It’s difficult to describe the sound. I’ve tried. It’s more than a loud snap. But I know it when I hear it.
There’s no mistaking the sound a bone makes when broken.
And this was the most cringe-worthy scene that came from watching the movie, 127 Hours. This is the film staring James Franco as the hiker from Utah who cut off a section of his arm to escape from a boulder that trapped him deep in the canyons of Utah for 127 hours.
I read reports of movie goers passing out in theaters due to the amount of blood in the film. It wasn’t the amount of blood that bothered me, but how voyeuristic I felt knowing this happened to a man who survived to tell his story. We know he lived, and that fact gives the story ample substance.
But it’s not the blood or the slicing of skin I’ve been thinking about since I left the theater. It’s that sound I can’t adequately describe. Of course, Ralston couldn’t just cut through his arm. He had to break it first, and that’s the part of the movie I had a difficult time watching. I closed my eyes but not my ears, and when I heard it, my stomach hit the floor.
The sound brought me back to a day in June many years ago. I was two days from finishing 7th grade. Baseball practice was winding down. I decided to stand on a bench and rock back and forth. When I lost my balance, I tried to brace my fall with my left arm still clenching my Wilson glove. When my arm hit the long grass, it stopped while my body slid forward.
For months, I could not get the sound of my arm breaking out of my mind. Even today the thought of that fall still makes me shudder.
You may think I didn’t like the movie, but I loved it. It’s not depressing nor does it attempt to make a hero out of a man who had two choices: die in a rock crevice or take action, no matter how drastic.
He chose to act. Would you have done the same?