Steven Church is an instructor in the department of English at Colorado State University and an Academic Adviser for the CSU College of Liberal Arts. He completed his MFA in 2002 and was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for 2003. His work has been published in several national magazines and nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. His first book, The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record, will be published in Spring, 2005 by Simon and Schuster.
The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record (forthcoming in April, 2005, Simon and Schuster)
Steve Austin, who stitched your orange jumpsuit with patches? As a boy I wanted some, too-those embroidered badges of courage and health. I wanted to hear the whisper of doctors: We can rebuild him. We have the technology. Dad used to say my knees were baseballs bulging out. And I've seen you powder a baseball with your fist, crush it down to dust until the leather sloughs off like blistered skin. I bet you could've done the same to me.
I've witnessed your recovery from a rolling, flaming wreck-your airplane ripped up on the tarmac and that muffled TV voice, he's breaking up, he's breaking up. They plumbed your astronaut limbs with steel, wired your veins, gave you circuits for nerves. We can make him better, stronger, faster. I needed robotic bones, too. In Mrs. Ricket's class, a virus grabbed my legs, shot pain through my shins. I crumpled in front of the classroom sink. My face broke out with fever blisters, my sinuses clogged with infection. Doctor Pete gave me antibiotics, but I was confused because I thought he gave me antibionics and I knew I didn't want these. But you, Steve Austin, you never suffered from fever dreams like me. You never boiled at one-hundred-and-five, went limp in your mother's arms. You leap over chain link fences and oncoming traffic. You pulse with a beeping sound-like the electronic drum of a heart. Your bionic eye never misses danger on the horizon.
The rest of this essay can be found at: http://www.postroadmag.com/Issue_5/Nonfiction5/Church.htm