Once upon a time I played three sets of tennis followed by a bike ride to the beach and hours of body surfing and sunbathing. But that was in a prior century.
Now I dodge the sun like it was a mortal enemy, and activities involve more conversation than competition. I saunter, not bike, most often with a friend. And the folks I play ping pong and bocce with are fun and forgiving.
Meanwhile, according to my army of adolescent physicians, I have to be careful not to fall because, for folks over 50, landing on your can can be more dangerous than an assault on Mt. Everest. That’s why I try doing everything at a stately pace. Still, I’ve found that moving at any pace when you’re an aging jock has consequences.
Gurus advise stretching before exercising. But I think they are talking about people who plan on working up a sweat. Since I don’t sweat, I don’t stretch.
My key to surviving paddling, pushing, and perambulating is the follow-up. My mini-muscles do get tired. Not terribly, because I don’t overwork them. But enough so they demand some post-exercise attention. Generally, that means a hot shower followed by a prophylactic anti-inflammatory, topped off by joining my favorite Couch Potato, whose work-out of choice is adjusting the sound on the TV when commercials interrupt NCIS.
On a recent evening, after nestling next to him, he asked if I’d like to share a snack. When I said yes, he actually got up, went into the kitchen, and began slicing an apple. Then I heard:
“Bring a band aide, quick!”
Now, under normal circumstances, I would jump up, dash to his side, assess the situation, race to the bathroom for supplies, perhaps garnish the damaged digit with some peroxide and an anti-bacterial cream, and then cover it in an appropriately-sized dressing.
But an aging jock’s body doesn’t do anything fast after even moderate activity. So when he hollered, just standing up took some time. Then came the slow locomotion into the kitchen. And the four long back and forths to the bathroom, as each successive dressing was rejected.
Him: “That one is too big.”
Him: “That one’s too fat.”
Him (incredulously): “You want me to use a Super Hero band aide?”
Me (withdrawing the Superman option): “You want to bleed to death?”
Him: “I could have, waiting for you. I’ve never seen anyone move so slowly.”
Me: “You should be grateful that I moved at all. And be happy there were some Spidermans mixed in with the Wonder Womans. Now, be still so I can finish patching you up. And when I’m done slicing this apple, I’m taking it and my achy self back to the couch.”
Which I did. He followed, and we resumed watching NCIS.
That night I groaned as I got into bed.
Him: “Did you take anything?”
“Want me to get another.”
“No. If you get up, you’ll dislodge Spiderman from your finger and end up dripping blood on the rug. I can wash the sheet, but the rug won’t fit in the machine.”
“I’m not bleeding any more.”
“Yes you are.”
“How would you know? You haven’t looked at my finger since you wrapped it in Spidey.”
You can fill in the rest of the conversation. Bottom line is I grunted my way out of bed, hobbled to the bathroom, placed a larger bandage on the wound, and then moaned as I gingerly pulled the up the covers. My stricken superhero was snoring before I turned out the light.
Which only goes to prove that it’s tiring being the spouse of an aging jock.