me forward like a catapult. I flew from the chair, and while in flight, I had the presence of mind to turn my head to the side; I definitely didn’t want to land directly face first. I would later tell people that I protected my hands and body with my face.
One of my employees found me a couple minutes later, spitting out blood and teeth while I laid there.
In the emergency room, they put ten stitches in my lip, four more in my eyebrow, and told me I fractured my nose, my cheekbone, and my eyesocket.
Ironically, I was leaving work to go give back this rental wheelchair and get my own chair back. I had ridden up and down that ramp without incident in that rental countless times over the course of the week. If I had made it to the bottom one last time, I would’ve been back in my chair, safe and sound — no problems.
But why was I in a rental wheelchair? Because I had flown earlier in the week. And airplanes notoriously destroy wheelchairs. My chair died about an hour after I landed in Chicago. I had to spend the entirety of my time there being pushed around, unable to move on my own. The trip was so terrible for me that, afterward, I wrote an essay advocating for the euthanizing of anyone who is born/becomes disabled, as a favor to society.
And then I smashed my face.
It was a really good time.
Why am I telling you this? Because now, it is a funny and entertaining story. Now, it is in the past. When I couldn’t eat, smile, or talk without experiencing terrible pain, I kind of wanted to die. But now it’s fine.
I remembered this when I smashed my head and broke my ankle in 2019. I remembered that it sucked for a while, it got better, and then it was just a story.
That week was really, really bad for me. Broken wheelchair, broken face, ruined trip. Everything about it was so all-consuming. It seemed inescapable and forever. And when things are really bad, that’s always how it feels.
But this, too, shall pass. If you don’t die, then eventually it’s just a thing that happened to you. And maybe, with enough time in the right perspective, it might even be kind of funny. Or at least educational.
(Do you know who has given me some crazy memories? Your mom. She doesn’t have to remember to check for a new blog post, though. She gets an update every Sunday because she sent a text to the number 484848 with the word CRIP in the body. You should, too.)