Welcome to the inaugural Four Line Fiction, a pix-to-prose challenge. Each Thursday, at 9:00am Eastern Time (Canada/United States) I will post an image I have captured myself, featured from another blog or plucked from one of the Interweb’s many royalty-free image sites. You as the writer are to use that image as a point of inspiration to craft a masterpiece of fiction in four lines.
The image for February 2nd, 2023 is the word “Welcome” made of rainbow-coloured slats of plywood set against a multicoloured wall. Fitting for the first-ever Four Line Fiction challenge.
Be creative and have fun. I look forward to reading the tales you spin. Don’t forget to show your fellow bloggers some love -❤️- take some time to read, like, and comment on their masterpieces.
Every week Fandango over at This, That and the Other posts a provocative question. This week’s question follows on the heels of his unfortunate fall from a ladder. I think the accident probably had a huge influence on this week’s question…
“Have you ever fractured a bone (or bones) that was serious enough to require inpatient hospitalization and a post-operative stay in a rehab facility? What bone(s) did you break? How long did it take in rehab (inpatient or at home) before you were back to “normal”? And did you actually achieve the same level of functionality you had prior to the fracture(s)?“
While I cannot claim to have required hospitalization or a stay in a rehab facility I wanted to participate so this is as close as I’ve come.
The worst bone break I ever suffered was a fracture of the scaphoid bone. Certainly nothing like Fandango’s ladder/hip mishap. There was no hospital stay outside of the lost hours spent waiting in Emergency but there was lots of physiotherapy after to get back to a full range of motion.
It all started on the first day of school. No, I wasn’t going to school. Those days were long behind on this fateful September 3rd. I was out for my morning ride. I’d just purchased a new road/gravel bike a couple of weeks earlier. Before this bike, I’d been a mountain bike guy. I’d taken many a spill on rocky tree-lined trails with nothing more than bruises and scratches to show. These bones were tough as nails!
But as a guy in my early 50’s it was time for something less dangerous…
Now, back to the first day of school. It was 7:30am and I was out for my 15km morning ride along my usual route. On this morning I was cruising along at about 25km/h, and gaining fast on a group of 15 to 20 high school students walking in the dedicated bike path like a herd of cattle who’ve broken through a barbed wire barrier to obliviously congregate on the road.
As I approached the group they remained oblivious and did not move out of the way. Instead of slowing or stopping, I veered to my right across the grass boulevard towards the empty sideWALK that was ten feet to the right. Notice how I highlighted WALK because that is where they should have been! Anyway, my front wheel caught a rut along the edge of the cement and dug in sending me and the bike ass over tea kettle. My head (thank God for helmets) hit first with my 6’1″ frame crashing down close behind.
The kids, no longer oblivious, looked over as I skidded across the concrete and popped up seeming unscathed. Yeah, I was bleeding from various scraps and scratches but when some of them asked me if I was okay, I insisted I was alright. After all, my head and frame were still attached to each other! In fairness, the adrenaline of the moment had me believing I was none the worse for wear. Although, I am certain my bruised ego would have told them I was fine even if there had been a bone sticking out somewhere.
An inspection of the bike revealed some damage to the handlebar tape and a couple of superficial scratches elsewhere but no major damage. Hell, that was a minimum right of passage for the mountain bike. If it wasn’t banged up you weren’t doing it right.
Inspection complete, I jumped back on the bike with every intention of finishing the nine or so klicks remaining on my ride but the moment I tried to grab the handlebar with my left hand that notion quickly dissipated, replaced with searing pain shooting up my arm. I couldn’t have gripped the bar if my life had depended on it. Instead, it was a slow shameful ride home with my left arm tucked against my midsection while my weakened legs powered a bike that was being guided by a lone and shaky right arm.
I don’t know if any bones were broken. The ER doctor showed me the x-rays but they did not show a break. Apparently, fractures to the scaphoid bone don’t reveal themselves on x-rays until 48 hours after injury. Based on his experience the doc believed the bone was broken and because the small bones of the carpals, and in particular the scaphoid, don’t receive a lot of blood flow should be treated as such. A lack of blood flow restricts healing and if not immobilized and allowed to heal the bone could die. That was enough for me to accept my fate and follow his instructions.
