Welcome to this, the third entry of my summer hiatus. It is 100% true, and it happened to me about a week ago. Part of why I couldn't type this sooner lies in something resulting from this incident, which you'll soon see. Should you feel the urge to laugh, grin, or show any indication that what you read is in any way entertaining, then now might be a time for a little self-reflection. Only I am allowed to laugh. Now, no more sense in beating around the bush. Here goes:

Despite my 22 years spent on this earth, I am full of signs and indications that I'm still just a really big kid. Unlike others my age, I do not need to be entertained, but rather find entertainment. While I'm a fan of technology (e.g. computers, stereos, television, and battery-operated hands-free can openers), I'm also easily amused. I won't expound any further.

So when I went to a lake and visited a public beach, it was only natural that the swing sets there should attract me like a moth to a fluorescent bug zapper. I have always loved swings. Something about that seat suspended by two chains, regardless of whether or not you burn your butt from it because it's been roasting all day in the hot sun, is simply irresistable to yours truly. I love just sitting there, letting it rock as I sit down, and then starting to swing my legs.

Every second is sheer pleasure as the ground becomes blurry because I'm moving too fast to actually see it clearly. And the higher I go, the more I feel I'm breaking free of the thoughts and feelings that are otherwise ever-present. In seconds, the only thing that matters is that I'm defying gravity, and every time it tries to pull me back, I defy it again. That simple back and forth movement is so liberating. All thoughts fade away and the only thing that matters is that you feel. You feel alive, happy, excited, free.

And so it was that I climbed onto the swing, and I set myself free. I climbed higher and higher into the air, forgetting the ground beneath me. Before long, I was as high as could be, and felt like nothing could spoil my fun.

Unfortunately for me, the feeling ended up being nothing close to reality. The swing, clearly out to get me (refer to above poorly written analogy involving a moth), chose that precise moment to give out on me. One second I'm flying free, then suddenly I'm moving backward, falling (and thinking it a normal part of the ride), when I hear a loud thud and I'm suddenly motionless.

I'd say there was a sound, like a CRACK!, but I don't remember hearing one. I only remember moving backward, and then not moving at all. I open my eyes, after apparently having closed them upon my fall, and let the scene come into focus. The sound of laughter meets my ears, and I turn my head to see my friend in tears, laughing at the spectacle. And I begin to laugh, finally realizing what had just happened.

Slowly, I rise to a sitting position, and then use the dangling chain to pull myself up to my feet. As I brush myself off, I pull down my shirt over my back, it having been pulled up due to the few feet I skidded upon impact. As I stare at the chain, I notice the swing still attached at the end. And I look to the other end, only to discover that it is no longer intact, having lost its screws and being torn apart. Despite my love of swings, only one thought enters my head: serves it right. Bum swing.

I then inspect myself for signs of injury, including scrapes, cuts, blood, broken bones, and bruised ego. I find nothing, save for some blood oozing from my middle finger on my left hand.

Feeling relieved that I'd escaped injury, having not even hit my head in the fall (whew), I desert the swings and head for the bathrooms. Once there, I go straight for the sink and start running cold water (no option on that one, it's the only spiget in the place). Water pours over my finger, soothing it. I put soap on my hand and scrub lightly, cleaning out all the dirt and grime so as to save myself from an infection.

As I scrub, a man walks into the bathroom and goes to the urinal. He looks at me, watching some of the blood wash away from the water, and strikes up conversation:

Man: Oh, hurt yourself, huh?

Me: Yep.

Man: What happened?

Me: I was having a little too much fun on the swings.

Man: Oh really. Well, you know, there is a minimum age on those things.

Me: What is it, three?

Man: [no response]

The man walks away (without washing his hands, mind you), clearly baffled by my last remark, no doubt thinking I'm an idiot with an IQ lower than his own. I don't take kindly to his belittling tone, and his attempt at sarcasm that hit well below the mark.

I leave the bathroom, my finger less bloody but still causing excruciating pain. Whoever imagined that fingers have so many nerved? I head to the ice chest, and borrow some ice to put on it.

As the day wears on, my finger grows exponentially more purple. Eventually, someone guesses that I've broken it, and so the search ensues for some tape to keep me from moving it. The tape seems to help, less because it has healing properties, more because it kept me from moving it and thus making the pain worse.

The next day, I go to a nurse, who encourages me to keep icing it (which I've been doing continuously) and also fits me with a fancy little splint. That lasts for one day, and the next day I go to the emergency room to get x-rays.

After a lovely 2 hour stay for the x-rays, it's established that no bones are broken. Lucky me. It's also established that I've torn the ligaments in my finger quite a bit (this is referred to as a "sprain"). Not so lucky me.

I'm fitted with a new splint, one that keeps my finger completely straight. It's wrapped with gauze to secure it in place. The resulting appearance is that, even without forming the other four fingers into a fist, I'm perptually flipping the bird. So, while inconvenient and sometimes annoying, the splint has also been the source of a fair amount of entertainment.

Given the circumstances and the amount of run-around I've had to suffer from this ordeal (not to mention the pain I've suffered as well), I feel that I might as well make the most of it. And given that I've had to endure much unwanted attention and countless people staring at my finger and asking "what happened?", I feel I have every right to be "angry" at the world, and give it the finger.

Remember, I'm not laughing. I'm angry.