Adding Insult to Injury

A red heart with bandaid on it.

🎡 A few days ago, my wife and I moved some items from our garage floor into the attic. The items were seasonal, and they were just in the way as we walked in and out. I have always insisted that she stay off the ladder that pulls down from the ceiling because I’m afraid she will fall. At our age, ladders are always dangerous, so we avoid them whenever we can. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 and older.
If someone needs to be on the ladder, it’s going to be me. I had just placed an item in the attic and was backing down when she mistakenly came up to hand me an object. I stepped on her hand and heard a crunch. I looked down and was horrified! I’m thinking that I broke every bone in her hand. She let out a scream as I quickly raised my foot.
Suddenly, my concern turned to anger, and I started fussing at her for being on the ladder. I have asked her several times not to climb it without me in a position to catch her if she should fall. My anger continued for several minutes until I realized how seriously I hurt her. My anger immediately turned into concern and regret. Now, I have added insult to injury, as she stands there holding her hand, nearly in tears.
Fortunately, no bones were broken, but she bruises easily, and her hand now sports a large black and blue spot. Every time I see it, I’m reminded of that secret place within me I don’t like. The place that rears its ugly head and tries to shift blame from me to others. I work hard to keep it locked away, but it watches for any opportunity to break free. When it escapes and unleashes its wrath, I’m left with guilt for weeks, wondering how I will contain that monster for good. That character flaw may be a trait a lot of us have. I have seen it in others, but believed I had conquered it in myself. It turns out the demon is alive and well.
Sigmund Freud said, “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” That’s something I need to do more often.

🎡 I have been taking a yoga class for about three months, and I must admit that it has been good for me. Our instructor (Rose) is a delightful person and well versed in her craft. She appears to be in her fifties and is as limber as one of those large blow-up plastic characters you see beside the road, weaving all over the place. Her balance seems perfect, and she can sit on the floor and touch her toes as easily as a frog can jump from one Lily pad to another. She sits in the Lotus position comfortably and, apparently, could stay there for hours.
I’m telling you some things she can do because those are my goals as well. I know she does those things many days each week. That is a beautiful, healthy place to be in your life. As I attempt to sit in the Lotus position (legs folded in front), within a few minutes, my body aches, and I strongly need to open my legs and stretch them briskly. About 50 minutes later, she has us lay on our back, hands by our side, and listen to her as she instructs us to close our eyes and relax for a few minutes. I have dozed during that time. Before yoga, I could never imagine that I would be capable of lying on the floor and sleeping. Because of yoga, I am more flexible, have virtually no hip pain, and my balance is much better. I remember telling my wife, “Real men don’t do yoga.” Thankfully, I now know better than to utter those unkind words. Rose informed me that yoga was originally intended for men only. The father of modern yoga was from India and died in 1989. It would be a challenge to say his name: Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.
Thomas Jefferson said, “Without health, there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take the place of every other object.” Wise word from old Thomas.

🎡 Recently, I invited my friend Ken to our home to have a jamming session. I have been playing the guitar for about 25 years (woefully inadequate), and this was my very first “Jam session.” Our wives joined us halfway through the two-hour session and politely praised our effort. He and I are about the same age and have a similar love of playing the guitar. He plays much better than I, plus he sings. Both of us enjoy “Country” music, so mainly three chords and some nasal singing get us through most of the selected songs. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I hope we will do it again soon.
I read an article several years ago that said the best time to learn to play a musical instrument is between seven and seventeen. I started in my mid-fifties, so I was a little behind the curve on that effort. My wife and I attended a show in our retirement community the other night that featured a three-piece band (guitar, bass, & drums), playing Roy Orbison, Johnny Rivers, and Carl Perkins songs. About seventy-five gray heads bobbled around, and the songs from the 60s & 70s filled the room with joy. The guitar player was the lead singer. He did an excellent job imitating Roy Orbison as I watched his fingers moving impressively up and down the guitar’s neck. Now, he wasn’t ready for the big time, but he was very entertaining. Roy Orbison wore sunglasses, and the singer gleefully informed us that Roy’s eyes weren’t bad. Well, I looked it up online, and here is what I found: plagued by poor eyesight his entire life, Orbison left his regular glasses on a plane before his show started but had a pair of dark glasses with him as he wasn’t able to see without them, Roy kept wearing the dark glasses purely to navigate his life, and it eventually became his trademark.
The singer in the show we attended probably assumed that older people do not know how to fact-check? Ah, heck, he’s probably at some other retirement community spreading incorrect information about Roy, who passed away in 1988.

🎡 I took my wife to Kroger’s grocery store after we completed our regular 2-mile walk last Friday. I let her out at the door and went to park the Prius. As I got out of the car and headed for the Starbucks inside, a young woman ahead of me got out of her car and headed inside as well. The temps were in the low 40s, and the wind made it feel colder. This young lady had on a pair of cutoff jeans and a tight short-sleeve shirt that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. Throw in that she was very attractive, and you have a head-jerker that could cause whiplash. I was worried that she would turn around to see me watching her stroll towards the door. I know she dressed to attract the gaze of younger men, but when you go fishing, you never know the type, nor size, of the fish that will bite your bait. She seemed totally unaware that every man in the parking lot was looking her way. She had to be cold. I was, and I had on a scarf, jacket, and hat. She may wear what she wants, but she needs to understand it will attract stares. I mentioned it to my wife as we left the parking lot heading home, and she had seen the young woman in the store and noticed she was thinly dressed. As warmer weather approaches, I’m confident we will see the young people among us shed their clothes. That young lady will then be less noticeable. I guess that if you want to be noticed, you need to be among the first 😊.
Orson Welles famously said, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” Well, this is where I stop my story.