Crutch: (n) a staff to assist a lame person in walking
Granted sexual energy, stamina and maybe the best physical appearance one ever sports…
The age of sixteen might seem to be the highlight of one’s life.
That is, if it were not accompanied by such stupidity.
I liked Kevin. I think Kevin liked me. We had been friends since elementary school.
But when he was sixteen years old, he broke his leg.
He was out with a bunch of friends, sledding on a snowy day, and failed to notice that his sleigh was going particularly fast and he was unable to stop from crashing into a wall.
It was a clean break.
Matter of fact, he went right to the doctor and had a cast put on (back in the day when such contraptions were humongous, resembling modern art).
Kevin was not part of the very popular crowd–but on any Friday night when a party was being planned, he was also not on the “don’t invite at any cost” list.
Then something strange happened.
His accident occurred on a Saturday, so he showed up at school on Monday, his leg in a cast, on crutches.
At first there was an outpouring of sympathy.
But then, a strange anthropology sprouted in our herd. All the other sixteen-year-old kids began acting aloof to Kevin. Maybe it was because he was always trailing us, hopping along on his crutches. (Or because we grew up in a small, provincial community and the kids thought the broken leg might be contagious.)
Whatever the cause, by the time Kevin completed his seven-week rehabilitation and returned to us wearing two shoes, he had become an outcast.
He tried desperately to return to his normal acceptable position, but invitations to parties went away.
I tried to befriend him–but suffering in the throes of adolescent insanity myself, I also retreated.
It didn’t get better when he was seventeen and it didn’t get better when he was eighteen.
That seven-week period when our comrade had a broken leg, giving us a visual of himself on crutches, sealed his image for the balance of high school.
It was so bizarre.
Kevin tried everything possible to re-establish himself. He tried out for the football team, chorus and the school play. It didn’t make any difference.
Yet I thought it was a phenomenon of being a shortsighted teenager until I grew up and realized that expressing weakness or needing a crutch of any type in the presence of your fellow-humans traps you in a box that is very difficult to escape.
So what is the best advice?
Stay away from a crutch.
Which probably means you should stop breaking your legs.