crevasse

For the benefit of non Canucks: Canada has a holiday on the weekend before the U.S. Memorial Day weekend called Victoria Day. Because this is often around May 24 and the Canadian term for a case of beer is called a “two four”, the holiday is sometimes called the May Two Four weekend. Very few folks use this holiday to reflect on Queen Vicky’s contributions to history.

Once, when we were younger and kids were more of an academic pursuit than a pressing concern, we went on a camping trip with a bunch of friends on a May 24 weekend. There were about 8 or 10 of us. We rented a van for ourselves, equipment, and supplies.

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, we loaded 13 cases of beer into the van and made our way to the campsite. We had to enforce strict discipline to make sure that no one opened any of the cases until we got to the campsite. We were worried that the beer would be confiscated or worse if law enforcement folks looked inside the van and found open cases of beer. Some thought that this put us foxes in charge of a beery chicken house but the cases got to the campsite intact.

One night, as we sat around the campfire, we saw an ambulance in the distance and we could hear its sirens. We made a few jokes about someone not being able to handle their beer. A few minutes later, some people who we’d met at the camp ran up to us yelling that one of our troop, “Zoltan”, had fallen into a 20-foot deep crevasse and had been taken to a hospital. The ambulance that we’d seen and laughed about was carrying Zoltan.

A few of us went to the hospital to see how Zoltan was doing. Initially, it seemed that Zoltan had blood in this urine which indicated severe internal injuries. However it turned out that they’d put on a catheter (ouch!), bollixed the job (ouch! ouch!) and that was the source of the bleeding (ouch! ouch! ouch!).

I never actually heard this from the hospital staff, but someone, somewhere heard that tests showed that Zoltan had about a case of beer in his bloodstream when they checked him out.

We went to inspect the crevasse the following day. As I mentioned, it was about 20 feet deep and the bottom was littered with old, broken lawn chairs. The crevasse was also fairly narrow and we guessed that bouncing from side to side helped minimize the damage to Zoltan.

Zoltan wound up spending a few extra days at the hospital. I don’t remember if he had any permanent injuries but he was walking around unaided when I saw him a few months later.

The permanent effect that I remember is that we never called him Zoltan again. Since his fall, we’ve always called him “Crevasse”

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