The Gospel Truth

THE ACCIDENTAL KAMIKAZE | December 15, 2011

I know I have been writing a lot about Heaven lately but I have been in no immediate hurry to go there, that is until last week.

I had a serious accident the other night.

One that quite possibly could have killed me.

It was an auto accident without the car.

I can only describe it as a possible suicide attempt.

I gave new meaning to the term, hit the ground running.

I assume its author meant with one’s feet and not head and face.

We were a meeting for the Foundation for Special Education for Children at the palatial home of one of our members.

As we were walking to the car I realized that I had forgotten my mailing list.

So I literally raced to their front door to retrieve the list.

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Felt like this without the helmet.

I never made it.

The approach to their home is on an incline with one small step leading to a plateau that fronts a small staircase.

I was running toward the latter and never saw the former.

I either became airborne or merely skidded on my face.

I thought I had hit the stairs and had broken my neck.

While my wife impatiently waited in the car, she started to wonder what had taken me so long.

She did notice a small group of people gathering by a mass or a lump on the ground.

Little did she realize that bloody mess was her husband.

The first person to reach me was the widow of a former hockey player.

She had seen a lot of cuts and bad scraps and stated that she did not think I needed the ER, which relieved me immediately.

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I tried to fly like the Rock.*

Our Director, a prominent priest in the diocese was the one who thought 911 might be necessary.

He also wanted to know if there was another priest around who could offer me the Last Rites since he had his new golf pants on, which my wife had given him.

The next day I saw my doctor and he prescribed several x-rays of my neck and damaged knee.

The results came back the next day.

The x-rays were all negative and I should heal quickly but I would still be ugly.

At my favorite restaurant the next morning the owner told me to leave since I was scaring her customers.

The next evening at my Christmas confession after sitting down to face the priest, he politely told me I should get behind the screen and put a bag over my head.

The family says I can’t be in the annual Christmas picture.

My daughter plans to buy me a mask from the Phantom of the Opera.

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For the family Christmas photo

This would have all been risible except for the fact that this was not new for me.

I had been there and done similar things several times before.

It was as if I had an innate death wish that I keep failing to fulfill.

I am like one of those Japanese pilots that devastated our navy during the waning years of World War II in the Pacific…the infamous Kamikaze.

Having studied Japanese history, I think I have a bit of the Kamikaze in me, except I don’t want to die–it just looks that way

The Kamikaze is commonly translated as Divine Wind.

This Divine Wind is credited with saving Japan from a Mongolian naval invasion in the 12th century.

The Imperial navy resurrected it to save the home islands from the expected American invasion.

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I have a lot in common with them

My first attempt at a crash landing occurred in 1955 in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, where I spent most of my summers with my maiden Aunt Mal.

My father had brought up my old bike–I would get my first “racer” after my September birthday.

I had heard of the play, Three Men on a Horse, so I decided, along with friends who were also brothers to try three boys on a bike.

We started at the top of one of the steep hills in the area and were going at a great speed with one brother on the handlebars and the other on the cross-bar with me at the wheel.

At the foot of the hill was a pick-up truck.

I immediately jammed on the brakes and we all flew head over heels into a pile of rocks.

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Landed in a pile of rocks

My head was bruised–the bike had landed on me–and  I had but a few scratches from the thistles that were adjacent to the rocks.

The next spring I was riding on my new bike up to the local high school to play stickball with Max.

The night before there had been a terrible storm and an elderly couple had been electrocuted by walking through a puddle with a live wire in it.

My protective mother urged me to be careful and watch out for ‘falling’ wires.

At least that’s what I thought she said.

So I am riding and looking up at all the wires above, thinking one is going to fall on me and fry my 12-year old body.

Some poor new father, who had just experienced the birth of his first child, turned the corner in his car as I peddled across the street.

He hit my front tire and I went flying.

My bike was mangled, not unlike my glasses at the recent accident.

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Years later glasses got even worse

I had a small abrasion on my upper leg but that was it.

The recent incident is more reminiscent of my next incident, as it was the same eye.

The year was 1962 and we had our homecoming game with Syracuse University.

They were stomping us 24-6 at half time.

The Crusaders rallied and only lost 30-20.

I was so elated by our manly come-back that back in our dorm I challenged Mike Schoering to run past me.

He lowered his head and came at me and I swung around to drop him and crashed into the corner of a wall.  We were at the intersection of wings in the building’s figure H.

I am looking up at the ceiling while people inquired who is it?

At the emergency room, my most memorable moment was meeting a really beautiful blonde, who was like a vision from a dream…maybe a delirious dream.

Ignoring my pain, I asked her for her symptoms.  Oh I have an eyelash in my eye was her melodious reply.

Wow! I was in love but a male nurse–how I hate male nurses–quickly closed the curtain between us and she vanished from my life forever.

I think there is a best-selling triology about a Swedish girl with an eyelash or something in her eye?

Thanks to my roomie I made it to the dance that night but my head was approximately the size of a beach ball.

By Tuesday both eyes were blackened like a racoon’s.

Looked like twins

In 1971 I was finishing my course work for my Ph. D.

During the summer I organized with others a pair of teams from my townhouse neighborhood and the History Dept. at St. Louis University.

We had lost the first game when I played for the History Dept.

In the second match I was on the neighborhood team when in the last inning, with a lead I decided to get us another insurance run.