For six weeks I wore a removable cast without knowing if it was broken. X-rays were never taken again later, I just ran with the emergency room diagnosis. When the cast came off I began three months of physiotherapy to get close to a full range of motion. It would be another nine months before I can say the hand and wrist were back to normal.
Even now if the moon and stars and sun align just right, hidden behind a bank of dark grey clouds that are dumping a cold damp rain down on Mother Earth I can still feel it click and groan. Sometimes, I think that if I’d just plowed through them they’d have moved or at the very least it would have been a softer landing!
Oh, and did I mention all the years of reckless mountain biking where I never once broke a bone?
Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, or months where you just didn’t feel like doing anything? Crawling out of bed seemed like an insurmountable task. It’s like there is a weight on your shoulders pinning you in place. That is the only way I can describe this week. It’s not stress or anxiety or anything like that, just the winter blahs!
It certainly doesn’t help when the first thing you have to do each morning is dig out from under another eight to ten centimetres (three to four inches) of snow. The snowbanks on the driveway are almost too high to throw snow over. Keep in mind that there was no snow on the ground at the beginning of the week. Just the dreary brown, grey and beige of mid-winter. I am so over this winter thing and ready for spring to SPRING!
It hasn’t all been bad. Despite the winter blahs I have been able to keep up with my exercise routine and although the scale looks the same I do feel and see some effects of the effort taking effect. That has to be a good thing, right?
Of course, my sloth has meant a certain neglect for my blog as well. Reading and writing have taken a back seat to vegetating on the couch and binging TV that I probably wouldn’t watch otherwise. A problem compounded by the fact that I end up staying up until one, two, and three in the morning and then waking up at seven again to get the rugrat ready for school. Certainly a subtle form of self-destructive behaviour.
It may not be the most exciting week in review but here goes…
The Funny Farm | Bitchin’ Chickens | I’ve been wanting my own chicken coop for some time but space and my wife have put a damper on any such ventures so I’ve come to follow this blog to get my chicken fix. If only it came with fresh eggs each morning!
Out of January and into the bleak mid-winter, let’s see if the groundhog brings us a February present. Here’s what to look at Greg’s Blog this coming week…
Look for another Five Word Weekly on Monday and the launch of Four Line Fiction on Thursday. #GB4LF is a weekly photo prompt challenge and I hope everyone finds time to participate. In addition look for T-Shirt Wisdom (now moved to Wednesday) and Part 11 of the Revenge Series.
Imagine that it’s the afternoon again when I’m finally getting to the Morning Dawdler. I do have my Afternoon Tea – Earl Grey in hand though! No cucumber sandwiches and scones though. Here are my responses to Rory’s Morning Dawdler for January 29th.
Should we fear the arrival of more progressive AI [Artificial Intelligence] or embrace it?
Fearing AI itself is pointless, it’s here and it is not going anywhere. We need to embrace it and push our political and business leaders to use the technology ethically. There is great potential for AI to solve many of the problems humans and our planet faces but we have to be the ones to make that happen. If the internet is any indication, we have a lot of work to do. The key technology of the last half of the 20th century should have ushered in a new era of enlightenment. Instead, it has become a vehicle for misinformation, scammers, trolls and some of the vilest pornography. IT has brought out some of the worst in us. Furthermore it has polarized us more than at any time in history. While we squabble over our difference the enemies of freedom (Countries like China, Russia, and Iran, or politicians like Trump or Erdoğan) exploit us and undermine democracies and our way of life.
AI learning algorithms are a large contributor to the problem. The reason the chasm between left and right is so large is because AI has eliminated the middle ground. Everything AI feeds us tries to push us to the fringes. When someone tells you they’ve never heard about issue X there is a good chance they haven’t because the algorithm may have never presented it to them. Meanwhile, your feed is filled with content on issue X leaving you flabbergasted and suspicious that the other person could be unaware. It’s hard to have civil discourse when you find it impossible to trust the other person. Sadly all it takes is a few clicks for the AI’s algorithm to start pushing you one way or the other. Sometimes even innocuously. You watch a comedian do his shtick on gun control then your feed is flooded with gun control posts. You click on a couple of the links and your feed begins to populate with more radical posts, and so on and so on… Before you know it the other point of view becomes too far removed from the algorithm’s parameters to ever show up in your feed. Your personalized feed tells you that those other issues or positions must be on the fringes because you never see them and we end up isolated in our own little boxes.
