In case you're just joining us, I recommend you begin with Part One of this piece.
"How" is one of the most important questions a journalist or inquisitive human can ask. When you calmly sit beside the recent car wreck victim in the hospital you always ask them about the accident itself.
"How did it happen?" you ask. "What did it feel like? Did it hurt?" You're patient, understanding, full of compassion. "How do you feel?" By now you might be stroking their arm, careful to avoid the iv tube.
It's with this last question that you truly open the gateway to the next step, a portion of the journey that is more debilitating than the injury itself. How do people live with their disability? It's something that changes a person forever. Sure, it may heal eventually but it will never be forgotten.
Such was my existence. Shortly after I discovered the laceration on my cycloptic friend I had to take a shower. I had just run and I needed to return to the office. My friends in the shower stalls adjacent to me were confused as to why I was screeching and pounding my fists violently against the not-quite-opaque glass that separated us.
Who knew that water could become a flesh reaping acid, a salt to my slug? I have never felt such pain.
"What were you whining about in the shower," asked my friends. I quietly told them of my affliction. They shrieked and grabbed their own penises. My physiological issues became emotional ones for them. I hear when people lose their arms they forever experience "phantom pains" -- I think it's somewhat like that.
For a week I sauntered about like John Wayne after riding a horse all day, as if to say "there's a reason for this wide, manly stance."
And there was a reason -- by widening my gait I was able to minimize the amount of contact, because every slight touch sent shivers to the part of my brain that registers pain. Like a landsman stuck on a boat in a storm I'd crash into the nearest wall in anguish, hoping to find brief respite from the pain caused by walking.
Peeing was especially fun and also lead to manic screeching. I wanted to cry "It hurts!" but didn't want to suffer the stigma of being the dude with a raging STD in the office.
"Hey, there's Grant," they'd whisper. "I'm pretty sure he has Chlamydia!" After all, like Chlamydia I was experiencing the side effects of a burning sensation while urinating.
Desperate to rejoin the "Man Run" I decided to bandage my appendage and begin to take back my life.
"I recommend the small bandage," suggested a friend. "Real funny," I thought, but it seemed like the right choice. I figured a smaller band-aid would cover a smaller surface area and therefore would cause less pain during removal. Unfortunately, I failed to take into consideration the surface area in question. Certain parts of the human anatomy contain more sensory nodes than others. A small band-aid only covered the part with the most nodes.
But wait, there's more!
When applying a band-aid to your soldier, it's quite important to properly consider the order of operations. I failed here too. I put on the band-aid, tied my shoes, then realized I needed to go to the bathroom -- #2. It doesn't matter how dehydrated you are, certain bodily functions are always paired with a little pee pee. And so, the band-aid had to come off a bit sooner than scheduled!
While hovering over the disgusting gym toilet I decided it was best to just remove half of the band-aid. Soon, the all-to-familiar sounds of man screeching returned as I peeled off part of the band-aid. I delicately held the flailing band-aid half while I angled my tool and did what I had to do elsewhere. It was much like a one-legged trapeze artist trying to perform his act in a bathroom stall with his pants around his ankles and a band-aid on his mutilated weenis.
Not all of my pain was physical. I confided in my father one morning while driving to work. He's the man who raised me and taught me to be a man. I sought his ear in confidence. He chuckled, told me what I needed to hear, and moved the conversation forward.
Later that evening my phone vibrated and lit up.
"how is ur weiner?"
It's my fucking mother. Really?
"sore" I replied.
"how is ur sexy time?"
I didn't answer her, but the sexy time question couldn't be answered. It ceased, much to the delight of my girlfriend.
How have we not evolved past this? Turtles grew a shell on their back to protect their soft innards, yet my most precious part is savaged by...moist boxers during a run? How did the Greeks fight wars then? One simple injury changed how I walked, peed, the core of my relationship with my mother and girlfriend.
I want a tortoise shell between my legs.
*Alternate titles were "The Man Run Briss"