A Quick Pick-Me-Up

For a kid who was raised as a skier, Mary certainly doesn’t fall very well.

I can remember the time in Brooklyn that I sent Mary off for the subway to Manhattan only to have a weeping, bleeding mess show up at the door a moment later. In her haste, she had fallen in the street and skinned everything but her nose.

True story: The day before our wedding, Mary and Shop Boy were walking along a sidewalk in Colorado Springs, Colo., excitedly discussing our honeymoon plans.


Mary was airborne, arse over elbows, as a Bostoner might say, the pavement that had tripped her just itching to tear her up once again.

Then something truly amazing happened: In a split second, Shop Boy caught her … an inch before her pretty face — and everything else — hit the concrete. To this day, I do not understand how I reacted that quickly. But I saved our wedding. Unbelievable.

“You’re OK,” I whispered in her ear. “I’ve got you.”

She went limp, I lifted her to her feet, unharmed, and we stood there hugging, both of us dumbfounded by what had just happened.

Like she’s not going to marry Shop Boy after that?

The odd thing is that Shop Boy has had a few moments like that in his lifetime. Bill Lee, a goofball pitcher for Shop Boy’s boyhood team, the Red Sox, was asked once why he had been such a great fielder of baseballs smashed back at him. He said the drugs helped him see the play before it happened, or something like that.

Shop Boy doesn’t know about drugs and seeing the future. Booze just makes me forget the future, the present and the past. I think maybe it’s just that, having made just about every dumb mistake a person could make, I tend to see bonehead moves coming.

Mary and Shop Boy were at old Candestick Park in San Francisco, watching Shop Boy’s adulthood team, the Rockies, play the Giants, when I spotted a couple of young boys running down a row of empty seats — jumping from one to the next. Keep your feet on the armrests and it’s loads of boyish fun, believe me. Slip, and one leg goes behind the seat bottom as the other lands on the seat, opening the chair and essentially putting all of your weight on that slab of wood that is about to snap your leg in two. Panic sets in, and the more you struggle, the more a fracture becomes likely. The pain is indescribable.

That was me, Fenway Park, 1968.

Shop Boy should add at this point that one of the Candlestick thrill seekers had a little brother. And he was headed down the row a little behind them. As the little boy, about 5, went past, Shop Boy pulled a Bill Lee.

“Oh, no,” I said to Mary.

Half a row later, it happened. His big brother long gone, the little boy slipped.

Shop Boy ran.

He was near shock by the time I got there, panicked, unable to make a sound but about to snap his little leg when Shop Boy, a big bear in a brown fleece pullover, grabbed him. “You’re OK,” I whispered. “Just relax and I’ll get you out.”

He went totally limp, and I reached down with my free arm, pulled the seat bottom vertical to release the pressure on his leg and lifted him out of there.

Mary swears it was one of the most funny-scary and heartwarming scenes she’s ever seen — certainly at a baseball game.

Not the boy’s dad. I carried the sobbing little fellow, who was still unable to speak, up the stadium stairs to his father, who gave me a “What are you, a pervert?” look and grabbed his son away from me.

A couple of innings later, when the tyke could finally tell his father what had happened, the guy came over, thanked me and shook my hand. Shop Boy would bet that he’d been there before, too. Either that, or it had flashed through his mind that his wife would have killed him for getting her little boy’s leg broken at a stupid baseball game.

Anyway, we’ve been without a light on the loading dock for some time. Those motion-sensing lights are apparently just like the miracle, water-saving, motion-sensing, auto-flush toilets. After a while, you’re doing jumping jacks trying to get their attention.

There’s a set of cement stairs, 18 or so, that lead down next to the steel dock and its steel beam supports to the parking lot.

Shop Boy couldn’t catch Mary’s dad at Christmas when he missed the last step in the dark and tried to rearrange his already sore knees. (For the record, I would not have whispered into his ear. But I probably should not have yelled, “Wayne, you big dummy, what are you trying to prove?”

But it seemed appropriate. Besides, he was more angry with himself than hurt. (And he’d have said the same thing to me.)

Well, my Bill Lee-dar should have told me that Mary wouldn’t be far behind, even though she’d promised not to leave work after dark. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as my mom liked to say. Good, active brains on these people … but, lord, stop thinking and watch where you’re putting your feet!

Mary called me at work from the parking lot, shaken, to tell me she’d fallen, tearing up both knees — and her favorite jeans!

Jeez, this kid.

The building manager has since installed a light with a timer that goes on reliably at dusk.

Still, I guess I’m just going to have to hang around Mary every minute.

Neither of us would mind that, Shop Boy’s thinking.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mary!

I’m glad I caught you.

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One Response to “A Quick Pick-Me-Up”

  1. Flashmob Says:

    Great read, Ill come back

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