Even scarier, the Google’s, Apple’s and Meta’s of the world aren’t even sure how the algorithms work. They have taken on a life of their own but none of the AI players care because the algorithms keep lining their pockets with gold. AI will be what we let it become. If there is anyone to fear it is ourselves.
What is your proudest accomplishment?[Having children not included]
Surviving the crazy shit I did in my youth! I look back now and wonder how I’m still alive.
Are/Were you the youngest, middle, oldest or only child?
I was the oldest of three and the only boy. We didn’t always get along but I lucked out. Both my sister are great people. I wonder if they’d say the same about me?
As darkness fell away and the chamber’s light exposed her, it became evident this was no ordinary woman. Hair as red as fire framed her florid face. Green eyes revealing glimpses of anger and sadness as she peered back at the beast. She was adept at shielding those emotions, but It could reach into her soul.
She moved gracefully, despite an underlying fear. Where others burst forth stammering loquaciously, her approach was careful, reserved.
The beast would listen, but it wouldn’t matter. It was already bound to her.
Mother Earth’s processes ebb and flow over long periods of time – centuries, millennia, eons. Man on the other hand does not have that kind of time or patience. We are nothing more than a cosmic blip. As such we have developed ways to speed up those natural processes for our own exploitive gain. It represents many of the problems we have created when it comes to pollution, plundering the planetès resources, and global warming.
It has also allowed us to unlock the beauty of the planet, often hidden in plain sight. This week my son and I began a passive science project. For Christmas, he received a STEM certified National Geographic mini rock tumbler. The kit included several different types of very plain (I wish I’d have taken a photo) looking rocks. My son put the rocks into the tumbler along with one of the grit packets provided and water into the tumbler drum. We then placed the drumontop the tumbler base and let the spinning begin. The first step would take five days of spinning with us stopping taking a look after day one and again after day three. He was so excited to see the changes along the way.
At the end of the fifth day the rock edges had been smoothed considerably and the stones were beginning to show their colours. After he played with them for a while the stones along with the second packet of grit and clean water all went back into the drum for a six to eight day tumble. Each phase, four in all will continue to smooth and polish the stones. I am amazed at how it has held his interest as he asks about his tumbling stones every day.
As for the blog itself, I’ve introduced a new header image but I think it needs tweaking. Not sure it’s effective on mobile. If anyone could let me know what they think or how it looks on the mobile experience it would be greatly appreciated.
No Energy | Fandango at This, That and the Other Fandango found himself in the hospital this week. Hhere’s hoping the hip responds and it gets easier as the days pass
We shall see, I am trying to update my WordPress theme but I am so damned concerned it will eff everything up. Some of the new themes look like they have advantages that make blogging quicker and simpler and less labour intensive but only once I’ve figured out how they work. We shall see.
Look for this week’s Five Word Weekly on Monday and hopefully Part 10 of the Revenge Series. Beyond that its a crap shoot at best!
Earth ֍ Mother ֍ Stick ‘em up! ֍ Gim’me all you got! ֍ Take, take, take, without a thought. ֍ Hands off the entire lot, it’s bloody well mine! ֍ I don’t care, leave it scorched, barren and beyond repair. ֍ In my rocketship, I’ll climb, leaving Mother Earth behind — Ciao suckas!!!
You are bang on the money Cyranny, who would ever consider using a vending machine for such things…
Who me? What? Come on, you don’t think I’d lower myself to vending machine eyelashes. Don’t be ridiculous, these babies are all natural darling!!!
I hate to say it Cyranny but the world has gotten so shallow there ain’t nobody drowning no more!
To check out Cyranny’s original WTF? post click here or on the vending machine image above. If you are wondering, this response post does include my sexy eyes and a lot of work on Photoshop to get my vending machine lashes to fit just perfect!