Ambulance chasing has benefits |

Ambulance chasing has benefits

Following an ambulance as it speeds down I-70 can be an entertaining way to spend a few minutes on a Saturday afternoon.

The mental possibilities alone are endless. One can daydream about being a desperate lawyer with gambling debts or a wannabe military prison guard with a camera fetish.

Or one could fantasize about the actual occupants. Is the person inside badly hurt? Is there any blood? Who is it? Could it be a celebrity? Maybe it’s Kobe in a secret getaway from the courthouse. Maybe it’s Caccioppo after showing up at the school district’s main office with a wireless networked laptop and a few blank CDs.

It’s fun to dream.

Unless, of course, you happen to know that the “dream” is no such thing and the person lying inside on the gurney is a 42-inch-long, 42-pound, screaming 5-year-old known affectionately around your household as “son.”

That pretty much sucks.

Before I continue, I must ask this very important question: What does a set of playground monkey bars, a calcium-depleted mayor of Vail and a whimsical photo of a naked man lying on a bed next to my computer (the photo is next to my computer, not the actual man on the bed – that would be sick) have to do with each other?

While dragging your perverted little minds out of the gutter, let’s first discuss the merits of monkey bars. As far as I am concerned, the primitive primate playthings should be outlawed.

My wife was only 12 years old when she was attacked by one of these evil contraptions, and she’s been paying for it ever since. Who but an engineer possessing monkey-poop for brains would lay a perfectly good vertical ladder in a horizontal position and then dare children to hang from the steps underneath?

No child can resist the temptation. It’s like inviting John Kerry to a medal-tossing competition.

The world does not need more people like this. But it could always use more like local legend and from time to time the mayor of Vail, Rod Slifer. On the same glorious morning that I was enjoying my ambulance adventure down I-70, he was taking pleasure by strolling around town picking up trash. Only Rod Slifer does not handle trash alongside the highway like most of us.

Nope. He walks straight down the middle of Gore Creek looking for the stuff. Where’s the challenge if you don’t have to be extra careful and watch every little bitty step you take as if your life (or in this case, his golf game) depended upon it?

At least the man means well. Unfortunately, though, without a pair of skis on his feet he does not appear to fall very well.

One slip was all it took for Mayor Slifer to badly break a wrist, followed by an immediate trip (no pun intended) to the world renowned Vail Valley Medical Center drive-thru emergency emporium. Being a legend and mayor and all, only the best of the best would be summoned to perform the delicate surgery upon his highness.

Hence, the naked guy.

Enter one William Sterett, doctor of good deeds and eye candy for moms all over Happy Valley in this year’s local nekkid calendar.

Rushing in (fully clothed, I might add) like the Steadman-Hawkins superman he is known to be, Dr. Sterett finished wrapping up hizzoner’s wrist just in time to grab a ham sandwich, visit the john, wash his hands, smile his pearlies for my wife and say, “No problem, I’ll be done with your boy in less than an hour.”

Three pins, one cast, and 90 minutes later he was absolutely right. Within another hour we were in a hospital room, using the cell phone for a long distance call.

“Hi Grandmother. Guess what? I’m in the hospital!” said Peer, my 5-year-old. A sudden increase in twangy decibel levels could be heard throughout the entire wing.

“I broke my arm! Huh? No, I didn’t break-break my arm. It didn’t fall off or anything, it’s just broke on the inside!”

Thank God for morphine.

“No, it doesn’t hurt. Hey Mom! Could I have some more chocolate pudding? What? I fell off the monkey bars. Yeah, it hurt. Huh? No, not anymore. Yeah, my Daddy’s here. Hey Daddy, can we change the channel? Uh-huh. OK. Love you too. Bye!”

Catching the phone in mid air, I was more than happy to explain the eventful day to a couple of over-stressed grandparents in Texas. Just another carefree, domestic weekend in Happy Valley.

Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at

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