Pain

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With the wind in my face, my half-zipped jacket flying behind me, I feel alive. I'm barreling down a powdery hill at a hundred miles per hour on my snowboard, carving turns, jumping over shrubs, alone in the woods on the back of the mountain, thinking I must be invincible. I look up and see that the thin trail turns sharply to the left. I think about slowing down, but I can't give up the speed. So I turn my face towards the wind and smile. The next thing I know I'm on my back, having slid thirty feet across ice that might as well have been concrete. I can't help but let a chuckle escape from my lips, and soon I am laughing to myself. However, I can't move a muscle in my right leg. Still, I'm alive, so I keep on smiling and shaking my head with astonishment at my stupidity. My friends soon catch up and ask, "Are you OK?" Smiling through the paralyzing pain, I say, "I'm fine." An hour later I'm lying facedown strapped to an icy metal gurney in the back of a helicopter on my way to the nearest hospital, though it turns out it's not too serious. Lying shirtless on the cold, wet gurney, the sound of the helicopter battering my eardrums, one thought goes through my head:...

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