Part 2: Roof Topper explainsToday’s column is a continuation of last week’s “Other side of ‘Roof Topper.’”
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Today’s column is a continuation of last week’s “Other side of ‘Roof Topper.’”
Roof Topper is a young man who Holten discovered leaping from rooftop to rooftop in downtown Dickinson — that is, until Roof Topper fell.
How did you explain that night to your parents? My mom was in the hospital at the time getting some fluid drained from a neck issue she has. I had to make a decision whether or not to tell her for her own well-being or to tell her despite the fact it might not help her recovery. I waited until I knew I was going to be able to walk again and could tell her I would be OK.
What do you remember if anything? Or when do your memories of that night start? I remember trying to top out on the second tier of the roof, struggling and then falling. I don’t remember the big fall to the ground. I “came to” in the emergency room in Dickinson before they hauled me to Bismarck. I don’t remember how or why I climbed up on the buildings.
Who was it that explained to you what you did? A Dickinson police officer and at that moment I felt lucky to be alive and later I felt pretty stupid.
Tell us about your injuries? I have six broken ribs, a fractured vertebrae, a slight tear in a tendon in my groin (initially the most painful), a lacerated adrenal gland, a chipped tooth and an annoying flapper on my tongue.
Tell us about when you got out of the Bismarck hospital? As soon as I could get up I needed to brush my teeth and take a shower. Then they made the mistake of giving me some crutches and I did a few laps around the ward I was on and went to bed.
It’s funny how hospitals are now, because you have to ask for pain killers and they made me feel guilty about it. I didn’t have any visitors except for one of my bosses, because I have no family out here, and I appreciated his visit but at the same time it was a symbol of what I am so tied to right now.
The next day the doctor said I could leave but it was a hospital policy that I couldn’t be let off the ward until I had a ride home. But since I was OK they had me sitting in a room all doped up without anybody and it felt like the loneliest place in the world despite all the nurses chattering within earshot and I had to get out.
I asked for my paperwork and began to leave but they stopped me. I was stressed and the painkillers weren’t helping so I left without my crutches or any prescription and once I got outside it was great but I was in an unfamiliar place with nowhere to go and it was 30 degrees. I walked into a church to use the phone, made a call and formulated my plan. Then I walked into the Radisson hotel with two days of bed head and a severe limp, wearing tattered jeans covered in dirt and got a room only for a few hours until my ride arrived and it was the best money I ever spent.
You recently bought a house in Dickinson. What do you think of it here? Yes, I’m beginning the nesting process, trying to shift my interest from car parts and ski equipment to night stands and coffee tables. I don’t have the slightest clue about Dickinson. I like being next door to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There is some beautiful country around here.
What do you think of the oil boom? That’s a loaded question for me. I think it has everything to do with where America and my generation in America stands right now. I think Americans have been riding a wave of entitlement since the well-earned success of our greatest generation. But my generation has to realize that entitlement is exhausted because having a college degree guarantees nothing, while having a technical education will at least give you a chance. This area of the country might be the only place a young person has the ability to pull up their bootstraps, go to work and prove their worth. It comes with a price, for me especially. I’m 1,000 miles from home and everything I know.
Where do you see yourself in five years? The technology in the oil industry is very interesting and I would like to move beyond the field and into the research and development side.
Are there frustrations that you are dealing with here? Other than the male-to-female ratio, I have to say the food options for me are pretty limiting because I have a wheat allergy and can’t have the chicken fried steak as good as it smells.
Tell me about the issues that you have with gluten and how that might have affected you that night? If I don’t have an opportunity to cook for myself my meals for the day might be a peanut butter cup with coffee and a bag of chips and a beef stick for lunch. I didn’t feel like making dinner that Friday night when I got home — just wanted to get out and blow off some steam. But take my advice, eat something before you go out.
On the medical side, a lack of zinc is what causes you to forget or black out on your feet when drinking alcohol. For someone like me who has a gastrointestinal disease (gluten intolerance), I’ve since learned that even much larger doses of zinc are required to fight off the effects of alcohol. I don’t want to use that as a crutch. But it is a factor.
Holten is a freelance cartoonist and columnist from Dickinson.