I think I need to take a good long look in the mirror (with the glasses on) and see the reality of what’s there, a 62 year old overweight body – not the 25 year old one I still believe I have most of the time.
We wrote an article here about how I broke a number of ribs dumpster diving in Tasmania. After all this time they’ve finally healed (it took nearly a year to be completely rid of the pain)!
It was on the last break we had in Brisbane while staying at the unit in Maroochydore that a similar mishap was to befall me.
You see I have this problem.
It comes from a desire not to frighten or upset people.
I don’t like to show off my unclothed body at beaches or swimming pools lest I cause women and children to run screaming in fright and I’ll often take great pains to avoid the practice of swimming unless there is no sign of other humans.
So this particular day was hot and sunny and from the balcony of the unit I could look down at the superb blue, cool looking water in the complex’s swimming pool. The idea of a swim was so appealing I decided to put my inhibitions aside and give it a go.
As I approached the pool I spied the few other people within and torn twix the desire for a swim and my modesty I opted for the former but with a shrewdly hatched plan to minimise my exposure.
I would take my towel and whilst still sporting the shirt I would drift around to the end of the pool, slip off my shirt and inconspicuously slip into the water while no one was looking.
My shirt and towel would be there to wrap around me hurriedly when I got out.
The plan went well and succeeded except for a minor flaw – the end I chose was the deep end!
In my mind I casually calculated there would be a slight difficulty in getting out and accessing the shirt and towel tidily piled at poolside but this did not detract from the pleasure of swimming in the cool water.
As was bound to happen, a steady flow of traffic caused the pool to become somewhat crowded by the time I needed to repair to dry land but it was with relief that I saw my towel and shirt in the corner of the pool and I smugly grinned that I did not need to climb out via the only ladder which required one to stand, as if on a pedestal, in full display of every one of the many spectators.
All that was needed was to swim to the corner, haul up onto the side and with one deft motion pick up the towel as I was catapulting up and over the side of the pool.
This, of course, was something that a decade or two ago would have been easily executed.
This time would be a little different.
I placed both hands on the poolside and with a couple of bounces for leverage hauled out with full force.
Up through the water the body shot, in my mind resembling a sleek dolphin leaping out of the water.
The trouble was that although I catapulted with all my strength I was only able to get the upper part of the body onto the pool side.
This meant that instead of the sleek dolphin easily taking flight from the water, myself landed splat on my chest on the poolside rather more like a beached sea lion after a macabre struggle to alight on to the rocks with blubber shaking and little legs still dangling in the water as snorts, barks and groans of agony were released as I felt at least three ribs crack fiercely under the weight.
This naturally caused the opposite to my intended outcome of anonymity as I became stuck fast rocking to and fro on the pool ledge with my ribs acting as the fulcrum for the rest of the body.
It would only have been half as bad if the Princess (Kerrie) was not a spectator to the scene.
She of course reverted to her usual reaction that accompanies my misfortunes by screaming with uncontrollable laughter, ensuring that anyone who might have missed the scene before was now most definitely a part of it.
Oh the embarrassment!
The sight it must have been for the onlookers!
I don’t remember how I finally hauled out the rest of my blubber from the pool, but I vaguely recall lying spread eagled, straddling the pool’s surround on my ribs, one leg uselessly dangling in the water and the other on dry land, and catching the looks on the sea of faces now absorbed in my plight.
I was expecting them to throw pilchards to me in appreciation for the entertainment.
I remember the searing pain which accompanied putting on my shirt and dragging myself shamefully from the pool area.
Sleep was out, sitting was out, standing was out – nothing was achieved for the next three weeks without the ever present pain.
The only comfort I could get was a few short hours of sleep sitting bolt upright in bed with a handful of pain killers washed down with a scotch.
Putting up the green house, cooking for the camp, helping Kerrie with the workshop stocktaking and the rest of the duties has made life miserable for three weeks.
I’ve also had to endure many replays of the awful experience as the Princess recounts the story in every detail to every person we meet, that is when she can speak clearly through the howls of laughter!