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.