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So I may very well have reached a new high (or low, depending ... ) in the "so, you did what, exactly?" department.

I've often echoed the sentiment that one of the worst things about getting older is that you can hurt yourself doing nothing at all. Well, I think I just hurt myself, and I don't even know how.

The implications here are, at least for me, fairly staggering. And since I hurt my knee, they're also literally staggering. Because when you are the proud possessor of one good knee and the other one suddenly isn't so great, well, you tend to walk like a sailor on shore leaving facing a lot of headwinds all at one time.

But it appears, through no fault of my own (or at least no fault that I can determine), that I'm now "0-fer" in the good knee department.

Seems the other day I was climbing a flight of stairs in the lovely Chalet Smith (you know, they just weren't that steep when we first moved in. Seismic shift or something ...) when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my right knee.

So, OK, yes, technically I was doing something, since I didn't injure myself compressing sofa cushions or anything like that. But if we've reached the point where putting one foot ahead and slightly higher than the other one for ten to 12 feet qualifies as "something," we may just not be expecting enough of someone in his late 50's and in decent (albeit slightly gimpy) health.

The implications of this, for me anyway, are a little frightening. Most obviously, of course, is that fact that I am allergic to pain. It makes me break out in tears. But beyond that, it also signals a new phase at least a few rungs below the last phase, and the original phase wasn't all that impressive in the first place.

You see, as we've determined and as I've confessed on numerous occasions, I'm not a particularly talented athlete. If for some reason you don't believe me, just ask any and every person who ever coached me in my life.

However, be prepared to witness the sort of squinting people do when they're trying to figure out a way to remain honest without sounding really, really derogatory: "Well, he gave a lot of effort," or "got the most out of his ability" (sadly, true) or "was a great teammate."

So, in an athletic sense, if you're not going to win, the very next best thing isn't second. It's hurting something. Finish second and you're just not that fast. Get hurt and, well, we'll never know, will we?

Now couple that with the sort of injuries you can sustain trying to do things around the house, and you can eat dinner for the rest of your life on how you tripped over your cleats and tore up your knee or broke your ribs falling through a fire escape.

I mean, injuries are like scars, which are tattoos with better stories. Who really wants to ask you why you're limping and hear, "beats me?" Unless, it's accompanied by, "all I know is I was up on the roof trying to adjust the antenna when suddenly I realized I've had cable TV for about 40 years now and, apparently, in my surprise I slipped."

Now, instead of playing the, "the older I get, the better I was" card, I'm stuck with the "I'm getting older, things hurt, I'm not sure why" card. Which isn't exactly a royal flush and, to be honest, lacks a bit as dynamic narrative.

And while no one wants to exactly lie about an injury, ("there I was, surrounded by a pack of dangerous ninjas at the bottom of my driveway when I went down to get the paper"), it's probably OK to exaggerate a little. I mean, hey, it works for politicians and fishermen.

But it's hard to weave much daring do, or even seltzer-in-the-face goofiness into, "I was carrying a load of towels upstairs when my knee started to hurt. Guess that will teach me to do chores."

Now I'm sure this is nothing a few days of limping and a couple of over-the-counter pain relievers won't handle. And it's going to be harder to "take it easy" to a greater degree than I already was when my knee started hurting.

But the psychic scars may never heal. Wait, maybe there's a story in that ...

Commentary on 09/22/2017

Print Headline: Aching for explanation

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