KUNG FU OR KUNG FOOL

This is a story of a true occurrence in the summer of 1983 when my two daughters Tracee, Jennifer, and I were spending a Saturday afternoon together. We had just been fooling around the house after going to the playground doing nothing in particular. I remembered one our favorite TV shows (reruns) was coming on, “Kung Fu”. We always enjoyed watching Grasshopper (Kwai Chang Caine) and his adventures. We particularly liked the flashback parts where blind Master Po taught Grasshopper many valuable lessons.

The episode had ended well and we decided to go outside so the girls could play and Dad could relax in the nice summer weather. I soon noticed Tra and Jen were reenacting the Kung Fu episode we had just watched. All seemed to be going well so I relaxed as I had intended. I then noticed their tone of voice had changed and looked up to see them exchanging Kung fu chops. I got up and called out to them so I could be a peacekeeper. I said I would also play the Kung fu game with them, and I would be the bad guy.

This calmed the developing situation and we proceeded to play Kung fu. Dad was a good bad guy and I proceeded to act the part well. I hadn’t noticed that while I was busy with Jen that Tra had snuck up behind me. She delivered a pretty good chop to my lower back. As I was turning to the left to face her Tra darted to the right and down off the porch stairs. She turned north and I strategized I could cut her off by jumping over the juniper bush on that side of the porch. I am sure you have heard the old axiom, “Look before you leap” well I didn’t. Once I cleared the juniper (which stood about 1-3/4 feet above the 3 feet high porch) I saw a toy truck occupied my landing place. I frantically stretched out my left leg and barely cleared the truck, but immediately wished I hadn’t. I went down in a heap writhing in pain in my left knee, and Tra said ”C’mon Dad you can’t fool me that easily”. I certainly wish I had been fooling her but I wasn’t.

I have heard of people recounting life and death situations, and how the passage of time seems to slow down, but I can swear the same effect applies in cases of severe pain. I’m not quite sure how much time passed by then I heard Jen say ” Tra I don’t think he’s kidding!!”. I saw Tra running up to check me out shouting, “Dad are you OK? “. I told them both I just needed a minute to find out if the pain would lessen. It was gradually subsiding and I was able to bend the knee and the pain was still decreasing. I finally said I would try to get back up and give it a try. It did hurt some, but I made it back into the house and sat down on the couch. I had the girls go upstairs and get me a pair of shorts while I was preparing an ice bag for the knee. Applying the ice was a soothing thing and I started feeling much better. During the evening I even took the girls shopping, but I took it easy on the knee. When we got home we watched a little TV and I fell asleep on the couch, and I guess Tra and Jen went to bed on there own.

If you have ever been awakened with a cramp in your toe, calf, or thigh then you can begin to imagine the total shock of being awakened by all three at the same time. I remember glancing at the clock on the living room wall and seeing that it was only 4:00AM. I rubbed a while and noticed that both the front side and rear side of my left knee looked like half a soft ball had been implanted in them. I hopped to the kitchen and refilled the ice bag. I knew I couldn’t drive myself to the emergency room, but the ice was easing the pain again so I waited until 7:00AM. I called to the girls and told them to get up and get dressed, and then I called my sister Barbette on the phone. She agreed to come take me to the emergency room so off we went along with Tra and Jen of course.

Once we entered the waiting area I was taken to see the doctor right away. First was an X-ray then a CT scan. Then the doctor inserted a syringe to drain the excess fluid, which helped, but he then wiggled my kneecap and I almost slugged him. I heard a nurse asking my sister in the waiting area if she knew what had happened. I knew I had made another mistake I hadn’t told the girls I wasn’t going to relate the whole story to their Aunt Butchy. I had just told my sister about stepping off the porch and tweaking my knee. Tra would answer and she did, “We were playing Kung fu”. I thought “Aw shit” and then I heard the guffaws and I yelled, “It was Kung Fool not Kung fu.” About an hour passed and the diagnosis was a split of about four inches from the top down my left tibia, slightly torn cartilage, and slightly torn ligaments in the rear of the knee. I got to wear a full removable leg brace (with Velcro) for at least three months (which turned into around seven on and off).

That should be the end of the story but my sister was a neighbor with a guy I worked with so when I showed up Monday morning I was greeted by hoots of Kung Fool.

 

Comments 14 comments

Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

Tom I know all about that knee pain and I hate pain. My grand kids want me to get down in the floor to play with them and their little toy trucks,they don't understand titanium knee joints but believe it or not little boys and girls too have a way of motivating us to do what we might not otherwise do. You were being the good daddy and you have never been a Kung Fool.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

What a story Tom! That sure sounds painful and what a long recovery. And you were just being a good dad. My boys loved the King Fu stuff also. They were always running around the house doing the kicks and chops while making all those unique noises. It was a great time in my life.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Robert,

I was having a good time with my girls. The Kung Fool part was leaping before I looked.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Pamela,

It was quite painful. I did initially take the brace off after three months. It never hurt but for some reason the fluids accumulated until I put the brace back on. This kept up for almost seven months. I always enjoyed the girls. The next year in 1984 I took them to the WVU spring drills and showed them where I lived in Westover. I bought five season tickets from 1984 through 1993 so they could each take a friend to the Mountaineer football game with us.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Tom,

I'm sure I've had similar if not such drastic experiences. Raising kids is full of hazards.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

dahoglund,

I was my own hazzard. The kids were having fun playing, and I caused my own injury.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Dear Tom,

All I can say is OUCH! I guess watching Kung Fu is better than re-enacting it.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Pop,

I would have to agree with your conclusion. I could never put my heart into watching again after that episode.


marcel285 profile image

marcel285 6 years ago from New Zealand

lol, Great story!

I tend to get a little too excited and enthused when playing with kids, and it can be dangerous!! You've got to know when to stop, before someone gets hurt, and it's usually not me!

A couple of years ago, i was playing with my boyfriends little brother whom was about 6. This kid has a real fancy for me..He says he loves me, always tries to cuddle and kiss me, and he call's me 'pretty lady', or 'beautiful girl'. lol. He's sweet, but he's a little fire cracker when angry!! He usually ends up getting hurt when he plays with me, he's so hyper. About 2 years ago when i was playing with him, he was chasing me, and a car door was open, and he ran straight into it..Then it was. 'I don't love you anymore, you're a bitch!!' Gosh kid's crack me up, he got over it and forgave me when he calmed down, and he still want's to marry me. lol


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

marcel,

Thank you for your comments. When I was a little boy I used to make one of my sisters best friends cry all the time. I always called her bird legs and she always cried about it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Well, Tom, we all get to play the fool sometimes. At least you got your episode over while still young. I enjoyed reading your story to get to know you better.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

James,

I wish the last time I played the fool was in 1983. Unfotunateatly some old fools never learn.

Thank you for reading and for your kind comment.


ehern33 profile image

ehern33 6 years ago

This was a great story that I truly enjoyed reading. I didn't enjoy the pain though, but I did enjoy the way you portrayed it. Kids, grandkids, they all have the code to our foolishness and I am not exempt from it. LOL It's funny, I studied martial arts for more years than I can remember and while a yellow belt I thought I was Chuck Norris already, so a few friends got together to practice. We made up a scheme that I was to jump over two of my friends with a flying side kick, clear them both and land. Well pictures were taken from the ground and it looked really cool. The thing was that no one took a picture of how I landed. Needless to say I never landed on my feet. LOL So I know how you felt.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

ehern,

I wish I had studied matial arts. I may have had a chance for a better landing. Stretching out my left leg was a bad choice. Thank you for your comments.

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