ar·cane (är-kān') adj. requiring secret or mysterious knowledge;

The Great Fall

Posted in accomplices/associates by arcanedufresne on May 14, 2009

This is the first guest entry I have extended out since the start of my blog. The following events are based on a real-life experience by Joel “Pants” Eisman.” If received well, we could feature Story Hour in the future with more guests highlighting the blogosphere. -Matt

This post was originally going to be for a blog that never got started and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Last summer I went on a trip to Israel for ten days on Birthright. Birthright is an organization that gives away free trips to Israel given to any Jewish person under the age of 27. It is a belief in the Jewish religion that every Jew should visit Israel at least once, this organization helps make that happen. This is how I started my trip.

We had been in Israel for less than 35 hours, and we were on our second hike already. It started out the same as the first day did, walking slowly through a hike while the tour guide and other Israelis pointed out interesting things along the way. Also like the first day, a few people stumbled as they walked, and also like the first day, I mocked and made fun of them for doing so because really, who falls on a hike? It’s just something that shouldn’t happen to you, ESPECIALLY if you have already made fun of other people for it.

Now, this is only the second day and there are 45 or so people, including guides and chaperons that I hadn’t had much interaction with. At this point I had met a handful, so out of all these people, I really only know Stephanie, who I came with. So basically I’m walking with 44 strangers.

We are about 20-30 minutes into the hike. We had just walked up a mountain, not too high but it was relatively steep. Our tour guide gave us a little speech while we were up there. I don’t know what about, they all sort of blended together. Nature, Israel, and history; that pretty much covers it. So the next step is to walk down the trail. As we start our descent I am walking with an Israeli soldier. She and I are going through the introductions and basic chit chat, the topic of being careful while walking down the mountain comes up. I give my stance on the ease of walking down mountains and at the same time we began our descent.

The mountain is not very steep and the walk isn’t really that long either. However, the one thing the mountain does have is a lot of large rocks; kind of like stepping stones. We are walking down and I continue to talk about how easy this climb is. There is one section in particular that we come upon. One side is 3 rocks as steps and the other side has 2 rocks with a large gap between them. I happen to be walking on that side so when we get to that part I make the obvious decision to jump down the gap instead of walking to the other side where there are easy steps. So I jump down the gap, landing cleanly with both feet on the rock. Or so i thought. My feet, instead of staying on the ground like I had planned, decided to slip forward. So my descent down the mountain began to speed up. My hip landed on the rock beneath me, and then I rolled for a few feet; sideways, like I was a log. I finally stop my momentum by grabbing some small plants covered with sharp thorns. A few people run over to check on me, and I am attempting to asses the situation. I see that my knees are a little scraped up as is my right arm and I also have a large cut on my thumb. I’m shaken up, but no big deal. I am more angry with myself than anything else. After all the shit I talked and everyone I made fun of for tripping, I didn’t just trip but fell completely and in front of everybody.

The soldiers and guides rush over to make sure I am ok, and I am letting them do their precautionary things but I’m still really angry at myself. I show them my various cuts and they bring out the alcohol pads to clean everything up. They are focusing on my one arm, because there are cuts down the length of my forearm. The medic says “This is going to sting a little” and I know, but I’m still just concentrating on how dumb I am. She starts swabbing it and instantly I notice that not only does it not sting at all, but I don’t feel it at all. I feel the sensation of coolness on my arm from the wind, but i don’t feel the contact or the burning. So I look, to make sure she actually is touching me and she was. My body was confused by that, and combined with the embarrassment, and the adrenaline, I start to feel lightheaded. I say “I need to sit down” and turn to sit on another large rock nearby. I start sitting down, but I didn’t make it. Before I am seated, I pass out. I roll a few feet further down the mountain. I wake up and have no idea where I am or what happened. A quick inventory of changes: I’m lying down on the ground, I am very sweaty, and I am somehow wearing a different hat? Turns out the guide didn’t believe my Phillies hat was good enough anymore so he gave me his larger hat. Also, my backpack is now broken. I then realize I was not time traveling, I just passed out.

Now, I’m trying to compose myself but I’m even madder at myself. Keep in mind this is the 2nd day, and there are 45 people there, and I probably haven’t even met more than 10-15 of them. Since we were closer to the start than the finish, the guides attempted to convince me that going back and waiting at the bus is a better idea. And they probably were right, but I was not going to be the guy that waits on the bus during hikes. They give me all the time I need to compose myself. The entire group, except for a couple people, has moved on and is waiting around the bend. I eventually feel ready and we start to walk back to the rest of the group. Now, since I like to avoid additional embarrassment, I want to just join the group and continue as if nothing happened. This isn’t a sporting event and I’m not overcoming an injury, I fell like a douche bag down a mountain. Twice. I would just like a quiet entrance; I do not need any additional fanfare. One of the soldiers ran ahead a little to warn the tour guide I was returning. I know she was just trying to be nice but that is the last thing I wanted. So of course, I turn the corner and the tour guides says “Everybody, Joel is back!!!!!!” Then the ENTIRE group turns to stare at me and claps. CLAPS!!!! I got a standing ovation for falling down a mountain and then passing out. The good side effect was I didn’t have to worry about people knowing who I am. Everyone knows:

I’m the guy on the trip that talks shit and then passes out on mountains.

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