I have this friend.
His name is Eddie.
Eddie is a man cursed by misfortune, a victim of his own circumstances.
Take the time during our younger days when we took a trip to the farm.
Read backwards, from the end result to the beginning, as if watching a movie in rewind mode.
Trust me. It works.
Eddie comes out of the ER, stepping gingerly. The look in his eyes betrays a feeling of a line crossed that offers no return trip.
We stand stock-still.
We barely dare to breathe.
“Not a word,” Eddie says in a Mickey Mouse voice as he digs at his ear with his red handkerchief, which is OK with us.
No words can describe what we witnessed and we stand there in mute silence.
“I’m going home,” he says.
Eddie doesn’t ask for a ride. We don’t offer.
“Never seen a case like it before in all my 25 years of practice,” the doctor says, “Things should return to normal in a few days. Use lots of ice.”
“It’s OK, son, it’s not as bad as it looks,” the doctor tells Eddie. “This should be easy really. You’ve already laid the track. All we have to do is back up the train.”
The doctor looks at his two orderlies and nods.
“OK,” the doctor says. “On the count of three… two… one!”
I hear a high-howling, blood-curdling scream echo from far down the hall beyond the closed double doors of the Emergency Room.
The doctor lifts the sheet and takes a peek underneath.
“Oh my,” he says, “this can’t be good.”
“So…” the doctor checks his chart, “Edward. What seems to be the problem today?”
Eddie speaks, but at the moment nothing that walks on two legs can hear his reply.
Somewhere outside the emergency room, dogs begin to bark.
We find a wheelchair and rush Eddie into the ER. He is screaming and curled into a tiny ball.
The nurses bump Eddie to the head of the line and take him back first. It’s the smell. Jimmy wrinkles his nose in odiferous distaste and espouses poetically, “It seems the bovine fecal matter has struck the automated rotary oscillator.”
The bull spies Eddie’s red handkerchief dangling from his hip pocket lolling lazily in the gently wafting zephyr. It reminds him of days gone by and he relives his glory days one last time.
Eddie rises to all fours.
“Guys? I can’t see a thing for all this —…”
We grimace as Eddie flies without the benefit of wings.
Eddie might have made it to the fence were it not for the cow patties.
There follows a heavy wet squishing sound and Eddie yelps in surprise, “Whoopsie Daisy!”
Eddie’s feet go up. His face goes down. The resulting double somersault scores a 9.5 if this were Olympic gymnastics.
But it’s not.
We watch in horror as a pair of long, mournful howls shatter the tranquil silence of the pasture, first from the bull as it begins to buck and jump around, snorting angrily, and then from Eddie as he realizes his egregious error.
The enraged bull shakes its massive horned head and sights in on the first sign of movement, Eddie running frantically away, the red handkerchief dangling from his back pocket.
“That’s odd,” Eddie says. “It’s not working.”
Eddie squeezes and yanks down hard.
Frowning Eddie squats and pokes around. “Ahh, there it is,” he says and wipes off his hands. He stuffs the red handkerchief in his back pocket.
“Do we tell him his cow’s actually a bull?” Jimmy asks as Eddie hops the fence to trot off down the pasture.
“Nah,” I reply. “Some things are best found out by one’s self.”
“Check this out,” Eddie says pointing, during our recent visit to the farm.
“Ever milk a cow?”