Now he’s able to kick just for kicks.
This past February I went under the knife and had a new hip installed. I wanted one with more bling. Nothing ostentatious, just a little light bedazzling. Pimp my hip out. And if I could get one that doubled as a wifi hotspot, so much the better.
Getting a total hip replacement turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected. Not the kind of thing you just walk away from. Recovery takes a while, and there are complicated bathroom issues I’d rather not discuss here. Trust me, you don’t want to read about them while you’re eating. Or if you ever plan to eat.
I was rockin’ a walker for a while, then a pair of forearm crutches, then a single forearm crutch, and now I’m on a wobbly cane. The cane is, I suppose, methadone to the crutch’s heroin, and I’m slowly being weaned off my addiction. The surgeon, when he realized how long I’d been on crutchesbecause of various complications, cautioned me to be careful I didn’t start using the crutch as “a crutch.” I was, uncharacteristically, speechless.
Physical therapy is a blast. And by “a blast” I mean it hurts. A lot. However, as a heterosexual man, I confess the one nice thing about going to my physical therapy appointments is that my therapist happens to be a very attractive young woman. If I’m going to be hurt by someone, it might as well be someone cute. During each session I try to fantasize that we’re merely a couple experimenting with something kinky and I’ve forgotten the “safe word.”
Friends and family were particularly wonderful during the early, housebound stage of my recovery: bringing meals, keeping me company, or simply being sensitive to the fact that I’m an introvert and leaving me the f**k alone. (Some people who know me really well left food on my doorstep, rang the bell, and ran like hell.) Surprisingly, strangers have also been amazingly nice to me throughout this process. They see crutches and start holding doors, offering up seats, helping with bags, etc. Smiling, assisting, being extra patient and kind. They almost behave like I’m some big movie star simply because I’m semi-incapacitated. It’s very sweet, but also a little sad. (And not just because I’m not a big movie star. Yet.)
A month or so after the surgery my wife’s car broke down right in front of our house. It’s a long story. Actually it’s a very shortstory but I’m skipping it anyway. Sue me. The point is I loped my crutchy way outside to stand by her car door, lean in her window, and keep her company while she waited for Triple-A. Since it was rush hour and she was blocking a lane on a narrow road, folks would race up behind her and slam on the brakes at the last minute. Their faces were always horribly pinched and they all seemed about to yell something really nasty… until they caught sight of my forearm crutches. Then they’d instead smile sweetly and wave like I was George Clooney or something. “No worries! Take your time! I’ll just drive around you folks! I didn’t realize you were differently abled and/or a superstar!”
As I watched this happen over and over, I began to wonder why we can’t be nice anyway. Why can’t we try to treat all people like they’re George Clooney on forearm crutches?
So next time you feel a bubble of rage rising within because some stranger inconvenienced or annoyed you, before your act on that feeling, picture them as George Clooney on forearm crutches.
And, if it helps, pretend you and George are a couple and you forgot the “safe word.”