Not the most inspirational question is it? Yet it is a fact of life I’m starting to understand better every day. The simple fact that my bones sound like a Van Halen drum solo every morning when I get up and I have to think real hard about doing some of the more physical activities that I never thought twice about when I was younger.
Let me give you an example. We went to my wife’s family reunion/picnic this weekend in Lake Shelbyville in central Illinois. (If you haven’t been there, make the trip, it’s worth it) When I was younger I was always the first one to volunteer for the sand football games, volleyball, tubing, I even gave water skiing a try. (A face plant while water skiing is by far the best way to clean your sinuses). I have even tried surfing in the Pacific Ocean. This also led to a sand burn the size of Texas on my back, and might I say salt water and a large scrape don’t go well together. Now I find myself watching my kids, nephews, and nieces do these activities. I try to get out there every once and a while with the knowledge that I will definitely pay for it the next day. Did you know that tubing behind a boat at 30 mph can detach your spine from the rest of your body? Ice packs and Ibuprofen for everyone! Put it on my tab.
Age is a funny thing, you trade physical abilities for street smarts and knowledge of past events. I have also traded my six-pack abs for a keg. I’m in shape mind you, round is a shape! I use to look at motorcycles and Jet Ski’s fondly, now I look at knee replacements and recliners with the same kind of admiration. (I’m patiently waiting for the knee replacement that makes the bionic man sound every time you get up). My pal Don at ATI physical therapy is trying to put off all my joint replacements as long as he can.
All this jabbering leads to the email I got from my mom today. My dad is having to deal with a lot of pain from an old back injury that happened the same year I was born. (I’d like to say it was 1985, but due to the statements in the first couple of paragraphs, you realize it was more like 1961). He was the last car in a funeral procession and a drunk driver was coming up fast on the procession. He realized the guy wasn’t going to stop and to protect the carload of his elderly aunts and uncles in front of him, he slammed on the brakes to take the brunt of the impact. He spent three months in the hospital and suffered through multiple back surgeries to repair the damage to his low back.
He never complained about it. The only evidence we had as children of this occurrence was the large scar on his back. Part of the Marine Corp mentality I guess, tough as nails to the very end.
Now getting out of a chair is difficult for him. He has bad arthritis in his shoulders so this complicates things even further. It’s difficult to watch this happen to the strongest man I ever knew, but it’s the price we pay for the gift of the so-called “Golden Years”. They should call them the “Rusty Years” because that’s how you feel…rusty.
Right now I already have some surface rust and my paint is fading. My dad is starting to rust through. If there was a way to replace his body with this year’s model, I would do it in a second. He’s earned it.
I just need some replacement parts. Maybe I’ll start a franchise called “Joints R Us”. I would have to make sure that people understood what joints I am referring to or I’ll get a bunch of Foghat groupies showing up at the front door on opening day.
Now let’s think of a slogan…how about “These Joints are Legal” or maybe “The biggest selection of joints since Cheech and Chong were in town” or maybe “Just leave us your knees, and hips, and huddled masses, and you’ll get a new one with a guarantee”
My advice for you “youngin’s” (insert old guy voice here) is this…protect your body. You can’t trade it in for the one with all the new and exciting options. All those football, hockey, and other sports injuries catch up to you. Don’t believe me…come over and listen to the Van Halen drum solo yourself.