Today (2.17.23) is the fourth anniversary of Hollywood Elsewhere’s worst physical injury episode…actually the worst of my entire life. I slipped and fell and bruised the shit out of my rib cage. It happened on Sunday, 2.17.19 in the Sierra Nevada foothills, a 20-minute drive out of Lone Pine. It was my fault for wearing Italian suede lace-ups as I walked down a gentle slope covered by icy, fresh-fallen snow.

When I was nine or ten years old a friend and I had lugged a large boulder to the top of my parents’ backyard garage. (I think we wanted to drop it off and maybe crush something below.) The garage roof was shingled and slightly peaked. I can’t explain what happened precisely, but I somehow managed to fall off the roof and the boulder, insanely, rolled off a few seconds later and landed on my upper thigh. I howled and cried; it hurt like a sonavubitch and left an awful purple bruise. But later that day I was kind of hobbling around; I’d almost forgotten about it by the end of the week.

But the Sierra foothills tragedy dropped me into a pit of hurt and grief for a good four or five weeks. Oxycodone, walking with a cane, wearing a chest-wrap device. Just getting out of bed in the morning was awful.