A Ferris Bueller Kind of Day Off (Or, Lessons Learned From a Sprained Ankle)
The other day, I sprained (or twisted, or something) my ankle for the first time ever.
See, I’ve never been all that much of a sporty kid. I suffered my way through gym classes for as long as I can remember. When football day rolled around, I wanted to feign a fever. I had mastered the layup in basketball, but no one would ever give me the ball ’cause I’d ultimately end up dropping it. I was one of the few kids who actually liked stretching, and when health class rolled around, I was ready to learn anything the nurse taught ‘cause it was one less game of hockey I had to make it through for the year.
Climbing the rope was the worst, though. I remember one time I after three years of failing this part of the final, I built up the courage and the upper body strength needed to climb the rope all the way to the top of the gym, but upon getting there, I completely froze. My fellow students were calling up to me, “just climb down the same way you climbed up.”
I slid my way down, burning my hands in the process, but I didn’t feel it because I was just so happy my feet were touching solid ground once more.
By the time I was a senior at Weehawken High, the gym teachers — Mr. McNish and Mrs. Campenella — had gotten to know me well enough to understand that I wasn’t a sports kid. So they let me do whatever I wanted, and throughout my junior and senior years, I played some really awesome rounds of hackysack and handball.
Anyhow, this isn’t a piece about the horrors of a high school gym class.
Today, while I was painstakingly limping my way from the Midtown Comics on Fulton Street to the World Trade Center where I catch my PATH train home, I naturally was moving at a much, muchslower pace than my usual sprint to just about anywhere at any given time of the day. And as people passed my hobbling body by, for some reason I was reminded of that one iconic line in the classic John Hughes comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
“Life moves pretty fast,” Ferris Bueller, played by a young Matthew Broderick, says in a monologue at the beginning of the few, as well as a few times throughout. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Thirty years later, this seemingly simple statement has become more true than ever before. I don’t wanna speak for the rest of you, but we take things for granted. Internet access. Accessibility to news as it happens. Apps for just about any- and everything you can think of. It’s all wonderful, of course, but we allow ourselves to get so sucked into these things, this world and the many things that happen in it, that we lose sight of truly important things. Let’s face it, the human brain is not equipped to keep up with the speed at which our world moves. But we certainly try. We hustle. And we do keep up as best we can, all the while knowing that there’s always a bigger fish — there’s always someone who’s one step ahead of us. Working a little bit harder.
But at what cost?
Yesterday, I wanted to put in my eight hours of the work I love, mentoring and managing Indiegogo campaigns, then play a swell game of volleyball with my co-workers (yes, that’s how I sprained my ankle — non-sporty John T. Trigonis serving it up with the best of ‘em!) then head to Midtown Comics to get my stash of indie comics before heading on back to Jersey City to sit for a while and revise a chapter or two for my second edition of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers before getting a little more writing in on my various other creative projects.
Spraining my ankle slowed down my journey home almost unbearably, at least at the beginning. Sure, I made a point to get to Midtown Comics — it’s the one leisure activity I allow myself — but man, was I in pain. And then, after leaving that store, my steps started slowing down, and the Freedom Tower started to look like a dream, and I started thinking to myself Man, will I ever get there at this rate?!
“Life moves pretty fast,” indeed, Mr. Bueller (Bueller? Bueller?) But it doesn’t have to. Not all the time, at least.
That’s something I forget about too easily at times, and sometimes it takes a sprained ankle for the Universe to show you that you really need to start seeing the world through the eyes of a child once again, so you can fully realize that sometimes, some things can wait.
Why am I writing a blog about spraining my ankle and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? ‘Cause it’s not about spraining my ankle. And it’s not about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, either. It’s about remembering to take the time to slow down and breathe. To make the time to do the things you love to do. For me, I haven’t written a blog post for myself since around February, and though I’ve been writing about many, many other things, I was moving too fast to realize that none of it was really for me.
So this is a reminder to all of us who get caught up in the world to stop and look around once in a while, and make sure that “once in a while” is more often than not.