You know how kids are always doing crazy shit, often times, to each other?
Well, me & my buddies, er, I mean, my buddies & I were no exceptions.
Back in Brooklyn, when I was probably about 9, 10 years old, I was playing ball at the local schoolyard (PS 176) with my friends.
Afterwards, we were just standing around, shootin’ the breeze on the sidewalk, when one of my friends said to me, “I bet you can’t do something l!”
And while that really wasn’t something specific enough for a normal person to answer, this was Brooklyn.
“Oh, yeah? You bet your ass I can!”
“OK. You’re just gonna stand there & take 10 deep breaths, quickly, one right after the other & then I want you to hold your breath!”
Seemed simple enough, I thought. What the hell could possibly happen?
*cues the music*
I do as instructed. 10 deep breaths, then I hold my breath.
Well then, my buddy, Kenny Fitzgibbons comes behind me & wraps me in a bear hug.
That was the last thing I remembered, that is, until…
Apparently, I passed out.
My other friends told me that I began teetering, from one side to the other, & they were pretty convinced that I must be faking it.
Then, I just fell forward…face first, right onto the quite-hard, I might add, concrete sidewalk.
Now they were shocked & pretty convinced that I wasn’t faking having fainted, standing upright.
What really convinced them is that I crashed into the ground face-first…my legs didn’t buckle, my knees didn’t bend, I didn’t slump down.
I hit the ground without putting out my hands & arms to “soften the blow”.
And I was, indeed, quite the blow.
I was bleeding pretty badly from a cut in the middle of my forehead.
And from another one on my top lip.
And from yet another one on my chin.
My forehead, my upper lip & my chin.
But not my nose.
I didn’t even get a bloody nose. I didn’t break my nose. And, honestly, I really don’t remember it hurting much afterwards.
My non-Kenny friends brought me & my bloody mess of a face back to my home a few blocks away.
As you can guess, my Mom totally flipped out when she saw me standing in the doorway!
“Oh, my God, what happened to you? Boys, what happened to my Michael?”
Upon being told by my friends exactly what had happened, her mood changed immediately!
She was like a caged lion. Furious would be a major understatement.
After cleaning me upon quickly, she grabbed my hand & barked, “Where is this Kenny?”
“Follow us, Mrs. LoRusso. It happened right by the schoolyard.”
They were quick to point out Kenny as soon as we got close to the murder scene.
She started screaming at him, yelling like a wild Banchee on the war path.
I really thought she was gonna clock him!
Actually, it was pretty embarrassing for me having my Mom come down to the schoolyard to avenge the “brutal attack on her beloved son”.
Please don’t go & hit the perpetrator now!
“Mom, leave him alone. I’ll take care of everything.”
She grabbed my hand again…further embarrassment…& dragged me back home, despite my pleas to just let me stay.
“You’re still bleeding! I’m worried that you he may broken your nose! I’m gonna call Dr. Taglianetti when we get home.”
Note: This was ages before the invention of the cell phone. I think we were still using tomato cans & string to communicate.
And, believe it or not, family doctors still made house calls in those days (as long as they could make it safely past the roving dinosaurs)!
Turned out my nose wasn’t broken (there was no need for Dr. Tag’s services).
However, it hadda be some sort of miracle for me to sustain deep cuts on my forehead, upper lip & chin, yet suffer no major damage to my nose! I’m sure the fact that I was temporarily unconscious at the time played a big part in it, especially since I made no attempt whatsoever to soften or prevent my fall.
I definitely hadda be pretty relaxed & all since I didn’t wake up until a few seconds after I hit the ground.
Kenny never tried anything stupid again. We remained friends. (In the back of my mind…oh, never mind!) We even played on the same baseball, softball & basketball teams together.
Once again, thank you, everyone, for listening!