“What happened to your arm?”

Brownwood Assistant Band Director Jake Shelton was about the 63rd person to ask me that question, prompted by the sight of the Ace bandage wrapped around my right forearm.

“I got in a fight with Julia,” I replied.

“It happens,” Jake replied to my reply.

I’m injured, don’t you know, and I’m trying to self-treat and avoid having to seek professional help, i.e., physical therapy, surgery and who knows, maybe even amputation; hence the Ace bandage.

I’ve given a couple of other answers to the masses who have gaped at the bandaged arm and asked “just what in the Sam Hill is wrong with your arm?”

“I fought the law and the law won.”

“I got in a fight with (name redacted).”

About that. A few weeks ago, the gossip went around in a public building that me and (name redacted) almost did get in a fight. “I heard you and (name redacted) almost got in a fight,” numerous people allowed.

“Wha-a-at? Why that’s insane! Well I just swannee!”I replied each and every time, or words to that effect. I deduced that the one and only witness to the non-fight must have spread it around that me and ol’ (name redacted) was a-fixin’ to go to duke city.

I’m a cat juggler, not a fighter.

Indeed, there was a conversation between me and (name redacted) one morning, who’d been saying some hateful, hurtful things about moi, to moi’s bemusement. It was rather entertaining. This occurred when I happened upon (name redacted) and the witness in a hallway.

I spoke politely to (name redacted), who went on to say something about “payback” or “I’m very good at payback” or words to that effect.

“Take your best shot,” I suggested, which was my way of saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me, nya nya nya.”

But the witness — who told me this later — read something ominous into my invitation to (name redacted) to “take your best shot.”

He thought it was going to go down. Duke city.

And that’s how word got around that me and ol’ (name redacted) almost got in a fight.



Because of my injury, tasks I once performed easily with my right hand now become either painful/impossible. So I either: try to modify the activity so it requires minimum effort with my right hand and arm; try using my left hand; or get someone to do it for me.

Maybe moi should have felt humiliated for having to ask a female co-worker to open a bottle of Aleve.

It wasn’t because I couldn’t figure out how to work the childproof cap. I can usually figure those out. It was because I could not manage to exert any pressure to operate the childproof cap.

I made the mistake of yanking the cable to pull-start the lawn mower. Why would I do that with an injured arm? Forgot. The mower started, but the shock to my injured arm left me thinking my arm was just going to fall off.



The injury has not, however, prevented me from playing my guitar very badly. I played it badly before the injury, and at least the injury hasn’t made me play it any worse.

I’ve been taking lessons for a few weeks from Jackie Anderson over at Brownwood Music, and she’s got me doing things with this instrument which I never knew how to do, so I do those new things badly, too.

Is it hard to play a guitar? Anyone can play one badly, and that’s fairly easy. To play it well — to play any instrument well — is much harder.

I’ve been learning to pretend to play Sweet Home Alabama, which, I was amazed to discover, became a very famous song and made someone a lot of money despite being written around just three chords. How do I get that job?

There is just a slight difference between Lynyrd Skynyrd’s version, which contains some pretty nifty guitar parts around those three chords, and my version, which doesn’t.


Steve Nash, a reporter for the Brownwood Bulletin, writes columns periodically. He may be reached by e-mail at steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com.