About two weeks ago I got into an ATV accident and broke my shoulder (An ATV is a four wheeled, small vehicle people ride to guarantee hurting themselves). I’ve since had to wear a sling and it’s changed my life for the better.
Suddenly I’m very popular. Like how people who had Segways when they first came out were popular, even though that’s not the case anymore (Segway is a two wheeled vehicle people ride to guarantee ridicule). Everyone wants to talk to me and ask me whats’ going on. Even strangers. Especially strangers, actually.
The other day a really cool looking guy in a wife-beater and red pajama pants stumbled up to me on the street asking, “when did that happen?” as if we’d known each other forever, or at all. It almost made the constant pain worth it.
Talking about it can get pretty exhausting, but I’m getting pretty good at responding. I feel the way actors must when they go on a press junket. At first they’re really self-conscious and nervous about their answers, but then they get so sick of answering the same questions over and over so they start coming up with really confident, creative answers.
It’s not that I’m lying to anyone about what happened. I’ve just been trying out different inflections or attitudes. Like a really weathered, “been here before” tone, like a soldier shot for the hundredth time (in total, not in a row. For obvious reasons). That one is my favorite.
For some people I play up the sadness and horror, and for others I’ve even been known to try a really jovial way. Like how Santa might act if he broke his shoulder.
I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve even started to wear my more complex, sleeping sling out in public, even though I don’t even need it anymore. It’s five pieces and makes the injury look 10x worse. To be honest, I don’t even need to wear the normal sling anymore. I wear it more to ward off any hard pats on the shoulder, or to avoid getting beat up. I’m not 100% sure on the psychology of people who beat people up, but I assume that there’s some kind of code to leave people with slings alone. There’s no sport to it.
I think a lot of it has to do with the way I look. I mean, people walk around with slings and injuries all the time and don’t get the attention I get (I’m assuming). I even avoid people with injuries. They just don’t feel safe to be around.
Here’s my theory: People will treat a guy wearing a sling totally differently if he’s wearing a suit opposed to wearing a Monster Energy Drink shirt. Not that I wear a suit all the time, or at all, but my style leans more on the side of suit than it does Monster Energy Drink shirt. I never had the nerve to buy one. Seems like something you should get for free.
Being a clean-cut, well dressed man, people must assume I was attacked, or a victim of some unfortunate accident. As if it somehow wasn’t my fault that I ran an ATV into a tree. I guess the lesson is, if you comb your hair to the side like a British boy, and wear button-up shirts (not button-down shirts. That’s a different thing), you’re admonished of all guilt when it comes to personal injury.
Once I’m fully healed, I can see myself continuing to wear the sling every once and a while. Maybe one day I’ll even get so good at wearing my sling that I’ll make up a more interesting story on how it happened, or wear a Monster energy drink shirt. It couldn’t hurt. Not anymore than running an ATV into a tree.