Well, I finally have reached the age where, as far as falling down goes, I have skin in the game. I could never understand why falling down was such a jolt to old people. Get up! My friends and I used to joke, back in our smooth-skinned days, about the fragile age we’d turn someday. For me, that age landed a couple weeks ago upon my doorstep like an evening newspaper. It was numbered 57 years and counting, waiting for me to come out and pick it up.
So, there I was, walking to the front door to lock it. And walking toward the door to lock it, my foot caught upon the carpet, and I fell in a grand, exaggerated manner. I fell with a surprised face. I fell like a reputation in Washington, D.C. I fell like a soccer player trying to con the ref. I fell like…an old person.
In the wrinkle-free zone where I lived my youth, I would’ve put out my hand to absorb the shock of the fall and protect my face. I would’ve uttered an “oof,” rolled, and bounced back up. The only damage to my face would have been my blush. However, this time I fell as a 57-year old man, and though I stuck my hand out as I had done so many times before, when I landed, my shoulder popped out from it’s mooring, and my oof of yore became a stream of profanities that continued into the night until I finally drove myself to the emergency ward at the local hospital.
I am gaining the use of my arm again. Slowly. This time. However, as I ease into the period of my life where the heating bill far exceeds the air-conditioning bill, I feel as though I’m on the clock each trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Each time I return home, arms full of groceries. Each step outside. Every single crack in the sidewalk. I may have fallen as a 57-year old man, but I got back up much older, and now, I am on the clock.