Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Thud

I fell down today.


I went downstairs to the pop and beer fridge behind the pool table to get a can of pop for my lunch, and to get my work clothes I was freshening up in the dryer; and on my way back up stairs, in my still sleepy groggy state – I tripped on the top stair in the foyer.

Foyer is a fancy word for that space by the front door.

Our foyer floor is stone ceramic. It looks very pretty. But it makes for a hard landing.

I had my hands full – so I hit the floor hard. A thud. I laid there for a moment and took inventory.

And I noticed a crack in the grout work by the front door.

Everything was ok – except the cap of my good knee where I landed. It still hurts.

As I was lying there, I realized that this is the first time I ever fell, and didn't just pop back up. Usually when I fall (oh, yeah, I fall down once in a while), I hit the ground rolling, and just pop back up.

Not this time.

Nobody heard me. I laid there and listened to the silence in the house.

The girls were still asleep in their beds – lucky summer vacationing little second and third graders.

My lovely wife Darlene was still asleep as well. She usually gets up just before I leave to share a cup of coffee and make sure I understand my domestic duties for the day. But that time had not yet arrived. It was only six o'clock.

My faithful black lab Suzy was not even up yet. She was still stretched out on the floor beside my lovely wife's side of the bed.

But the kittens were up. And along they bounded, and climbed on me like a new piece of furniture to explore. When the one we call Misty climbed on my head – I realized I should probably just get up now.

For a second, I thought maybe one day I would have one of those Clapper devices – where you clap your hands and help comes to get you. But then I realized that the Clapper was actually the device that turned lights on and off when you clap your hands.

Now that would look silly. Me lying there – so happy at my foresight for personal safety to get a Clapper – and the one time I needed it I would discover my mistake as the lights in the house turned on and off.

"What would the neighbors think" , I laughed to myself.

Would they realize I got confused and call an ambulance on my behalf? – "Oh look – that Brill fellow must have got confused and bought the Clapper when he really wanted one of those I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up thingies."

I'm sure it's a common mistake.

But now Misty the kitty was sitting with her bum on my head, and I think I saw her come out of the litter box when I was downstairs mere seconds ago. So the thought of a freshly pooped kitty sitting on my head spurred me to finally get up.

I picked up my now well shaken can of pop and my re-wrinkled shirt and pants, and climbed back up to my feet.

I didn't just pop back up, I wrestled my way back up.

Now I have been very fortunate with the state of my condition to this point in my life. I may look kind of old, but I have always felt young.

I can still swim the butterfly in the pool. I can still stretch out for a ground ball that is just within reach. I can still juggle a soccer ball up one side of my body and down the other. And I can still follow through a golf swing until the club shaft bounces off my back. So I am still fairly agile.

But a couple of years ago, playing in a company softball game, I found myself going back for a fly ball over my head. In my younger days, I would have simply drifted back smoothly under the ball and made the easy catch. But on that occasion, I found it hard to track the ball as my body was bouncing when running – and my eyes couldn't stay on the ball.

And I missed it.

And that was the start of my feeling old.

But I'm not complaining. I know many people who suffer from debilitating ailments that drastically constrain their physical motion, my lovely wife Darlene's degenerative spine for example. So I know I am very lucky.

But it was just that next reminder that time is passing me by, that my life is progressing with time. And my body is aging.

And this realization rang the loudest when I thought to myself, "lucky thing I didn't break my hip".

But I might just go out and by a Clapper. It might be dark next time.

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