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Around The Sun, Around The Sun: Broken Bones

Steve Harrison goes flying through the air with the greatest of unease.

I knew what it was like to break a bone in my body. A toe, an ankle, a finger, even a couple of ribs. Those couldn't possibly have prepared me for what I was about to experience.

We were skiing, and I was too cocky. I'd been skiing for years without having had a serious accident. I thought I was a real professional, tearing up the lifts and down the slopes faster than you could say Jack Robinson. My girlfriend's daughter was there, with herfriend, and I had promised to look after the pair of them.

So there we were on our third and final morning of skiing, and conditions were excellent. We were skiing at top speed, weaving and chasing one another. I burst through some bushes and came upon an unexpected jump. I flew six feet through the air, then came a gully and another blind jump. This was pure magic.

We were on a run called The Interceptor. Immediately after the mid-station there is a famous jump, right under the chair lift. Over the years Id seen hundreds of people attempt it. Ninety per cent of them landed in a heap. Some managed to get up. A lot did not.

I had always regarded this jump with trepidation. Now I took a mighty run at it, hitting the slope at full speed.

People in the chair lifts above me went ohhhh and ahhhh as I made my approach. Then I was airborne. Something was wrong. I glanced down. The ground seemed a long, long way from me. I tensed up and landed on both skis. There was a sound like a tree branch snapping. But there were no trees to go snap.

Amazingly I was still skiing. The people in the chair lifts cheered.

I felt elated, but also confused. My balance was out of whack. What seemed to be a blue scarf was fluttering round my neck and over my right shoulder. But I didn't wear a scarf. Not that morning. Not any morning.

The human mind tries to find logic in every situation. Someone had obviously dropped a scarf from one of the chair lifts.

I tried to raise my left arm to cast off the blue scarf. I didn't seem to have a left arm.

Reality dawned. I sat down in the snow, my left arm slung around my neck and down the right side of my back. I grabbed the injured limb with my right arm, trying to put it back approximately where it belonged. There was no feeling in that left arm. It was cold and lifeless.

I did three things wrong that day. The first was not drinking a schnapps or two before trying the daredevil deed. Secondly, I was cocky, trying to impress the girls. Thirdly I had a mobile phone with me.

I rang my friend Phil.

Phil Im sitting here at mid-station with a broken arm.

"Are you sure it's broken?''

"Without a glimmer of doubt.''

Laura came along and tried to comfort me. She began to feel ill when she saw my new-found ability to touch my toes with my left hand without stretching.

Soon the medics were passing overhead in a chair lift. "There in a minute,'' they yelled.

"Bring a double brandy,'' I yelled back.

Taking off a one-piece ski suit is a whole new experience in such a situation.

After X-rays, pain killers, and a sufficient amount of alcohol I entered la la land.

Twelve weeks passed before my arm regained some semblance of normality. Today it is 25 milllimetres shorter than the right arm, serving as a barometer to inform me of changes in the weather and oncoming rain.

I had planned to have a long vacation in Bali in the October of that year. My favourite place to dance in Kuta was the Sari club, particularly on a Saturday nights. My broken arm resulted in my postponing the Bali visit.

On October 12th the Sari club was blown up by a terrorist bomb. Hundreds of revellers were killed and maimed.

My injured arm became a talisman representing safety and security. Instead of a burden it now seemed like a divine belssing.


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