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National Editorials & Columns

Pride goes before a fall (down a staircase) — and what follows

I threw my back out last week. “How?” you are no doubt asking yourself.

Do you want an honest answer, or one I make up?

Because I am a newlywed, my uncle Don Beam supposed my upright affliction related specifically to the inner workings of matrimony. And as a “manly man,” I was happy to let Don Beam continue thinking that sentiment.

But the sad fact of the matter is I injured my back because I oftentimes forget how old of a “manly man” I am. I am 33 years old, and while that is far from being a spring chicken my dashing good looks and baby face even have a way of fooling me from time to time.

Sometimes I need to stop and remind myself that I am not as young as I use to be — and when I forget my pale and frail body has a distinct way of refreshing my recollection.

They say the worst form of impotence is a man with a bad back. Actually, nobody says that. I just made that up because I thought it sounded pretty intellectual. But there isn’t much use for a man if he can’t even stand, unless his initials are FDR.

Truth be told, I am in relatively good health, so how this travesty against gravity occurred is beyond even my grasp of reality. As far as I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with my spinal column, except that it’s attached in some manner to my brain.

Ever since I refinished my hardwood floors, there has been nothing I relish more than counting the number of times I can twirl myself around in circles in my socks. Sometimes I slide across the wood in my socks like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business,” but my awkward delivery leaves much to be desired.

That’s not how I threw out my back though. Close, but not quite.

I threw my back out while running up my bare wooden staircase and trying to incorporate the aforementioned twirl.

And please don’t bother pointing out how embarrassing all of this is. I’m already well aware of that.

See, I’m not a patient individual. When I negotiate any set of stairs, especially ones I own, I do so with amazing speed, vigorous grace and unrivaled impatience.

Since the tender age of 4, I have been using staircases inappropriately. I always go up the stairs double-step style. In other words, I skip every other step. It just seems more productive that way, plus it saves time. Why go up the stairs one step at a time when you can go two? Always have, always will.

Until last Sunday, that is.

I was running up the stairs as usual and when I reached the landing I performed what a ballet dancer would call a “girlish twist.” Then I proceeded to turn at a 90-degree angle and with that momentum continued traversing upward toward the bedroom.

That’s when it happened. I tweaked something. My body went limp as a sharp pain jolted up my spine. It felt like I was struck in the back with a sledgehammer. (Sorry, I realize that’s a very unoriginal metaphor, but I’m still in great pain at the moment and it hurts to type.)

I crashed onto the floor, wincing in pain and called out for my wife.

At the time Christine was in the shower, mere feet from my disabled and dysfunctionally prone body. I yelled, I screamed, and I even shrieked like a girl but Christine refused to come to my rescue.

And I can hardly blame her. On any given day I delight myself by playing mischievous tricks on my wife. Some of the time I fool her by acting like I am asleep. Other times I act like I fall down and hurt myself.

So it came as no surprise that initially Christine believed my claim was disingenuous given my history of falsely crying wolf. After much pleading I managed to eventually convince her I really did hurt myself.

Although not nearly as much as I hurt my pride.

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