WHY I DON’T RUN (OR DO ANYTHING ELSE) . . .

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No running allowed—doctor’s orders!

There are a lot of excuses people use to get out of exercising. I have plenty myself, but one in particular really helps ease my guilty conscience. Every time I find myself sitting on the couch eating popcorn, clicking the “Yes, I’m Still Watching” button on Netflix, and realize that I should instead do something active, I find my guilt assuaged by the following fact:

I have a doctor’s note!

Let me explain why. I have had more accidents than any normal person my age should. I have broken more bones doing “athletic” or “active” hobbies than I can believe. Just to give you an idea, since before I was old enough to even vote, I have been stuck in SEVEN casts.

Actually, this is an understatement. Strictly speaking, I have had seven accidents that have led to broken bones where I ended up wearing casts. Some accidents involved just one broken bone; others involved multiple broken bones. And each break or breaks that involved a cast ended up needing a series of casts, not just one cast. And then there were all those “unofficial” injuries involving broken toes and suchlike where casts were not possible or practical and I had to let things just heal on their own.

So, for the sake of accuracy, let’s just say I’ve had SEVEN main injuries involving a number of broken bones and a variety of casts:

  • Rollerblading: Driveways are not my friend.
  • Rollerblading again: Neighbors’ driveways are also not my friend.
  • Running into a wall (while running): Do not run and talk to your grandmother on the phone at the same time.
  • Snowboarding: Do not scream at the top of Copper Mountain in Colorado or the Ski Patrol will yell at you for possibly contributing to an avalanche.
  • Ice Skating: Do not attempt to flirt with your high school crush while wobbling around a pond of frozen hard water.
  • Dancing: 45 stag jumps in a row will eventually shatter the growth plate in your ankle.
  • Falling Down the Stairs (while running): Do not agree to babysit two six-year-old’s just two weeks after you get out of your cast from the previous injury and before you have even completed one physical therapy session.

As you can understand, these accidents happened to me so often as a child, that I underwent several tests to make sure I was getting enough nutrition and that I didn’t have some sort of bone deficiency (turns out I was totally healthy—just clumsy and fragile).

It got so bad, that after becoming extremely comfortable with my orthopedic surgeon (for reasons understandable), he finally produced a legitimate (or, what he considers legitimate) document for me to sign promising that I would no longer strap my feet into any sport-related device: no skies, snowboard, roller blades, ice skates, etc.).

I happily signed it. I can honestly say that my feet have been free of any such device since 2007.

I should also explain briefly that the last injury listed above seriously messed up my ability to move any faster than an exasperated New Yorker during Rush Hour. When I tripped down the stairs (while running) I did some pretty gnarly damage to a tendon in my ankle, and stubbornly ignored Dr. Buddy Orthopedist’s advice about getting surgery immediately. Flash forward four years later, I finally got around to having the surgery, but by that point, the scar tissue surrounding my injury was so bad that it greatly diminished my ability to fully recover.

I now have the wobbliest ankle of all time, and that, combined with my doctor’s note and the accident-prone, fragile nature of my life, is the reason I am the world champion of binge-watching on Netflix, and totally guilt-free.

Actually, make that 97% guilt-free.

Brittany Pearlman grew up in Los Angeles and now lives and works in New York city.