Monday, May 08, 2006

MONDAY MEDS: Cyclonic Reaction/PART 5

- another installment chronicling my banged-up bod.

in this case, how i busted my back on Coney Island's Cyclone roller coaster and became instantly old.

i have slugged these reports with the tag line "instantly old". perhaps i need to explain that. i'd never broken anything/was fit & nimble at 41/never had had any serious illness. but great prolonged unremitting pain does something to your metabolism/brain chemistry/physical chemist. in the months after the accident, my hair began to turn gray. other muscles and joints began to creak ominously (this might have something to do with now being perpetually tilted over and misaligned). the mental change was...oh, i have done serious, permanent damage, and i am no longer in some kind of ascendancy. i have hit the tipping point where it's gonna be all downhill from here. slow? knows?...but the trajectory of my life has changed dramatically. as it turns out, most people i know in my age group have had this experience - a brush with a serious medical condition (usually cancer...and there's an amazing amount of cancer among us beansprouteater, nonsmoker, vegans, chckenonlyans, fishonlyans, etc.). Suddenly, we start paying more attention to health items in newscasts that before were routinely tuned out. i now hear the grasping, desperate tone in these reports (eat oat bran! wait...that doesn't broccoli! show that masturbationcaffeineredmeat...").

and so, one looks at the idea of suing somebody as a way of maybe warding of the Horrible Inevitable? of making all this seem like someone else's responsibility (with the implication that the suer will stop aging with a large enough settlement?).

in my case, it WAS someone's responsibility (well...wasn't it? shit like this doesn't just happen, right? you don't get sick for no reason, right? parts of your body don't just break or get sick or misfire or misfunction on their own, right? that would be...irrational). but as to finding out whom was responsible...well, that got a little tricky. in earlier posts, i wrote that The Cyclone was a privately-owned ride, but rested on land owned by the City of New York. so it was lawyertime. i called an attorney friend of D's who specialized in personal injury cases, and learned that:

- there is a wonderful catchall called The Doctrine of Assumed Risk: if you get on ANY mechanical conveyance (and that includes elevators & escalators, Boys & Girls), YOU are taking the risk that there might be a screw-up. this goes double for amusement park rides: got hurt?...T.F.B... you knew there was a risk of possible injury, but you got on anyway.

- pre-existing condition. "well, Mr. obviously must have already had something wrong with your back since millions of people have ridden on The Cyclone without injury." try proving that you haven't had something = very difficult.

- i would have to prove negligence on the part of The Cyclone's owners AND The City of NY who certified the ride as safe, and hire a phalanx of engineers to prove that the ride had malfunctioned. during freefall. with no motor driving it.

in short, this hot-shot PI attorney thought i didn't have much of a case - lots of medical bills, lots of pain and stress, lots of days without working...but not much of a case.

i decided that i needed more information, so i started digging around inside the bowels of the NYC bureaucracy. the first wonderful tidbit of news i learned was that the inspection of amusement park rides was - get this - the purview of the same little office that inspects elevators. And that i would have to begin to deal with the most dreaded department of them all - the permit issuers in the NYC Building Department in Lower Manhattan.

[to be continued]

NP: Ornette Coleman/"Free Jazz". oh...and this from Bukoff:

PEEVE DE JOUR: today is my three-month bladder cancer check-up. it's called a cystoscopy with possible fulguration. aren't you impressed that i know the word 'fulguration'? don't hurts like hell...pain does wonders for your vocabulary. LINK: cystoscopy.


Tuesday, May 9th


Theme: Tests

A competitive storytelling event

kind of like a poetry slam but with stories

Sponsored by TNT

Hosted by Dan Kennedy

7:00 sign-up/7:30 the show starts

$6 at the door/No RSVP needed

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
236 East 3rd St. (between Aves B & C)

Testing, testing...1,2,3

Prepare a five-minute story about being put to the test: measured, probed/prodded, judged and assessed. Tested on your knowledge, character, health, strength, morality, loyalty, or beauty. Waiting to be deemed: a. genius/uberhuman, b. fool/slug, c. mediocre/bland/plain/unexceptional, d. did you use a pen instead of a number two pencil? Going for test drives, and lie detector tests. Tests that involve peeing in a small cup... (you can't study for that)! Waiting to see if the little stick turns pink or blue. Tests of your willpower! Tests of faith! Multiple choice or essay. From The Bar Exam to “pick which hand” Proctors and bluebooks, Crash test dummies and the SATs. Tests that have not been standardized: the Are You Good Enough For My Son Test and the Are You Talking Behind My Back Test. Open-to-the public tests, such as the sobriety exam (Mam, say the alphabet backwards, walk a straight line, touch your fingers to your nose). Or tests on the sly, such as the paternity test (who is your daddy? Cause you don’t look like me...). this has been a test of the emergency broadcast system...

How it Works:
Starting at 7:00 PM, we'll put the names of all the folks who want to tell a story in a hat. At 7:30 PM, we'll start picking names. Each teller will have 5 minutes to tell his or her tale. After each story, the judges (made up of you, the audience) will confer, and give a score. The teller with the highest score becomes our StorySLAM winner. The winner will compete with the year's other winners in our next GrandSLAM Championship.

Be Forewarned:
The Moth is NOT a venue for readings; it is a venue for tellings. No notes, papers, or cheat sheets allowed. Please email us at for our storytelling guidelines. Contestants are judged on sticking to the five-minute time frame, sticking to the theme and having a story that sticks -- one that has a conflict and a resolution.

No standup routines please:
The Moth LOVES funny people but requires that all funny people tell funny STORIES.

Steer clear of meandering endings:
Your last line should be clear in your head.

Start in the action and set up the stakes:
"I was just about to say ‘I do’ when from the back of the church I heard someone call out, ‘Not so fast, bingo boy.’ I looked back and to my horror recognized Lola, a one-night stand I'd had in Vegas nine months earlier. She looked angry and she was carrying what looked like a newborn baby."

Producer: Jenifer Hixson

Executive Producers: Lea Thau, Catherine Burns, Sarah Austin Jenness & Katie Miller

About Our Host: Dan Kennedy is the author of Loser Goes First (Random House/Crown). His work also appears in various anthologies including The Los Angeles Times Best Seller Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Writing (Knopf), The Encyclopedia of Exes (Random House/Three Rivers), Insomniac Reader (Manic D), and Bookmark Now (Basic/Perseus). Check out his McSweeney's column wherein he attempts to help solve the problems you're having with paper and paper-related products:


Anonymous Azteca said...

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7:42 AM  
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10:46 PM  

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