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I hurt my back the other day.

Before we get into the details, let's establish the ground rules. Hurting my back is not exactly a "man bites dog" story. In fact, it's not even a "man trips over dog and hurts his back" story, which at least has the promise of being amusing. Well, not to the man or the dog, but, in general.

The reality of my life is that I possess two traits that make injuring any variety of things a fairly common deal. I am a combination of clumsy and optimistic. This allows me, for example, to climb up on fairly unstable things, confident that they'll hold me. And it also destines me to discover they won't.

The long and short of it is that I hurt my back on a roller coaster. Right out of the chute and despite all warnings and appeals to my better instincts, I got on the thing. Within seconds of leaving the platform, I discovered that the contention that one size fits all, at least as it applied to roller coaster seats, was somewhat oversold.

So, we've determined how it happened, though that is somewhat beside the point. Or, specifically, in back of it. The question now is what comes next.

Previously, on occasions when I decided to go tubing or put up the Christmas lights or play one more nine before the sun really did set, what came next was, at best, a couple of days of aspirin, hot showers and whining, followed by attempts to get out of routine household chores. Those attempts, of course, happened even if I didn't notice any specific way my back hurt.

Because, in addition to clumsy optimism, I'm also generally so blissfully unaware of my physical state that it takes me a while to realize I'm injured. So long , in fact, that I'm often unable to remember exactly how it might have happened.

I know. Odd. But I can always find my car keys. So I've got that going for me. I guess. And I do remember when I fall off things.

No, what bothers me (OK, besides the fact that my back really hurts, which probably shouldn't be lost in all this) has more to do with premonition than reality. I have the sneaking suspicion this sort of thing is not great and only going to get worse.

You see, the deal about all those previous injuries is that that the "two days of hot showers and aspirin" thing was very real. Couple of days in and I was either cured or forgot about it.

Now, at this stage in my life, my concern -- besides, again, the fact that my back hurts -- is that this is the start of hurting things where the hurt sticks around for a while. Maybe even for the long haul.

While once upon a time, general clumsiness and a somewhat casual attitude to personal safety tended to generate nothing more than somewhat decent stories and the occasional appreciation for my HMO, I'm now somewhat more concerned for my personal safety. Or at least the consequences of a lack thereof.

Seems the ground (And quite a few other things, like, say, roller coaster seats) has become somewhat harder over time. And it's a lot farther down than it used to be. And getting to it seems to be a lot more involved than it used to be.

Kidding aside, we all reach a point where we give up on the idea of getting better at anything and consign ourselves to trying desperately not to get any worse. So when things like the ground or the stairs or a roller coaster seat intrude on that plan, it's both painful and worrying.

No one wants to be the guy who tells his grandkids he'd love to play catch, but he hurt his back on the Super Thunder Triple Loop Death Defying Screamer a few years back and, well, he can't lift his arm over his head now.

But you also don't want to have arrived at the "you kids go have fun and I'll just sit here with the bags" portion of life, either.

It's a balancing act between wanting to do the things you've always done, even though you know you shouldn't, and missing out on the fun because you might still be regretting it in five years.

So maybe the takeaway for me is I'm at the point where I have to go through life determining the cost of things. And then deciding I'm going to go ahead and pay it, anyway.

Either that or pull the seat belt tighter. Yeah, that might be it.

Commentary on 07/20/2018

Print Headline: Bouncing back

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