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Doctors May Be Right After All
I'm at that awkward age when your doctors - and once you get a certain number of miles on the odometer, it's always doctors, plural - tell you not to overdo things, to leave the lawn mowing and snow shoveling to others, and not to climb anything higher than a stepstool.
It's awkward because I have learned through hard experience to listen to my doctors, but there's still a disconnect. I'm not that old. I'm not ill. I'm strong and I feel pretty good. I want to be a good patient, but the docs seem a little over-cautious to me. And I've told them so.
Besides which, to whom am I supposed to leave the lawn mowing and snow shoveling? Wally and the Beav don't come around anymore to ask if they can mow my lawn or shovel the walk for two bucks and a handful of cookies. And I can just imagine what would happen if I asked the kids in the neighborhood if they wanted to make some money doing yard work. I'd get blank stares. Which would figure, seeing as how they wouldn't be able to hear me, what with the iPods permanently attached to their ears.
As for climbing things higher than a stepstool, such as stepladders ... well, that is where I found myself today.
I was cleaning out the gutters on the garage. They didn't get cleaned out last fall because I was busy being in the hospital with a little heart flutter. Under the circumstances, gutter cleaning sort of slipped my mind.
As a result, last fall's leaves had all winter to turn into rich Gutter Compost, the perfect growing medium for the recent crop of maple seeds, and a few took root and sprouted. What am I saying? A few? It looked like Canada up there.
So up I went to do a little cleaning.
Now, I have some sticker bushes planted around the garage. Why? Because whoever lived here before me put them there. I've been thinking I ought to rip them out but I haven't done it yet. After all, I only had the idea five years ago. No sense rushing.
The bushes made it difficult for me to get the ladder as close to the gutters as I might have liked. I had to really stretch to get my garden trowel into the gutter, and I couldn't control it all that well as I was scooping. That's how I managed, on the third trowel load, to launch a large glop of stinky, slimy leaf guck directly onto my chest and face.
Awkward? You betcha. Also smelly and disgusting. But wait. It gets awkwarder. More awkward. Whatever.
A little while later I was cleaning in a place where the bushes are especially thick. I thought I had the ladder set on level ground, but it seems I was mistaken, because as I reached to get another scoopful the ladder suddenly tipped.
It took about a half-second for me to correct the angle of the ladder and scramble down to terra firma. And in that time I managed to see, in my mind's eye, a headline:
Indianapolis Man Dies In Bizarre Gutter-Cleaning Accident.
Perfect. Now I have to go back to my doctors and tell them they were right, at least about the ladders. And that will be - there's no other word for it - awkward.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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