Thursday, February 8, 2018


When I played basketball I was one of those pesky guys who would dive for loose balls and often come up with them.  I remember my dad, in his half joking way, telling me that I spent half the time on the floor.  This tendency served me well particularly when I was a junior as I, with one other player on the team, got a reputation as players who would more often than not get what are now called 50-50 balls. 

To encourage the other players to be similarly aggressive the coach ran a drill where he put a ball on the floor and two players had to jump at it and wrestle the competitor to get the ball. After my comrade and I did this twice, he thought we would kill each other so we were exempt from future repetitions. Point is that I spent some time diving onto hard floors.  Also, for the short time I was a skiier, I was a good faller. That is, when I was going to fall I knew how to do it, so that I would not lose life or limb. 

I bring this up because as I approach three score and ten, I find that somethings are happening to my body that never happened before. On Tuesday I was bringing up some laundry when I did what everybody does now and again. I had the bin in front of me and took a step that did not give me complete purchase. So, I had to scramble downstairs for a few steps. No big deal. I did bump my big toe at the base of the bottom step when I went to right myself, but was proud of how I danced backwards as gracefully as one can with underwear, jeans, and assorted tee shirts blowing back in my kisser.  I went to work, stopped at the bank, had to go to the post office, sat in my office doing this and that.  And then at about 6 pm I got up and saw stars.  My big toe felt like I had taken a hammer, tried to slam a nail--but missed hitting the nail and instead hit the toe right smack at 12 o'clock. 

It was my night for the elliptical and I could barely put my sneaker on.  It was agony. If I was still driving a shift I would have been dangerous as I could not really depress my left foot.  Meanwhile my toe is not broken. It is still sore now on Thursday, but it is getting better.  Point is I bruised so easily.  It really was not much of a stub, and I am telling you I wish the pain only on those who believe that Hitler did some good things.

Yesterday, I went to see my buddy Ken who has been in a play. I got a free ticket and went to see a really terrific rendition of Shakespeare in Love. My colleague Scott at Northeastern directed it at one of the professional theatres in Boston and yet another Northeastern instructor was in it.

The play was just great, much better than the movie that won the academy award. What a hoot.  Afterwards, I waited for Ken outside the dressing room. We, of course, stopped to discuss the super bowl game which we had watched together just two nights before.  After dissecting the loss, he went one way and I another as we were parked on different sides of Tremont Street. It was a miserably rainy icy day and he warned me to be careful walking particularly on the bricks which could be slippery.  I walked fine for about a block and then did a comical fall. Legs came out from under me and kaboom I landed on my left side.  It was fine. I was wet but not hurt. Today my left elbow feels like my left toe felt on Tuesday. I can barely bend it.

How come someone who would lurch and dive onto hard floors like a possessed person--and kept on going at 16, becomes so easily bruised.  Simple, add half a century and a couple of additional revolutions around the sun and you have the answer. 

Is there a metaphor? Are we, as we go around the track, more easily bruised when an emotional blow comes our way.

A colleague at work says something that bruises us which would have seemed innocent and benign before college. 

A relative says something that you take offense at, which is really not much.

Remember the movie, Avalon? Remember when the brother comes to Thanksgiving--the brother who was the elder and always cut the turkey to mark the beginning of the holiday.  This time the brother, now in his later years, is late to the festivities, so someone else cuts the turkey.  The brother goes postal when informed, "You cut the turkey/ You cut the turkey?"  He storms out of the house and there are years when the siblings do not speak. 

I get along great with my brother, so nothing personal here, but the point is that the more we accrue as we go around the track, the more vulnerable to bruising we can be. 

No comments:

Post a Comment