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I am older than I once was ...

  • Thursday, June 12, 2014



My body is failing me.

Daily.

It fails me every time I turn on the water to wash dishes. It fails me every time I pour a glass of iced tea. Itís not pretty.

Iím getting old.

Itís inevitable and happens to all of us. It doesnít happen all of a sudden.

No, itís more of a gradual thing, happening little by little over time, and during moments when you least expect it.

I remember the first time my body failed me.

I was 32. Young still. No gray hair. No hitch in my step.

I could still hit, drain threes and throw a baseball harder than just about anybody.

I never could run very fast though, but I could hit.

I had caved to pressure and agreed to play slow pitch softball.

Slow pitch softball is the worst sport ever invented. Itís what you get when you combine baseball and beer. The game was made for fat old men, and I was not a fat old man.

Not yet.

Iím standing at the plate and remembering how I used to hit in high school.

I see the pitch ó I could see then too. The pitch is inside and I turn on it.

When you turn on something, and subsequently ďhit it on the screw,Ē the following moment is one of surrealism.

It doesnít feel like you even touched the ball, but it shoots off your bat like something was chasing it.

I drilled it ... like J.R. Ewing looking for oil. Iím thinking triple at least, maybe more.

Like I said, I was never the worldís fastest runner, but if you hit a baseball hard enough, and far enough, you donít have to be.

And I just did.

I round first and head for second, and thatís when my body failed me. It failed me because I believed it wouldnít.

I had faith in my legs ó silly me.

On my way to first, my brain completes a countdown checklist.

Heart?

How we doing?

Beating steady at 94 bpm, sir. Weíre a little rusty but running is like riding a bike. Weíre good here.

Lungs? How we doing?

A little short here, feeling the burn, but loving it.

Legs?

Donít forget the bad knee sir. Iím giving her all sheís got captain.

Keep giving legs. We need more. Iím thinking triple.

Legs ó but sir, we donít hit triples. Weíre happy with doubles.

Brain ó not this time.

And off for second I ran...

There is this thing called rigor mortis.

Rigor mortis has a friend, and his name is Charlie Horse.

Charlie wasnít very nice to me that day. There was no warning - I would have slowed down. I should have listened, but I fell prey to vanity.

My legs said, we only hit doubles. But I got greedy.

And Charlie Horse grabbed my leg and tried to roll my foot up the back of my leg like the Wicked Witch of the East.

I also did not take another step.

I stopped ó whammo! ó right there ... about 15 feet shy of second base.

I watched as the outfielders chased down the baseball. I saw the glee in their eyes when they realized I had stopped running and would not be starting up again any time soon.

I cursed Mother Nature when some snot-nosed 25-year old with a bad tattoo and a T-shirt that said, ďIím the one your mother warned you about,Ē tagged me out and said, ďSorry grandpa.Ē

I regard these same legs now as Iím lying on the couch typing this.

For legs, these things make a great computer table.

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