Wounded Hero

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I've always loved the thought of being a wounded hero. My usual role as spectator could then be excused to battle-scarred bravery rather than fear, incompetence or a perpetual cycle of both.  

However, as people start their weekend pilgrimages to Kirkwood and Squaw, feeding their addiction for fresh powder, I can stand up and be counted as a veteran of alpine accidents.

"Well, I'd love to ski," I tell people, "but after two surgeries, six screws, a metal plate and a week at the University Hospital in Geneva, I'm just not sure my humerus could take another break." I think this radically edited story of my life in Switzerland as a high speed downhiller makes me sound like a crazed adrenalin junkie who pushed the boundaries a little too far. Something I rather like the sound of.

If I told them that said accident took place on the bunny slopes, the first day I ever ski'd and that it's been ten years since the screws were removed, I feel it might pollute my injured sportsman bravado. 

If they start asking too many questions, I've developed a backup of subjective responses to steer us away from my blundering ineptitude. "Skiing's an elitist sport," I say, "partaken by trumpeting blowhards.  Nothing beats a wet winter weekend in the City when they've all disappeared."


Unconscionable as it sounds, I've even used my wife's genuine sadness at being unable to snowboard due to multiple back surgeries. My unwillingness to ski is more about comforting her and not disappearing at the first sniff of snow.

When I do finally come clean and admit my brief history on the slopes (make that slope singular), people suggest I try snowboarding, snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing. These people don't know who they're talking to.  Oafs know no bounds. I've knocked over a stationary bike and killed a treadmill before and I'm too young to die. 

No, better to wave farewell to my ice-infused pals and laugh at their "stuck in a storm at Donner Pass" excuses for not turning up to work on Monday. Apparently nothing tastes as good as après-ski cocktails on a stolen weekday.

With a Perspective, I'm Lewis Heathcote.