Becoming A Man Of A Certain Age


I clearly remember scoffing at the rubber shower mat in the hotel bathroom. It hung off the tub, inviting people “of a certain age” to put aside their walkers and Brylcreem to spread out the mat to prevent slips in the shower.

Safety first. Get in, get out. Time for Matlock.

Then I stepped over the rubber mat and—you see this coming—slipped in the shower in a cartoonish flurry of flailing limbs and expletives. I smashed an elbow, a knee and parts I did not know I had. 

Once I ran out of cuss words, I spread out the mat, showered and nursed my bruises. Turns out, I am a Shower Mat Guy. 

This happened during the summer, and I tell the story because it may explain my current “no-spring-chicken” predicament. My left foot has two fractures, and I have been hobbling around in a boot and with a cane since early October. It is as pitiful as it is hilarious.

Several things of note:

I do not know for sure that my bathroom slip broke my foot. Fact is, I had been wondering for months why my left foot hurt every time I put it on the floor. Finally, my wife sent me to the doctor. 

Fractures, the doc said. “How did you do this?” he asked. “I have no clue,” I answered. 

Without a single source of trauma to track, the official explanation was bones randomly break for men “of a certain age.” 

Ouch. That’s why I scanned my memory for a better explanation—a bar fight, maybe, or damsel rescue or one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone amid wild cheers and metacarpal snaps. 

Then I remembered the bathtub fall. No heroics. Just a whimpering naked guy crumpled up in a tub. 

I still am not sure that is when I broke my foot, but I like it better than “Well, you’re old and stuff just snaps.”

By the time you read this, I will be wearing shoes on both feet. I hope.

The doctor tells me if I stay off my foot for six weeks, I’ll be as good as new (or as close to “new” as a 54-year-old with a beer belly, high blood pressure and rubber mats can be). Six weeks is an awfully long time to sit and, as a guy with a certified short attention span and a hankering for distant snacks, I have not followed orders.

Thus, here is Dr. Dave Crumplefoot’s medical advice: If there is a rubber mat on the tub, use it. 

If your foot becomes swollen and painful, don’t walk across New York City on vacation or hike mountains during photo shoots or run from oozing zombies at haunted houses or mow the lawn or pick up a 70-pound puppy too afraid to get into the car.

And if your wife tells you to go to the doctor, go to the doctor. Do not employ husband logic. After all, you will need her to bring you snacks. OS

Posted in Community Spotlight, LivingTagged

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