A few weeks after I left the hospital I ran into a neighbor on my way to the grocery store. He rode alongside of me in his electric scooter. We talked about our health; I asked him about his recent knee surgery and he asked me about my head. He told me that I had finally become an adult, or, in his words, I had reached manhood. He said it happened to him during the Korean War.
I didn't think much about that statement, not then or in the year since my fall. All that changed when I received this message the other day on Facebook from a young skater:
"I came across your story a few weeks ago. I used to board a lot without my helmet before I read your article. Shortly after I read it, I went out boarding with some friends but I grabbed my helmet. That day I ended up getting speed wobbles near the bottom of the hill and I wiped out. my head hit the ground first, hard. I was confused at first and my head was pounding. I quickly crawled out of the road way and on to a patch of grass. After about 30 seconds or so I realized I fell. I checked myself over and all I had were little scrapes and a mild headache. My helmet on the other hand was cracked. If I had not come across your story I truly believe that I would have not been wearing my helmet that day. I just wanted to thank you and let you know that some good has came from your misfortune."
After reading it, I started thinking about my neighbor's statement. It started to make sense. Before bashing my head in, it would have been difficult to find someone that thought that I had made a difference; actually, it wouldn't have been difficult, it would have been impossible. But after I read this message, for the first time since my fall, I felt like I had done something good. I realized that my neighbor was right that day on our walk together. That maybe it took this traumatic experience, a horribly bad experience, for me to do something good.
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7 years ago