Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | March 18, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #15

As I mentioned in a previous entry, I spent the year of 1986-87 on a year program in Israel, and even managed to break my ankle during my stay. It actually happened when I’d been in the country for less than a month, coincidentally, a few short weeks after someone, while wishing me good luck, had told me to “break a leg”. So I did, in a really spectacular way. Our group spent four days on an army base in the north so that we could have a small of what our Israeli peers would experience during their basic training. I didn’t make it through all four days. On day two, there was an obstacle course. The first obstacle was a high wall that had to be scaled. You guessed it. I didn’t make it past the first obstacle. I managed to get to the top of the wall, and even managed to get over it. It would seem, however, that I didn’t land on the ground properly, for the next thing I knew, I heard a crack, and suddenly, my right leg was, umm, improperly aligned.

Given that this occurred just over twenty years ago (which is rather shocking in itself), I don’t remember everything that happened. I do remember arguing with people in the base clinic, people who tried to tell me that it wasn’t broken, but rather just a bad sprain (I retorted that it had to be broken, given that my knee and foot generally had a tendency to point in the same direction, not opposite directions). I remember the bumpy ride to the hospital in Nahariya, and how it hurt like hell. I remember the idiot masquerading as a medical professional, who told me to get out of the wheel chair and onto the examining table, the one who not only wouldn’t help me get up, but actually left the room after telling me to do so, which is how I learned that putting weight on a broken ankle, even by mistake and even only a little bit of weight, is a really, really bad idea.

Not only was my ankle broken, but it was broken in three places. I would need surgery to repair it. With cast and crutches, I was taken back to the base, and the next morning our program director drove up from Jerusalem to pick me up. The hospitals were on strike (some things never change here…), but because I was in Israel on a Hadassah program, I was able to get admitted to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, which was adjacent to our facilities.

Memories of the week or so that I spent in the hospital are sketchy. Many of the staff members I encountered were very nice. I can specifically remember one young male nurse from one of the neighboring Arab villages who was especially helpful, who would spend extra time talking to me and bring me things like cans of Coke from the “outside” whenever I asked. I remember someone asking me if there was something that I really wanted to eat, and that is how I managed to get a cheeseburger brought to me while in the hospital. I seem to recall a friendly plaster fight between me and a handsome young doctor who was closing up my cast after the swelling from the surgery had gone down (during which they had inserted six screws and a metal plate, all of which were removed a year later in the US). I remember the stories of a few of the other patients – one young man who had fallen while running on his kibbutz and gotten stones embedded in his leg (which he proudly showed me in the clear plastic container given to him especially for that purpose); the older woman in the bed next to me whose body was cancer-ridden, but was stuck in the orthopedics ward because she’d broken her femur. When she wasn’t completely wracked with pain, she would tell me about her life, and while I’ve forgotten what she told me, I do remember that it was very impressive, as one would expect of someone who had lived through Israel’s brief history.

When she was in pain though, her moaning and crying was frightening. I felt young, alone, and scared myself, and to dull my own pain and block out the world around me, I would grab my walkman and play a certain cassette over and over again. That album was the 1985 release of Norwegian band a-ha’s Hunting High and Low“, and the song that I listened to the most was “Take On Me”. I’ve already mentioned my feelings for this band (and of course, for lead singer Morten Harket), so I won’t bore you with that again (except to say the man is definitely living proof of the adage about men who get better with age…). I won’t put this song on my cell phone, but it will always remain in my heart (yes, I’ll wait while you go throw up now) as the song (album, band, etc) that got me through a really difficult, lonely time.

Take On Me
a-ha

We’re talking away
I don’t know what
I’m to say I’ll say it anyway
Today’s another day to find you
Shying away
I’ll be coming for your love, OK?

Take on me, take me on
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

So needless to say
I’m odds and ends
But that’s me stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is OK.
Say after me
It’s no better to be safe than sorry

Take on me, take me on
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

Oh the things that you say
Is it life or
Just a play my worries away
You’re all the things I’ve got to remember
You’re shying away
I’ll be coming for you anyway

Take on me, take me on
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

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Responses

  1. great story…..reminds me of when I stepped on a RUSTY nail in the refet at TY in MH (yes, this is code that Liza understands…). I was in the infirmary for a few days, then on crutches for another few. NOthing compared to a broken ankle and surgery in Israel on YC, but reminded me of it.

    THE SONG of course reminded me of my best friend growing up in N’awlins. I’m going to email her now, thanks for the nudge.

  2. My daughter (5) LOVES this video, watches it over and over – of course that is because she is obsessed with the girl, she isn’t old enough to get the pretty that is Morton

    MY injury was a sliced open thumb in the bananas with a Victoria knife!! (Mrs. Peacock, library, candlestick). I was terrified of stitches, but was informed about they would “glue” it, which indeed they did – technology/medication which didn’t reach the US until a couple of years ago, so I have always been proud that Israel had it 20 years earlier.

  3. A-Ha – Norwegian? Learn something every day…

  4. I remember thinking the video was really something back then. Not quite the same feeling now. Never quite understood what “take on me” means. Maybe I’m being dumb here.

  5. ah, yes, the norwegians can produce some good music. Admittedly, most of it is in norwegian, not english… but I am a big A-ha fan…missed their free concert in the sculpture park last year… I know, I know…but it just didn’t work out.
    First heard this song in Honduras, summer of 1985 and HATED it… two years later I too had it in my walkman all summer. Helped with the weekly lawn mowing… 🙂

  6. shit, i was listening to this song yesterday!! i think i was too young to know it when it came out, but now I love it and run to it, among other 80s songs I only new after 1995.

  7. Liza loo – What a great song that brings back great memories!! When I hear his song I feel 14 again – then it hits me – it was almost 20 (!!) years ago…yikes!!!

  8. I never knew A-ha were Norwegian! I guess I just assumed they were British. Now I feel very stupid both for the assumption and for sharing it with you! 😉

  9. Sorry this is a bit off-topic but can I pick some brains. Taking the daughter to Egypt next month and thought about traveling overland to Israel and flying to London from there. However, every source I’ve checked states that once I have evidence in my passport of a trip to Israel I won’t be allowed in to most countries in the Middle East. Is this really the case? Is there a way around this? Thanks

  10. I love a-ha, even all their songs that never really made it big, and of course “Take on Me” is one of their best. You know, I never really understood all the lyrics til reading them just now- thanks! 🙂


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