Monday, June 12, 2006

On Ben Roethlisberger

Y'all know I love me some football. Longtime readers know that at the Way Out Inn we love the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. We just love football. We'll watch teams that we don't even like play, just because it is football. We'll watch NFL Films recapping the 2002-2003 season with dramatic music and voice over. We went to Canton Ohio on pilgrimage last summer. We. Love. Football.

We bleed black and gold for the Steelers. We have a Tom Brady bobble head doll. We love a lot of AFC teams. Brett Favre can suck and lose all the time and I'll still love and admire him for trying harder than anyone I've ever witnessed.

In my house, it's a hard day on the schedule when the Steelers and the Pats play one another. Either way, I know my favorite team will win but I'll still weep in my heart a little bit for the loser.

I know ole Nance out in the 'burgh area is rolling her eyes and is all barfing over the porch rail (through the screen, mind you. Through the screen!) but I do love Ben Roethlisberger. The patron saint of black and gold town. The Super Bowl winning QB of Super Bowl XL. The pride of the 'burgh. My son's favorite player. MY favorite player.

Today, Dude was riding his motorcycle and crash-assed all over a car, with his face. Dude FACE SLAMMED a moving vehicle, at high speeds, sans helmet. Dude is in serious condition in the hospital, because that's a battle you cannot win without a helmet.

I, for one, love the boy as if he were my own son. But I would bitch slap him into the middle of next month if I could.

Wear a FUCKING HELMET dumb ass. And every other one of you dumb farts who ride without one -- will you please, for chrissake, wear a damn helmet. Ben gets NO sympathy from me for doing something as stupid and wrong as riding without a helmet and crashing.

Well yes he does, because I'm all over here crying and sick to my stomach and whatnot because he could have permanent damage to his head and he could have a career ending situation if things turn out for the worst.

My husband works with people who are in nursing homes for the rest of their stupid assed lives because they did something so dumb as to not wear a helmet while hurtling at high speeds through traffic.

I don't hate motorcycles. I think they are cool. I love them. I'd ride one if I weren't such a fat ass and if I didn't look like a huge oompa loompa on one... But I think anyone who rides one without a helmet, without boots, without pants, without a coat is ... an asshat. Complete and total. End of conversation.

Don't play me this song over and over about freedom and choice and you are more aware of your surroundings without the helmet.

Don't call people who wear protective gear "pussies" at gas stations when you're fueling up because they don't take the risk of "living" life to its fullest and they've got on a helmet and Kevlar.

And Ben -- you asshat -- you wear a helmet on the football field. Tedi Bruschi can't hit as hard as a mini-van. Why wouldn't you take the same precautions to protect your head off the field as you do on the field?

Oh my God this makes me froth at the mouth like a crazed lunatic.

I'm not a doctor but I know a couple little facts about the human anatomy. You have a very squishy little spongey thing inside your skull, called a brain. It runs your entire body, but it is really fickle and doesn't work good when it is hurt. So there are a couple of little things surrounding this soft squishy bit of your body that is in charge of everything.

You have a thin membrane that keeps the soft squishy bits cushioned and safe. There is some liquid, some other stuff all mixed in there. It is very very thin doesn't react well to being jarred and banged around. So outside that layer there is another layer.

This outer layer, called your skull, is not made of titanium. It is made of bone, which is kind of tough, but still can be damaged rather easily. When it gets smashed really really hard by say a 16 ton weight dropping from the ceiling or when the body flies headfirst at high speed into another object, the outer layer breaks into tiny bits. And then physics sends tiny bits of debris all up into that thin membrane and that spongey grey gooey crap, causing all kinds of permanent damage.

Then you end up in a skilled nursing facility being fed by a Haitian Nurse while she is screaming in Creole to the guy in the hallway that he ain't her baby daddy.

I've heard several horror stories from Aaron when he worked as a first responder down in New London/Groton about motorcycle accidents. Realizing that he was walking through someone's brains after they were killed and spread thin all over I-95 really shook him to the core. Just hearing him tell the story shakes me to the core. The guy wasn't wearing a helmet. At 35 miles an hour he would have been killed. They estimated he was doing well over 100 based on the "residue" trail he left behind.

Helmets make a difference and protect the little vessel of your skull with its precious cargo of your brain. One is not a pussy if one wears a protective covering over that sensitive area. One is not a pussy when one wears a coat, pants and boots while riding down the highway.

I think if you're going to call someone a pussy for dressing protectively, they need to say "I'd rather be a pussy with my skin and muscles not shredded like pulled pork on the asphalt, and my brains not scrambled like the eggs I had for breakfast. You obviously have made a different choice. God be with you."

Anytime I see people riding down the road in wife beater T-shirts, Old Navy baggyass cargo pants and FLIP FLOPS I want to lose my mind, pull them over, and start screaming at them. Then I want to beat them bloody about the head and shoulders with a golf club.

Until they realize that the thrashing I'm giving them hurts about .0058% of what it would hurt if they turned into road sandpaper in a wipeout.

The skull bashing I'd give them wouldn't feel anything like what it would feel to meet a Toyota Highlander crossing the double yellow line into your pathway. When you go through the windscreen and into the DVD player running Boobah for the kids in the back seat.

But I can't.

Because I am a huge proponent of choice. All kinds of choice.

Because I believe this I also believe that Bad Choices have Bad Consequences. And Bad Consequences sometimes have to be lived with, like it or not.

But squirrel, please -- when it happens I don't want you all up in my grill crying because your boyfriend lost his leg when he miscalculated a turn at 90 miles an hour in shorts and flip flops.

Bad Choice equals Bad Consequence. Live with it.

I choose to wear my seatbelt daily, even when driving around the corner. Because I've seen people propelled from their vehicles to their death. My mother chooses not to wear her seat belt. And she gripes when I won't put the car into reverse when she's sitting in my passenger's seat.

I value her brains. And her body. And while she can make all kinds of bad choices in her own vehicle, she will abide by my rules while I'm driving.

I make my son wear a bike helmet when riding in the neighborhood, not because I don't trust in his ability but I don't trust the f'tard high school kids who cut down our street while yakkin away on the cell phone and not being on the right side of the road.

I'm hoping my insistence will help Geoff make good choices when he is older. If he chooses differently, like Ole Ben there, I'll lecture him, cajole him, maybe beat him about the head and shoulders with a golf club. But when he's old enough to make his own bad choices I have to honor them. And maybe live without him because of them.

I value his brains. And his life.

Ben Roethlisberger obviously doesn't value his brains enough to want to protect them out on a bike. That's his bad decision, and one he has to live with now. Thank God the only person he has physically hurt is himself (emotionally, I'm sure the old lady driving the other car isn't doing well and I feel intensely bad for her).

Ben, my darling, my love, my son's hero, my fantasy football QB... I hope the hell you learned a personal lesson today, and will make better choices with your skull, your brains, and your life when you ride your bike.

Continuing to ride without a helmet in the future, if you have a future riding a bike, will drive me mental and I may have to come down there and yell at you.


Until then, I pray for your healing and recovery. I pray for the lady you crashed into. I pray for the people who are being fed by the Haitian CNAs at local hospitals. I pray for anyone who needs guidance in making better choices with life.

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