Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Writer Learns Hard Lesson

By Paul (Gimpy) Levine

I am in pain, so if this is more incoherent than usual, cut me some slack. If you stick with this post to the end, I promise to pass along a key lesson of life.

Many years ago, I was a regular weekend volleyball player on the beach in Key Biscayne, Florida. That's where I tore up my right knee the first time. But not the last time.

I loved to play. Sometimes, crowds would gather and watch in astonishment at the fiercely competitive games.
I ripped cartilage a second time playing tennis with my son, Mike.


I had surgery; years went by; other injuries dogged that damned right knee. Finally, thirteen months ago, I was the recipient of a brand new mechanical knee. That knee works just fine. But Sunday, in a futile effort to re-live my lost youth, I did something stupid. Usually, Sunday mornings are reserved for buying fresh fruit at the Studio City Farmer's Market.
Then, perhaps a healthy snack at Porto's, a Cuban bakery in Burbank. But last Sunday, I played pick-up volleyball on the beach in Santa Monica.


This time, I tore up my left knee, requiring a trip to the E.R.



You may ask what I have learned from this episode. Simply this. You may take Vicodin...

Or you may drink vodka...
But you may not do both.



  1. "Better do a little well, than a great deal badly."
    Presumably you're not living the life of Paul Sheldon in "Misery," though I in no way doubt that you are in misery with your knee.
    More than happy to cut you some slack; I was expecting an homage to one of the greatest football coaches ever, Jo Pa not withstanding, Bill Walsh... or some words on Ingmar Bergman or Tom Snyder --- all three just passed away.
    I'm not sure what the TRUE lesson is here: try to avoid doing "something stupid," [letting your giant ego drive you into futile efforts] or is it, if you do "something stupid," don't do another "something stupid" [like take Vodka and Vicodin].

    Feel better

  2. Ouch. Hope you're knee starts feeling better soon.

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  4. Was the Vicodin and Vodka before the game or after?

  5. Oh, Lord, Paul, I feel your pain. Boy, do I feel your pain, having slowly come through an agonizing re-injury of an old arm injury. Vicodin may not go with Vodka, but a gin and tonic certainly isn't too bad with a Perkoset, just make sure the narcotic goes down with some food - that Cuban pastry ought to do it.

    And, hate to say it, but that knee surgery pic was a bit too much information at 6:30am - I am nothing if not squeamish.

    I know people might say you should have taken it easy, or not played as hard or whatever, but as I have always said, "You might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb." Basically, that means, if you're going to do something a bit risky, might as well take out the "bit."

    Rest easy and write - I speak with authority that your writing gets really, really creative on a strong painkiller - if you can stay awake.

  6. Oh, God, Paulie: I feel your pain too. Ongoing knee injury in my right knee from high school. Sigh. I can get by with it, but when the uninjured left knee decides to go out too, in sympathy, it gets a bit much.

    Why were you knocking back vicodin with vodka? Believe me, taking the vodka with the cuban pastry would have been much safer - just the hugest sugar rush. Or taking the vicodin with the pastry, instead.

    HOpe you're out of pain really soon. Although, this should make it into one of your books...

    Oh, and my favourite epithet is: "if you're going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance."


  7. But if you don't drink vodka with vicodin, how do you wash it down?

  8. Paulie, Paulie, Paulie. Need I say more?

    Um...David. You wash it down with a couple of mojitos.

  9. Did windsurfing ever wear you down? That's where my injuries tend to come from. That and reading.


  10. Hi Paul....Watch those vicadin, can lead to a state of depression, seriously.(As if being in pain isn't depressing enough) Feel better soon!

  11. Jon, there will be college football to be discussed as September nears.

    J's aphorism about the sheep & lamb reminded me of a favorite Mexican saying that translates as: "The week begins badly for the man hanged on a Monday."

    Jim, the only injury I suffered windsurfing was chronic tendonitis in both forearms (tennis elbow) from hanging onto the boom in high winds. A harness relieved some of the pressure. I've had friends who broke noses and collarbones when being tossed by a gust ass-over-elbows into the mast.

    And THANKS to everyone else for the kind wishes...

  12. Oh you poor dude! And you gotta watch even that first nurse. She could clock you with one of those shoes. I hope you're on the mend soon and that you move on to the mojitos with the painkillers....

  13. "That's where my injuries tend to come from. That and reading."

    Yeah, papercuts can be murder.