Typing Like A T-Rex

Last night, not five minutes into a night game called Fugitive, I flew head first into a dry creek bed. My fellow fugitives lit up the scene with their mobile phones.

I was covered in ants, lying face down in a blackberry thicket, not sure if I should’ve been thankful or annoyed it was there. I was pretty sure my arm was broken but, no, after I stripped off my sweat shirt at Urgent Care, the diagnosis was obvious.

The pain was please-don’t-throw-up-in-the-van-on-the-way intense. A new reference point. Weird part about dislocation is that the insistent pain of bone-crushing-nerve derives entirely from the body trying real hard to do the right thing: for the love, let’s get that bone back where it belongs.

02h00 I left Urgent Care, my right arm strapped into The Immobilizer, an apparatus which probably needs no further introduction. This is a drag but nothing like a broken arm woulda been. Broken arm + cast woulda meant:

  • losing my summer job shooting video.
  • not shooting a certain slideshow which was meant to put a pretty hat on six years of summer camp work.
  • no driving.
  • lousy boardwriting once school starts.
  • difficulty planning good Keynote lessons (though three cheers for wireless presentation remotes, right?).
  • an involuntary sabbatical from blogging.
  • the incompletion of most remaining summer shenanigans.

Sitting here in The Immobilizer, I feel selfish. I realize that no one’s expendable to any process. I realize that we all tend to overestimate our importance to those processes. But I realized that what can’t be said about ten-year-old Dan and his compound fracture is that the use of my right arm matters to more people than just me.

A broken arm would’ve been a drag for every kid walking through my door this fall. A broken arm would’ve meant very few of the posts I intended to write for incoming teachers would’ve been written. My right arm matters to more people than just me. I don’t know when that happened but I know it’s a privilege and it’s time for me to act accordingly.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Oh my Gator!!! My Dan!! I’m so sorry about that. You poor (pathetic) dude!

    Don’t worry about our film, man. You take care of YOU!

    Love you sport!

  2. Good luck with the dislocated elbow! I dislocated my shoulder back in Feb & and am still going to physical therapy.

  3. What should dan watch?

    1. This American Life
    2. Deadwood Seasons 2 and 3
    3. Alias Season 5 (Just to cleanse the pallet)
    4. The Fugitive
    5. Hook

  4. Do you mean to tell me that I’m out there trying to do flips off walls and jump across buildings and you’re the one with the injury? Bad luck, my friend. This may be a good time to start vlogging, while your shoulder heals.

  5. Guess a future second career as a parkour monk (with Tony L) is temporarily sidelined as you consider the impact on others god forbid if you take a real spill in the future.

    Part of me thinks that you’d discover something quite unexpected and potentially striking if you were forbidden from being the main guy at the board this coming school year, having to engage some of your kids to take that mantle ‘with you’ coaching well. A School 2.0 rant could take place at this point, but it ain’t the point, so to speak. It’s more a matter of sitting in a new seat and getting a different view.

    That being said, I appreciate greatly the final line of your post most of all Dan. After many too many years of being a young man (and young teacher) hell-bent on pushing on extremes, I was given a few wake-up calls (some kind; some not-so-kind) that allowed me to re-think the position I had in the life picture that mattered most. And when a wife and kiddo entered the picture, oy vey did the P.O.V. change even more.

    That being said, keep the “fugitive” spirit alive and well; a broken or dislocated arm isn’t quite a Buddhist call to expel all wild elements from your life. But perhaps it hints at a larger shift going on inside you on much deeper terms.

    Cheers and rest up, fella — You’ve got quite a bit of movie making, blogging, and life in you yet before summer comes to an end.


  6. Realization? Yeah, big time. I was talking to my buddy [Victory] about rites of passage our fathers never decided to share with us. The one we focused on:

    Making life decisions based on the realization that you cannot possibly go to work with *another* black eye so recently removed from the last time you went to work with a black eye.

    Heal up, man.

  7. Dan, I’m so sorry. I had shoulder surgery last winter and it was awful. Hang in there, you’ll get through it. Just tell the kids what happened.
    1. They’ll think it’s hilarious.
    2. They’ll help you out more than you’d guess and it will be great experience for them to take some real ownership in the classroom. Good Luck.