The other night I was at my moms being treated to a glorious night of dinner that I didn’t have to prepare, when we realized we were out of a necessary ingredient to the evening’s soiree. I (being the only person who had a drivers license and no cast) volunteered to slip out and grab said ingredient so the festivities could begin.
As I rounded the corner on the front step, my foot must have caught a loose flagstone and I began a journey that made my life flash before my eyes. I hurtled forward in what seemed like slow motion, stumbling in a limbo of almost falling for several seconds, partially convinced that recovery was still an option. It was very shortly thereafter that I realized the forward momentum of my fall was not going to be stopped by the feeble flailing of my legs in an attempt to catch up, and I succumbed to my descent to the waiting pavement below.
There is something magical about taking a spectacular fall that no other human being has witnessed. It is almost tragic that such a magnificent tumble should not be talked about for years to come. As I hit the ground, i was still. Laying in my own puddle of embarrassment, agony and shame, I surveyed the damage. I won’t lie, more than my pride was hurt. I had smashed my hand, knee and wrenched several parts of my back. HARD. I was thinking that it was going to be pretty weird to be brought to the emergency room by my broken-legged mother.
I guess I come by it honestly. My own mother surely holds the record for the most bone-shattering injuries not resulting in death or dismemberment. If there is a way to trip, bump or fall into or over something, my mom will find it. In the last few years, I have seen her bust 2 ankles, have 2 knees replaced, break nearly all the bones in one of her hands, shatter her wrist, and have a scalp laceration that cleaved right to the bone. Now that’s an impressive list of injured extremities!
I assessed the situation, and having decided I was okay, I gingerly got up, dusted the gravel out of my wounds. I marveled at the relatively small amount of damage that had been caused, despite the epic nature of the launch. As much as I would enjoy seeing it myself, I’m glad there was no video evidence of the incident.
It also occurred to me that I am approaching the age that such pratfalls may very well start to result in some serious down time. Let’s be honest, my cat-like reflexes are not what they once were, and to be fair, they were never all that great to start with. I am still young enough to withstand a fall that will eventually break my wrist, shatter my knee and cause me to require a hip replacement in the future, but for how much longer?
This scares me. It’s not because I am particularly clumsy, because I’m no worse than the next person I suppose. It’s because there will come a time in the future when, as careful as I am, I cannot avoid the occasional fall which might result in a serious injury. Never before has my future feeble-ness slapped me more in the face than this past year. It is with increasing sadness that I realize that I am not infallible, and I probably never was. I have been lucky up to this point. Lucky, because I have not taken many extraordinary chances, and I have always come out of any close-call completely unscathed.
Last summer, I played ball for the first time in years, and in one of my forgettable turns as catcher, I dove after a foul ball which I completely missed. I ended up laid out at home plate with two scraped up arms, a bruised and cut knee, turning the deepest shade of scarlet I can imagine. I licked those wounds for nearly a week! How horrifying to end up injured when you DIDN’T EVEN CATCH THE BALL???!!!??
I hear I am invited back next year, but it is more on the basis of my personality than my baseball prowess.
I guess my point, and I do have one, is that there is not much I can do about advancing age, and the possibility that one of these days I might actually acquire an injury more serious that my usual little boo boos. I am glad that the Birdman and I are not a couple who is interested in extreme sports. We aren’t really interested in any sports, actually. We will mostly be devoting our future athletic energies to cocooning and beer-league baseball, both of which promise lots of fun, the best of friends, and the occasional need for cleats.
Safety first, people!