Running Through Fire


Today as I was getting ready to join the daily throng, I bent over to pick up a dirty sock and ended up tumbled on the floor, back in excruciating spasm.  (Note to self: never tell my kids this story as it is already hard enough to get them to pick up their socks.)  I was alone in a hotel room so there was no one to call for help.  It was 15- 20 minutes before I was able to roll over on my stomach and start inching my way (by simultaneously pushing with my arms and pulling with my toes – I couldn’t do anything that caused any kind of twisting force in my spine) towards my bed and hence my cell phone.  When I finally reached it, I didn’t call anyone but it was just such a relief to know that I could.

And the whole time, when I wasn’t shuddering with pain, I was thinking to myself about how stupid those movies are where the hero gets hit in the back with a 2×4, or kicked in the spine, and then valiantly overcome the pain and end up tackling the bad guys and, well, whatever.  I’m here to tell you that when you are in incredible pain you can’t do anything.  It’s always been a pet peeve just how much movies and TV underestimate bodyy trauma just for dramatic effect.  For instance:

  • You can’t outrun an explosion.  Any scene in which the hero outruns the explosion and dives over the wall just in time is a crock.  Explosions travel at speeds closer to that of a bullet than to that of a running guy, no matter how telegenic he is.
  • You can’t run through a fire.  Fires heat the air to over a thousand degrees.  Your clothes would burst into flames, heck,  the fat in your skin would too.  One breath and your lungs would be crispy so you would die of suffocation.
  • If you get shot with a modern high powered pistol it doesn’t just drill a hole through the muscle.  It turns the surrounding tissue to pulp and the shockwaves can break bones, and the bones can also transmit shock to other parts of the part where it does such severe damage that you may never recover.  You will certainly not be able to pull yourself up with the wounded arm or punch the bad guy.
  • If you get a severe beating, a kick and punch fest, it will likely be days before you can get out of bed.  There’s a good chance you’ll end up with permanent damage such as a limp or constant pain, or mental retardation.  You will not be at the bar an hour later with a tiny band aid on your nose.
  • Oh, and the first shot fired by a sniper is the one that kills.  They had plenty of time to set up and chose the whole ideal spot.  Scenes where the first shot ricochets qand the second hits someone are  a crock.

One Response to “Running Through Fire”

  1. mortar Says:

    I had heard about your episode and envisioned your army crawl, without twisting, to the phone…I could almost feel the relief when you reached and retrieved your phone…help was on the other end and just knowing that can sometimes bring some degree of relief, if not physically, emotionally. Glad you are ok!
    You are so right about running through fire…by happenstance, I was passing a barn along the road that was on fire….as I got closer, I saw there were people a good bit in front of the burning barn,desperately trying to tackle the sheep that seemed to be intent on running straight for the blazing building. I watched in horror as one by one, the sheep that made it through the determined ring of men trying to tackle them to the ground, made it to the barn and immediately, upon entering, burst into flames…I had never seen anything like this and all I could do, was watch in horror as several of the sheep chose the same path. I wondered if the sheeps’ desperate desire for the safety of their home during a time of great fear, overrode the instinct to back away from the intense heat.
    The power of fire was on display for me that day.

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