Jeremiah Horrigan is a prize-winning reporter for The Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, Salon.com and Talkingwriting.com, where he is a featured writer. Horrigan has taught feature writing as an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz; several of his essays have appeared in national anthologies, including "Woodstock Revisited" (Adams Media). He posts regularly at opensalon.com and fictionique.com. His essay "The Quiet Man" was published in the final edition of Memoir.
No one goes to a hospital to heal. They go because they must--as I did three years ago, when a one-hour colonoscopy turned into a four-day surgical sleepover. My grandfather had warned me long ago against hospitals. "You don't want to go there," he said. "That's where the sick people are."
The football hovered briefly in the muggy South Buffalo air and then began its end-over-end descent on the scrawny target on the street below. The target-me-regarded the pigskin as if it were a mortar shell heading for a point directly between my terror-filled, 10-year-old eyes. I stood frozen as the projectile fell.
At 14, I became a putz, which wasn't easy for someone who'd never planned on being one. But the mysterious introduction into my teenage body of strange hormones, the sudden emergence of an outsize honker, a generous splash of zits and the resultant blast of teenage loneliness provided lessons I believed I'd have to learn or die: Never let your emotions show.