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One way to hang out with the jocks

May 12, 2009  By Ian Robinson

Here’s one of the few cool things about getting older… and no, I’m not talking about the early-bird special at Denny’s, although that is pretty cool.

I like Denny’s so much, that the one time my doctor ordered blood work to check my cholesterol, when the technician shoved the needle into the vein what came out was that white cream gravy the Denny’s people pour over country fried steak.

Apparently, that puts my cholesterol as “high.”


That my personal physician, the incredible Dr. Unpronounceable Paul,
has not given up on me, is a testimony to her perserverance and

Her first name isn’t actually Unpronounceable.


It’s Asian or African or something that I can’t manage to get my tongue
around, but she doesn’t seem to mind when I call her Doc’

I also refer to her as “my meat mechanic,” and she doesn’t seem to mind that, either.

I know. The woman’s a freaking saint.

Other things in my life that rank as “high” on my doctor’s check list for me are:

1. Irritability

2. Blood alcohol level

3. Blood pressure

4. Smart ass

5. Personal cynicism.

She refers to the aforementioned as “potential health problems.”

I refer to them as “charming, personal character traits.”

So far, we agree that she’s a great person and a great doctor and I am neither.

But to get back to the one cool thing about getting older?

It’s that at the advanced age of 51, I am getting to hang out with
young athletes of all kinds for an hour a day and—get this!—the
government is paying for it.

This is because as you get older, when you put a hurt on yourself, it
often resembles the kinds of injuries that athletes in their 20s

Of course, they acquire their injuries playing football or soccer, inline skating or mountain biking.

I acquired my cool sports injury by…walking.

Or, rather, attempting to walk.

All I was doing was strolling across the parking lot of my place of employment when I rediscovered that:

a) Ice is often invisible

b) Ice is often slippery

c) I ain’t as young as I used to be

My right leg shot out to the side and I caught myself on the opposite hand and heard this sickening crunch.
I did what any red-blooded, normal guy would do.

I uttered a string of 11 words that were in clear violation of my
workplace code of conduct, any standard of decency outside any
environment more sensitive than your average maximum security prison,
and managed not to burst into tears. Barely.

Then, because I’m a guy and my brain is not even in the running for my
Top Five Most Used Organs, struggled to my feet and limped into work,
waiting a week to seek medical attention because I figured it would get

Note to Readers: If it goes “crunch!” and makes you want to cry and vomit…see a physician.

It turns out I’ve messed up a couple of knee ligaments. They’re
important ones. They’re the kind of ligaments that bookies follow
because they’re the kind of injuries that end the careers of running
backs. In addition, the surgeon hacked away at all the cartilage I’ve
managed to rupture in there as well.

All of which leaves me with a knee less flexible than Pope Benedict’s position on pre-marital sex.

So I’ve been sent to a sports medicine clinic to rehab the knee.

The clientele is split about 80 per cent young daredevils and 20 per cent old fart.

The cool thing is, the young daredevils are limping just as badly as I am and, for now at least, I’m one of them.
“Check this out, writer guy,” one youngster with a knee worse than
mine, says, doing a half-dozen knee bends holding onto a ballet bar. I
match him and we grin at each other, neither one of us mentioning the
fact that the other guy’s gone pale and popped sweat from the pain.

Later, as I struggle to complete a rotation on a stationary bike, the
tattooed kid next to me is trying to balance on some torture device and
keeps falling off.

“Dude, I don’t get it. I’ve got great balance,” he tells me and I
believe him. The guy’s a semi-pro skateboarder who recently screwed a
landing and shattered his ankle.

“Maybe you’ve only got great balance when you’re upside down,” I said.

“Good point,” he says, and promptly stands on his hands and runs from
one end of the sports medicine clinic to the other, which brings our
therapist out half-laughing and half-annoyed.

“You two! Smarten up!”

I give her my best, “Who me?” look.

“Yeah, you!” she says.

“I’m not the one running around on his hands,” I point out.

“No,” but I’m pretty sure you’re the one who put him up to it.”

And the guy on his hands and I look at each other and, honest to God, giggle like schoolgirls.
It’s a helluva thing, but it took an injury this bad to make me feel this young.

Do ya think it’s too late to take up skateboarding?

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