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About 11 years ago I was hit by a car while bicycling through Brooklyn, N.Y. When I returned to consciousness I was lying in an intersection, blood streaming from a damaged hand, head, and knee. A small group of people had materialized out of the seemingly-empty street. They must have been walking past or eating in the nearby diner. Whatever the case, each was focused on a separate task. One woman was calling an ambulance, one guy was diverting oncoming traffic, still another person was talking the driver down, and one guy was kneeling beside me. My first thought was that I should take a nap. In my delirium it seemed like the best option. I was closing my eyes and fading off when I heard the kneeling guy shouting at me, “Hey, hey, hey, buddy. Talk to me for a second. Been watching the World Series?”

“Yeah, kind of,” I said. As much as I wanted to sleep, it seemed unwise to ignore this big, burly and somewhat threatening Brooklynite.

“You like the Yankees?” It was a loaded question in the fall of 2001.

“Yeah,” I said, “I went to high school with Jeter.” (Note that I can drop names even while going into shock.)

“Well, well, well! We got a VIP. This guy knows all the players.”

“Too bad he don’t know how to wear a helmet,” interjected the woman with the phone. And on they went with a series of jibes that, while pissing me off, stopped from drifting off. They were giving me shit to keep me alive. When the ambulance arrived, the banter continued: “What happened here?” “What the hell does it look like happened here?” And so on.

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Dr. Cade McCall

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