It was a comedy yesterday - or at least a moment of comic relief in the midst of a very serious day.
The summation of the story is that I accumulated some bruises. How I got them is the rest of the story.
I was sitting in the city council meeting, mainly to be supportive of friends who would be speaking and of the issue they were addressing.
It went long enough so that I was going to get a parking ticket.
So I hurried to the meter to feed it. I actually started running. I wanted to get back.
Around the corner, the tip of my foot must have hit an uneven place in the sidewalk.
That became a launch pad for my body.
You know that feeling. You have been projected into the air and time moves more slowly in your perception. In spite of the slow down, you know you cannot correct this and that you will land.
All you can do is try to land well.
The descent is rapid. The landing is hard.
1. If you are going to fly, figure on a descent.
2. If you are going to descend, figure on a landing.
3. If you are going to land, prepare to obey several natural laws.
Profound. Isn't it?
So, I did what any right-minded, self-respecting, pride-injured male would do.
I assessed my situation and then, bounced up, checked the condition of my clothes, and looked around who might have seen it.
Sure enough, someone did and I was able to announce that I was fine.
He went in the direction I had come from and I traveled toward my car, fed the meter, and hurried back to the Council chamber where I was able to pass the concerned citizen and announce that I was fine one more time.
He responded in a friendly way that was somewhere between deep disdain and indifferent amusement.
I went back into chamber and realized I had not missed much of the meeting, As I sat there, I felt some inner conviction to stand and speak as the only white, male, Christian pastor standing with my brothers and sisters on this issue of racism and our subtle and pervasive narratives that perpetrate myths that advance an altered perspective of reality.
Racism is not about individual racists. Even people who are not overtly racist as we might define it, can participate in a racist narrative and perpetuate the historical movement.
This is not about individualism nor about individual reform.
If I could have said that better, my 2 minute speech would have been better.
Instead, I fumbled feebly though a disconnected story and I am not sure I made my point.
But I stood up.
I was neither eloquent, coherent, nor prepared.
But I made up for it by being disheveled and in a minor state of shock.
Meanwhile, back at the office because I ran out of coins after another hour, I noticed that a lump on my hip was growing. It was like a third cheek.
I was not in overwhelming pain. Everything ached and still aches, but it was not impressive pain.
Nevertheless, because I am on Warfarin and because hairline hip fractures, I thought, could be present in ambulatory souls, I consulted the advice nurse at Blue Shield.
Next lesson - The advice nurse will always tell you to get an XRay!
So, at about 3:15 PM, I walked into a very familiar place, the St. Agnes Emergency Room where I immediately saw friendly and familiar faces.
I was discharged at about 10 PM.
I had an EKG, complete blood work-up, a chest XRay and an XRay of my hip.
The doctor remembered me from past excursions.
He said, "Your XRays look good except you have a funky esophagus."
A funky esophagus is a given.
Whispers in the halls and offices outside of radiology have become a common experience for me. At UCLA, they always bring in a professor to tell them what I could tell them.
"What is that?"
That is one of the questions.
I have a funky esophagus.
I met some interesting people. I saw some people I knew. I did play-by-play reports on Twitter and Facebook. I did business through text and email. I missed two meetings and a work-out.
Other than that, a normal day was had.
I am at the office today, sore, but with no broken bones.
The doctor gave me the criterion for differential diagnosis of a hip fracture.
"If you are walking, it is not fractured."
"But I have seen people walking with hairline fractures," I interjected.
"Yes and radiology can't really pick them up, but when and if they finish cracking, you will not be able to walk."
"That is good to know."
Blood pressure was 111 over 77. Good stuff. Pulse was a steady pacemaker beat of close to 70. Oxygen levels were good.
Esophagus was still funky!
It is nice to be special in a city where many medical professionals have never even heard of Achalasia; more have never seen it; few have seen my "funky" version of it with my exotic complications and surgical manipulations.
It was nice to go in to ER with a more common complaint and ailment like a 62 year old man running to feed the meter, taking a flying leap, a rapid descent and a hard landing --- and --- sustaining the bruises to show for it.
You see, it really was comedy.
What is not comedy is that we live in a country where racism still persists, where privilege is not acknowledged, where whole "classes" of people are marginalized, where dominant cultures circle the wagons to protect their narratives and reinvent history to redeem their pseudo righteous myths, and where we ostracize those who dare to protest that.
That is not a bruise on the hip. That is a bruise on our nation.
I love America - not the mythological America that can do no wrong and has done no wrong, not the America that is defined by its symbols and songs, not the America that has never gone to war for the wrong reasons, oppressed peoples, or engaged in colonialism, conquest and suppression of human rights. I love the America where we can talk about that ... the real America
I love the America that is bruised and flawed and can admit it, the America that has codified a process of addressing and redressing its issues, the America that is multi-cultural, the America with multiple strains of historical narrative, the America that is in process, that is not finished, whose ideals are developing from core ideals not fully understood by their authors. I love that America.
I love the America that has the ability to fix our our problems and that is made of people some Americans don't like and often mistrust.
I love the America where they are just as American as me.
I love the America where we can be friends with people who do not agree with us about much of anything except the value of our humanity and work from that point toward a better understand.
I am willing to run and jump and fall down and get back up for that kind of America and city and world.
I am willing to look and feel silly for that.
I thank God for protecting, healing, and delivering me yet again from my own foolishness and I am very grateful for my many friends and their support.