Monday, July 03, 2006

Grumpy Old Man

I hurt my neck helping a neighbor carry his baby’s changing table up some steps the other day so now I’m in (what seems to me, anyway) a good (or should that be bad?) deal of pain; the main thing this reveals to me is that I’m likely going to be a very grumpy old man.

As the aches and pains of encroaching age continue to encroach, it’s clear to me that I won’t be one of those stoic types who bears up heroically against the aching pain. I’m going to be a big baby who makes everyone else’s life as miserable as mine.

If Papa ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy.

I admire a strong silent man who sets his jaw and doesn’t reveal the agony he feels; mainly, though, as this gives me more room to let everyone know how much I’m hurting. If you can’t get some kind of mileage out of an injury, what’s the point?

Mr. Camino was the neighborhood grouch who used to chase us off his property with a rake and a garden hose; I always wondered why. Now, I understand that he must have been in physical pain—bunions, hemorrhoids, a toothache—and that all those eggs we threw at his windows had nothing to do with it.

I can see myself in the future running the little Martian children off my flight deck with a light saber and some bug spray; won’t they be sorry I didn’t opt for the indestructible full-body prosthetic when I had the chance?

We’re told that suffering is ennobling; I guess that’s true…as long as standing on your porch in a wife-beater t-shirt and plaid shorts, screaming at middle-school kids is a noble thing to do.

To me, though, what’s really noble is generosity of spirit and action; and I can’t think of anything more generous than—when I’m old and achy—sharing my pain with as many others as I can.


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