Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Tragedy of Timmy (and Why We're Not Welcome at SUNY Potsdam's Pool)

I went to Clarkson University which is about a five minute drive across a bridge from SUNY Potsdam.  While there, some of my closest friends were guys named Peter, Jacob, and Timmy.  Peter is an avid daredevil and is one of the few people I know with a list of broken bones longer than my own, Jacob skateboarded, and Timmy and I were usually up for the relatively crazy things they got into, depending on the odds of dying.  Plus I'm sure Peter appreciated always having a hospital ride handy.

I met Timmy freshman year mostly because he lived directly across the hall.  He's a bit more into music than I tend to be, playing guitar in the Clarkson Band "Up North" (later to be called "Howard Jennings Group"), but he's a nice kid, and our personalities and mutual love of movies meshed well.

One of the first memories I have of Timmy was a loud noise from across the hall during one of the first mornings I spent at Clarkson.  I later came to find out that Timmy had fallen off his lofted bed while asleep and both broke his wrist and concussed himself on the desk below.  Unfortunately this would only be the first in a long list occurrences that suggested that God was at odds with Timmy.

Later on that year Peter, Timmy, and Jacob along with Myself, our friend Billings, and Peter's then girlfriend Michelle went on a trip to Crane Mountain in eastern New York.  Unfortunately I can't quite do this story justice as I was lost in the woods at the time of its occurrence, but I will relay what was told to me in the most entertaining manner possible.  Upon reaching Crane Mountain, the six of us immediately headed off trail with Billings' grappling hook to do some...freestyle hiking.  At one point, I wandered around the crag we had been attempting to scale to see if I could find an easier way up which resulted in me getting lost on the mountain.  (How I was not eaten by a bear, I will never know.)

It turns out that my friends had gotten bored with that particular small summit and headed off to a more climbable area.  This new area was a ledge less than a yard wide above a fairly sheer thirty foot drop which served as a sort of base camp for a ten foot vertical wall that had a large crack running down the center.  One by one they took turns attempting to climb the crack until finally it was Timmy's.  He made it the closest to the top before getting stuck. 

So there he hung off of a wall of rock more than six feet above a tiny ledge that was, itself, a couple dozen feet from what you could call ground.  Suddenly his grip gave way and he fell down onto the ledge.  Luckily Peter had the presence of mind to "catch" Timmy and keep him from careening backwards to destruction.  Having faced such a precarious situation, Timmy swore off anything dangerous from that moment forward.  God disagreed.

Early Sophomore year, Peter brought his moped up to Clarkson.  Now the nearest grocery store was about a ten minute drive through town (30 mph roads) so a moped was just about the perfect vehicle so long as you didn't need to buy a couch.  At one point Timmy needed to borrow Peter's moped.  You can already see where this is going.

On a cold Potsdam evening, Timmy was heading down the access road towards the Hamlin dorm.  At the end of the "road" there is metal staircase coming down the adjacent hill.  Timmy, confusing the brake with the gas crashed into the stairs at the dangerous speed of fifteen miles per hour.  Bleeding from the head and a little disoriented, Timmy insisted on going to the hospital where he unfortunately didn't have the presence of mind to avoid the fact that he had technically been involved in a motor vehicle accident.  The cops were called in and promptly cited Timmy for two violations, lack of a helmet, and lack of a face-shield, financial insult to his undoubtedly painful injury.

And now I get to the part about the pool.  Ah the SUNY Potsdam pool.  You might wonder why the four of us frequented SUNY Potsdam's pool when Clarkson had a perfectly good pool on campus.  Well, knowing the daredevil tendencies of my friends, you probably won't be surprised to hear that the fact that Clarkson University closed off its diving boards didn't sit well with us.  SUNY Potsdam, on the other hand, was a different story.

We made a habit of going to their pool three or four nights a week, and Peter and Jacob made a habit of upping the ante on the things they could do off the high dive.  Now, the two of them may do some things that look stupidly dangerous to a normal person, but they are very good at what they do and avoid injury more often than not, especially when given the cushion of a pool of water.  However, after seeing a SUNY Potsdam student come too close to the divider that separated the diving and swimming areas (because all he ever did were these long retarded backflips), the two bitchy lifeguards decided that the high dive was off limits.

There was a cool lifeguard that had no issue with us using the high dive, but the two bitches continued to complain and eventually whoever was responsible for being the head pool nazi decided that the high dive was closed to everyone and gave us a warning.  At one point there was a threat to ban us from the pool entirely.

Undeterred we continued to go to SUNY Potsdam and enjoy the low dives.  One fateful evening, Timmy was attempting a half gainer-dive off of one of the diving boards.  A half gainer-dive involves jumping off the springboard forwards and rotating backwards one hundred and eighty degrees.  In attempting this trick, Timmy screwed up the rotation and attempted to twist himself into something that wouldn't result in surface tension-y pain.  He hit the water back first which caused his upper body to stop abruptly, while his lower body continued to move, driving his knees into his face.

Timmy broke a part of himself, using another part of himself.  As his nose gushed into the water, Peter and Jacob jumped in after him to help him out of the pool.  There was blood everywhere, in the pool, on the floor, on the bleachers, and all over Timmy.  Predictably, the lifeguard closed the pool down for the day, and there we were looking like a bunch of assholes while Timmy held onto pieces of his face.  Luckily we had two vehicles so Peter and Jacob took Timmy and his broken nose to the hospital in Jacob's car while I drove Michelle and myself home in Timmy's.  We didn't get to see the backlash of the incident, but we have not been to the pool since.

That actually isn't the finale to this story.  Later on that year, Timmy went snowboarding with Jacob.  Now, evidently snowboarding with Jacob is a cardinal sin, because Timmy became the latest in a line of casualties from Jacob's snowboarding partners.

On the last run of the day, Timmy lost his balance on a turn and the edge of his board hurled him forward.  He wasn't sure what happened, but he guessed that he bent the upper bone in his arm (think arm-femur) over his pelvis, snapping it like a twig, again breaking a part of himself on another part of himself.  The two pieces of bone were completely separated and floating about an inch apart on the x-ray.  Definitely one of the most devastating injuries I've seen in my life.  Timmy had to delay graduating for a semester because he had minimal to no use of his right arm for the better part of a year.  I still remember the first night in which he had to sleep in a sitting position on our futon.

So that's the series of unfortunate incidents in which the Grim Reaper repeatedly sneezed on TImmy's face while apparently avoiding physical contact.

I tend to believe that luck evens out though, and Timmy will probably become a famous musician (he is really good), or bang Allison Stokke (image justified!) or something.

Source: Everywhere on the internet.

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