I whacked the ball off the shortstop’s glove and as it rolled into short left field I legged it for second.

The second base person was a wide-hipped professor of mine, Gordon Kirk.

I tried to dive between his legs because I couldn’t see the base and knocking him over was out of the question.

Never having done that before I did not extend my hands and arms and literally crashed into God’s earth.

My humerus departed from the rest of my shoulder and I felt like Bonnie and Clyde in their dramatic death scene that was frozen in cinematic time for what seemed like an eternity.

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I should have practiced first

I was declared out and while my brother-in-law took me to the ER  we lost the game.

Some years later I was playing tennis with the same brother-in-law when an errant bounce with unbelievable backspin came right at my face–I had not won a point from him since we had started playing.

In my effort to save the point I managed to hit myself right in the head.

Blood gushed from my other eye–not the one from the wall in our dorm.

He took me home to show his sister and she just shook her head as we drove to the same ER where my shoulder had been examined.

A pretty young nurse took all my paperwork and then abruptly turned to leave and I loudly asked her: Will I see you again?

She curtly turned and replied emphatically: No!!!

In my shaken but not stirred state all I could think to say was No, I don’t mean socially!

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Not socially

As I write this, I am forced to think that if I am really a part of the Kamikaze mindset, I am not very good at it.

This reminds me of the joke about the Kamikaze who flew 44 unsuccessful missions.

At the rate I am going, I might win a Darwin Award.

Probably not,  because you have to successfully kill yourself to get one.

* The last three years of my radio program  on WGNU I used the Rocky Theme—Gonna Fly Now!  And I did!

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8 Comments »

  1. Bill:

    My husband is also accident prone so I always have
    an antibiotic ointment and bandaids in my purse.
    Fortunately he only landed in the ER once.

    His young bride of only a month or so decided to try and make donuts like his Austrian grandmother did. She did not have a deep fryer so she used a skillet.
    In seconds the oil ignited and flames were flying. He
    grabbed the skillet and tossed it out the front door of
    our apartment in haste. Luckily nobody was walking
    by.

    I took him to the ER where we were told he had third
    degree burns on his right hand. He was brave; I was
    the one in tears. Gave up on making donuts forever
    but I have filled the snowman cookie jar with home-
    made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and
    snickerdoodles for him! He is undoubtedly a cookie
    monster.

    We’ve been married 43 years!!!

    Wonder what you New Years Resolution will be???
    To TRY to slow down and be more careful!!!

    Wonder if you ever knew the infamous Monsignor
    O’Toole of Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves.
    He wrote a great book: My God What A Life!

    Anyhow, when he visited the parish classrooms he
    asked the kids who wanted to go to heaven. All hands
    went up. When he asked who wanted to go to Disney-
    land all hands went up. When he asked who wanted
    to go to Disneyland tomorrow all hands went up. BUT
    when he asked who wanted to go to heaven tomorrow
    guess what? No hands went up.

    He told the Archbishop he was going to write his next
    book about the wives of the apostles. The Arch. was
    quite curious and it seems he took him at his word.
    O’Toole of course was pulling his leg – he had quite
    a sense of humor!!!

    You can borrow his My God What A Life from me if you like.

    MF

    Comment by M. F. — December 15, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    • Great story. Thanks for sharing. BB

      Comment by bbprof — December 15, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

  2. A great post, Pop.

    Love,
    MB

    Comment by Matt B. — December 15, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    • Glad you liked it. You should see how fast I have healed. The value of good blood flow and Lena’s healing touch. Your mother’s doctoring prevented it from getting any worse than it already was. Bb

      Comment by bbprof — December 15, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

  3. I ‘m so sorry about your fall! I do help you heal quickly and keep up the good sense of humor!
    Take care and thank you
    Alice

    Comment by Alice klein — December 16, 2011 @ 2:47 am

    • Alice:

      Thanks for your concern. My face is virtually healed in just seven + days. Michelle thinks it is from all the extra blood flow I get from a massage. I have had three of them them since the accident, one 12 hours after. No swelling—black s all gone–just one small remnant of a scab. People think it is miraculous. She also popped a “bubble” in my nad–hurt so bad I almost took a swing at her–she said if I had she would have hit me even harder. My doctor looked at it Thursday before going to Haiti of one of his charity trips–goes about 3-4 times a year. Saintly man and a great Catholic. He said it was a cysts or something—used to tell patients to whack the spot with a Bible or bog book–Lena uses pressure of her thumb—hope it won’t come back–she had one in about the same place and worked on herself–didn’t come back. Bb

      Comment by bbprof — December 16, 2011 @ 5:25 am

  4. Wow! What a story. Thanks for sharing. I hope you are feeling much better. Merry Christmas, MBD

    Comment by Marty Dyer — December 16, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  5. At age 85. I was leaving our bank and going down the steps. For some reason, I did not see a step and flew out into space landing on my face, hands and knees. There was NO ONE around. I dragged myself to a standing position with a foot that was swelling fast. I managed to go back into the bank and they put ice on my foot and called an ambulance. Lots of x-rays. Torn ligament. Was chair bound for about 4 weeks and we were to move into Assisted Living that week. Our daughter and son in law drove from Denver to Alex, Louisiana taking off for two weeks and moved us in and decorated the apartment. Do you suppose God knew we needed help and arranged all that? I think so.

    Comment by Mary B — December 17, 2011 @ 3:02 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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