Early this week, I read about a cyclist who had a seizure out on the road. This individual was brought to a hospital and appears to be fine, but incidents like that often get me thinking about things, and not just because I'm a cyclist myself. What I actually picture are some of the cyclists from other accidents I met during my 8-month stint working in a major area emergency room.
Back in 2004, I was between journalism jobs and had this idea that something in healthcare, such as radiology, might be an interesting new choice - hence the ER job. That idea lasted until the day I landed my first newspaper editing gig up in New Hampshire.
The thing about the bike accidents I remember is that even when the patients were fully alert and responsive, there was just a heck of a lot of blood. It was my job to walk into the patient's room after the emergency people did their work, and get their name, address, insurance info, and so forth. I remember getting one guy's information and he spoke amicably and remarkably normally - for being literally covered from head to toe in streams of blood. To this day because of things I saw, I ride in the forest about 90% of the time, and the rest of the time, it's mostly late at night where there's no traffic. Falling or hitting something really isn't of concern to me. Some half-distracted fool in the car behind me is a different proposition altogether.
I'm glad the ER job only took up eight months of my life. But it had many educational moments and times where you witnessed what felt like the best and worst of humanity, often during the same shift.
Certain sections of this website, such as this blog, are essentially a creative outlet that amounts to throwing things to the wall and seeing what sticks. Last week's blog post, "Buffoons On The Bike Trail," was an exercise in comedy/satire writing reminiscent of earlier stops in my career. But a week later, I think it turns out that it was just another new career diversion to try out - specifically, that of a pro wrestling bad guy.
Seriously. I wrote last week's post knowing that it could potentially offend one or two people. So instead of shying away from that fact, I actually emailed my colleague, the Arlington Patch editor and told him to do what he wanted with the column - that I'd be happy to play the bad guy if it resulted in a bunch of web hits and/or comments on his site and perhaps mine as well. Like any wrestling bad guy, it was all in a day's work and you get to laugh about the whole thing later.
"Lynnfield Patch Editor William Laforme doesn't think too highly of bikers on the Minuteman Bikeway in Arlington ... do you agree??" wrote my Arlington Patch colleague on his Facebook page.
With last week's blog, I may as well have posted a video of myself standing at the Arlington or Cambridge town lines wearing a luchador mask, shaking my fist menacingly at everybody and stomping on a flag while throwing folding chairs around or something - although I think in some eyes that might have actually made me the good guy. I haven't been a pro wrestling fan since the days of Andre The Giant, but man, those luchador masks are cool.
One guy responding in Arlington seemed to think that a guy like me would happily run down a toddler on the bike trail (despite me being the guy actually objecting in the first place to almost being run down), possibly thinking the column must be the work of Genghis Kahn, Attila the Hun, and John Wayne Gacy all rolled into one. Right. Well, I did just attend a Behemoth concert. But I think my 20 pound Boston Terrier is probably more of a menace than I am. From a safety standpoint, I also generally tend to ride my bike like the proverbial little old lady driving a big Buick to church on Sunday, especially in light of those previously mentioned ER days.
Putting The 'Ire' In Satire?
While writing I found myself wondering what it must be like for the Dour Who Walk Among Us to watch something like a Monty Python skit (Maybe I'm dating myself with that reference) - Take for example my all-time favorite one, the "Argument" skit. "The author is showing his dreadful ignorance." an offended viewer might write. "There are no arguments in our city. This inaccurate portrayal of paying to have an argument, which is a negative interchange of words, can only be defined as an act of corporate-driven hate that threatens the safety of children, pandas, and democracy everywhere." Only of course that's clearly me just joking around - you can tell because in real life, Internet postings along those lines tend to be at least three times longer and preachier.
Granted, some pretty silly generalizations get made in the course of a humor column (or an attempted humor column, which can just as often be the case), but really, this stuff is pretty much any joke or comedy premise written since about 4,500 B.C. "What is it with those Babylonians? If their beards looked any sillier, you couldn't tell them from their asses!" a like-minded jokester, perhaps a Phoenician, may have inscribed into a temple wall back then to the great dismay of the local Babylonians.
Or, "What's the latest dope on the Nubian front?" asked the Pharoah. "My son!" replied his general. Ok, time to move on.
So anyhow, it strikes me that this blog post is starting to run pretty long. But again, these things are all just for fun on a Friday and that's pretty much all they're meant to be. We'll see what comes up next week. Until then, may your luchador mask always fit snugly (Waves fist goodbye in a non-menacing fashion).