Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sue Carlton: Lessons from a fall

On a recent fine fall Saturday much like this one, I was hanging holiday decorations in the yard. My sister came with sandwiches from a local deli to eat outside, and my good and faithful dog was there, too.

The rest makes for a pretty inglorious story.

I decided the tall wooden frame around the backyard swing would be an excellent place to drape a festive holiday garland. So I climbed up on the swing's seat, then onto the armrest. Emboldened, I put a foot atop the swing's back.

And, with that, I flew too close to the sun, figuratively and otherwise.

As it turns out, there is a good reason it is called a swing and not a bench, or even a "stable object upon which it is safe to stand." The swing swung, flipped and sent me into an Olympic-worthy summersault, except mine ended with me flat on my back in the grass.

My good and faithful dog immediately ran over, stood over me and peered intently into my face with her expressive Lab eyes, assessing damage. Then she turned and scarfed down my fallen sandwich. As I was slowly helped to my feet, I was later told, she helpfully licked from my ankle a last bit of tomato.

So I had a shoulder that no longer shouldered. This means inevitable ice packs and medical appointments, including a memorable one in which the doctor described the picture of my muscle and bone on an ultrasound screen as "flank steak." Somehow my ankle got involved, maybe in solidarity with the shoulder, and so there is some hobbling to go with the lack of ability to scratch my own ear. I am reminded of an old Mary Tyler Moore Show episode in which she has a terrible cold, something wrong with her hair and a twisted ankle. This, she keeps telling everyone, is not how I am.

People are empathetic when you are suddenly both stiff and limping, with an ever-present ice pack stuffed under your sleeve. A kind colleague told me he too had suffered the same injury, except his happened when he was, impressively, boxing. There is just so little swagger to the story of how you got hurt when the main action involves trying to hang a shiny garland.

My good and faithful dog is willing to go a little slower on her daily constitutionals and is always beside me when I get up in the night. Though more than once I have returned to bed to find her already there, nestled under pre-warmed blankets, head on my pillow.

If I am looking for a larger lesson — beyond: Don't do something this dumb — maybe that's it, that dogs will be dogs.

Or that even four-star generals fall, so to speak.

Maybe it's seeing that all around you people are dealing with serious health situations, and you, for all your boneheadedness, are lucky.

Or maybe it's that everything passes eventually. Not so long ago the Republican National Convention bore down on us, as inevitable and unknowable as a hurricane, but it's over and we're here. We moved through a vicious political season that seemed without end, re-elected a president and we're here. We are (again) the butt of national jokes, this time as the town that brought the world Bayshore socialites and misbehaving military. We'll survive that, too.

In the meantime, I have learned my lesson. And I can tell you without hesitation that, from here on out, I am definitely going to be doing a whole lot less boxing.

Sue Carlton: Lessons from a fall 11/23/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 6:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.