After five excruciating months of sitting in a recliner with two broken feet, the day had finally arrived when I was scheduled to get my casts removed. I couldn’t wait.
But then more bad news when the doctor informed me that I’d need to be in ‘walking’ casts for the next eight weeks.
Oh well, it beat sitting in a recliner 24/7 watching the food network. I got my crutches and walking casts and headed for home.
I never realized how having two broken feet would draw so much attention from others, at least not until I got the walking casts.
How could I have known?
Prior to the new casts, I was in the sanctuary of my home, sitting in a recliner watching cooking and travel shows. But now…
Now I was in the viewing public where I quickly learned how complete strangers are all-too-eager to go out of their way to interrogate someone with two broken feet, wanting to know all the sordid details.
In the beginning, I’ll admit I did like the notoriety, becoming a bit of an attention whore—just as eager to tell my story as others were to hear it.
But after a while, constantly rehashing the tale of how my staircase and a burned-out nightlight had conspired against me, was getting tiresome. Not to mention how it painted me as a klutz.
I needed to change things up, start glamorizing an otherwise boring story of a guy falling down a staircase and breaking both feet. It needed to be interesting, with all the romance and intrigue of a good book.
Why not? I’ll never see these people again I reasoned and besides, I could always sense their boredom whenever telling the story. Why not give them something to marvel at?
I started out fairly innocuously at first, telling the story of how my parachute blew a panel at ten thousand feet, describing the bone-crushing impact in detail. Their look was anything but boredom now.
Now this was more like it. This was the response I was looking for, as they hung on on my every word.
But like a drug addict, the high soon wore off, I needed the stories to get even bigger, fraught with horrendous whoppers.
And that’s just what I did.
There was my Formula One car crash in Monte Carlo, the child rescue from a 12-story building, and my tumble down the Khumbu Ice Fields on my 5th and final Everest expedition.
My storytelling was now in full swing, soaring even higher with each new inquiry. It reminded me of Rossini’s William Tell Overture, smooth and soft in the beginning, building slowly, until finally hitting its crescendo. (some five weeks in).
And hit the crescendo I did.
It was the night of the Elton John concert, where I was lucky enough to have gotten preferred seating, however, due to arena policy, they refused to let me climb stairs with crutches to access my seat. So as the rest of my family and friends bid me farewell, I was escorted to an area reserved for handicapped seating, where I was seated next to, unbeknownst to me at the time, a pilot.
That’s when my overachieving days came to an abrupt halt.
Pilot: “How’d you break both feet?”
Me: “Crash landed my plane.”
Having told a bevy of highly detailed lies in the prior five weeks, I droned on, unsolicited.
Me: “Well, I knew it was going to be a difficult landing, with a 60 knot crosswind and all, that’s when I decided to just go for it and get that damned bird on the ground.”
Pilot: Interrupting me, “Were you in a chopper?”
Me: ”Uh, no, an airplane.”
Pilot: “Sorry, please go on.”
Me: “Well, as I was saying, I was lining up for the strip when I noticed the landing gear hadn’t deployed. So after several attempts to fix it, I finally radioed the tower advising them to get the foam ready—it was definitely going to be a hard landing.”
He interrupted again:
“What kind of plane were you in?”
Me: “Uh, what kind of plane was it? …Uh, a Cessna.”
This fucker was starting to ask too many questions. I suspected something was up but I was in too deep to turn back now.
Pilot: “Which model?”
I’m stammering. Where the fuck is Elton, shouldn’t he be on stage by now? How do I know which model. Why is he asking me this. He’s got to be a pilot. Where is his little pilot hat with the black patent leather brim and the gold braids? This sneaky fucker’s trying to trip me up.
Me: “Uh, its a single engine Cessna.”
Pilot: “I wasn’t aware Cessna made a single engine plane with retractable landing gear.”
I began to feel sick as I started to sink down into my handicapped chair, this guy had to be a pilot, I needed a bigger lie to get out of this one. Think, Diego, think!
Me: “Uh, we had it customized, fitted with retractable gear.”
Pilot: “Really, I didn’t know that was possible.”
His ‘really’ inflection tipped me off. He knew I was full of shit. I needed to reach deeper for another lie—one so big he’ll shut the fuck up once and for all.
Me: “Yeah, my brother-in-law is a retired engineer from Boeing, he designed and built the whole thing.”
That oughta silence the bastard. Now wheres Elton. I fixed my gaze on the stage as if to signal I’m through talking.
Pilot: ”Which airport did this happen, was it local?”
This guy won’t give up. Jesus. I didn’t know any small airports except the one near my house. I think it’s called Deer Valley.
Me: “Deer Valley airport.“
Pilot: “You say it happened at Deer Valley?”
Hurry Elton. C’mon….H-u-r-r-y up! Panic is setting in.
Me: “A few months ago.“
Pilot: “And you say emergency crews foamed the runway?“
C’mon. C’mon. Where the fuck is Elton???
Pilot: “The only reason I ask is because I’ve been the airport manager at Deer Valley for the last ten years, and.I don’t recall any foamed landing events.”
What a creep. He had me at landing gear, and yet continued to play me like 3rd violin.
What kind of an asshole does that?
[crowd chanting El-ton, El-ton]
Thank God! Finally.
Me: El-ton, El-ton [I'm ignoring the pilot altogether now as Elton (fucking) John finally takes the stage]
It was finally over. His Klaus Barbie-like interrogation. My hole-digging descent into liars hell, finished, as Elton broke into Crocodile Rock.
This was all his fault.
None of this would have ever happened had he started when he supposed to.