I walk funny. A limp with a slight drag of my right foot. I’m not sure how many bones I chipped & broke in my right foot. I know I have broken (then had to re-break,) my big toe. I did that falling through a floor in some slum of a trailer on the outskirts of Mosquito Lake, OH. My chipped bones of that foot were from me dropping out of a tree at my Uncle’s. When I was fourteen, I snapped both Tibia & Fibula running into a board nailed between two trees. Once again, my right side. And to top it all off, my right Scapula was cracked one horrid night in streets of South Youngstown. I was supposed to wear a walking brace & use crutches when that happened. But it is hard to do that when you are homeless & have to keep moving – keep walking, because you can’t just sit anywhere you want to, for as long as you need to let alone talk to someone while you are resting… or too sick to move. That’s loitering Ladies und Gentleman. And it’s against the law. Punishable for up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.00
According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.241, loitering is illegal so long as the offender does any of the following: Stopping or attempting to stop another person. Engaging in conversation with another.
So I kept moving. And I don’t think my knee properly healed.
There is also the condition both my feet are in. I have Neuropathy. According to http://www.medicalnewstoday.com:
“Alcoholic neuropathy is a severe condition caused by excessive alcohol use. Damage to the nerves leads to unusual sensations in the limbs, reduced mobility, and loss of some bodily functions. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment early can reduce the risk of permanent disability.
A person who drinks alcohol in excess may start to feel a tingling sensation in their limbs. This happens when alcohol has damaged the peripheral nerves.
These nerves connect the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, limbs, and sensory organs. Through the peripheral nerves, the brain is able to control the body and receive sensory information.
When alcohol is responsible for damage to the peripheral nerves, a person has alcoholic neuropathy. People who drink heavily on a regular basis are at risk of developing this condition. Some researchers estimate that 65 percent of people in the United States who have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder also have alcoholic neuropathy.”
So, with all that said, in short, I walk funny.
Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be at a Recovery Center in Rogers, OH. People there were kind enough to let me stay at the facility while waiting for my apartment in Cleveland.
There was a Community Space with two large sectional couches bordering an open space about twenty-feet wide. A huge Samsung 86″ Class TU9010 Crystal UHD 4K Smart TV was mounted on the wall between the two sectionals.
I had just come in from smoking a cigarette. While shuffling my way in front of the TV to get to my room, one of the other residents, a sad & haggard-looking girl of about twenty asked why I was walking so funny. What was wrong with my leg? I told her I only had one leg.
Her face drooped even more, if you can believe it. She kept her eyes on me, though, & asked why I had just the one leg.
“Lost the other in a tragic Panda bear hunting accident,” I managed to say. “It happened back in 2017.”
She suddenly looked like a person that had just been hit with a bucket-load of cold water.
“WHAT! You are crazy. There are no Panda bears in Ohio!”
“Tell that to the Akron Zoo. Those beasties got out of their pen & went wild. We had to get to them before they found the wintery Penguin pods. Once those Pandas taste Penguin meat, it’s through. You might as well not even try prying them away from it.”
“My GOD! Did you save the Penguins?”
Wow, I thought.
Poor girl was really getting into it.
“That’s why the leg was taken. I interrupted a boar Panda during his meal. They will fight to the death before letting anything pry their pray away. They will even fight other Pandas. Luckily enough, my timing was advantageous for the pup bec-“
“IT WAS A BABY!”
“Yes, ma’am. A baby Penguin. That bear got to me before it could finish the poor little thing off.”
That’s when I could not help it any longer. The walls were falling & the stitches were popping, the very tranquil damn of my convincing demeanor bursting – I LAUGHED!
Could not hold it in any longer. I was powerless.
“Oh my god,” she snapped. “I knew Pandas wouldn’t hurt a Penguin. You’re mean, man.”
But she was smiling. Really smiling.
And then she was back to being serious, looked at me, took a deep breath for courage & asked:
“So how did you really lose your leg?”
I could only smile & say:
“One day at a time.”