"Writing humour for a newspaper is like telling jokes on the radio. You're never really sure if anybody's laughing." - Chris McKerracher

A Tribute To a Neighbour:
Crutch Racing, 2008

For the startling number of people who have written to me asking about my progress with my hip replacement adventure (if, indeed zero is truly a number) I have an update. As frequent fliers of this column (Someone? Anyone?) may recall, prior to me getting into hip op, I was a cane jockey for quite a few months. It sucked more than a 110 volt Electrolux on a 220 circuit. Post-surgery, however, was a whole new ball game. Finally I could cast aside that offending artificial appendage and free myself from the yoke of that infernal cane. Unfortunately, I had to exchange it for a pair crutches and a walker. A walker! At the tender age of 47! I ardently thanked the Appropriate Party that it was merely a temporary measure. Soon I could be running marathons, busting flashy moves at dance clubs, even mountain climbing! Of course I won't actually be doing those things, it's just a comfort knowing I could if I wanted.

Going out in public sporting a set of crutches is certainly a different experience than with the loathsome cane. With it, people looked  at me with eyes of haunting pity. Not so with crutches. They're not thinking feeble invalid, they're thinking klutzy extreme sport enthusiast; a heli-skier who didn't quite outrun the avalanche, for example.
“What did you do to yourself now?” they ask. “You weren't white-water log rolling again, were you?”
Of course at this juncture I have to respond with the truth; that I broke my leg during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If I mention I had my hip replaced, I inevitably get “But you're so young!”  like I'm some kind of middle-aged prodigy or something and it weirds me out.

Because of scornful attitudes prevalent towards the Crutch Brigade, they get less respect than Rodney Dangerfield would have had with an audience of bitter ex-wives. This fact was brought home last week during an encounter with my neighbor, Earle.
Now, Earle is quite a guy. He's 88 although he doesn't look a day over, oh, 87. He's lived in town for most of his life and claims to  have been a resident longer than anyone else, a title I also aspire to. How's that for lofty ambitions?
One of Earle's habits is that every day, as regular as a high-fiber diet enthusiast, he ventures forth with his rubber-tired four-wheeled walker, despite the fact that he doesn't see too well anymore . One morning, I decided to try the marathon walk up to main street for breakfast, a daunting distance of almost three whole blocks. I happened to meet Earle at the mouth of my driveway. We exchanged pleasantries and weather information as per usual.
“So, you're going to try and make it uptown with those crutches?” he asked casually. “You know you'd be better off with one of these walkers.”
With that he took off like he had jet fuel for breakfast, leaving me in the dusting of snow we had that morning. Recognizing the challenge implicit in his words, I gamely made after him, almost losing control on the icy sidewalk. Still, I refused to concede the race to a man forty years my senior.
My legs throbbed and my armpits chafed from the crutches as I gamely, grimly pursued him. It wasn't even close. If  we were Formula One cars, Earle would have been lapping me. I half expected to see his pit crew leap from the bushes ready to change his walker wheels. He bested me so badly, I knew I'd be the laughing stock in the coffee shop for days.

The Lamest Race Ever


Kind of a Drag...

 "I'm writing a book.
I've got the page numbers done."

Steven Wright

"Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth."    --Victor Borge

Slowly I turned around and headed back home, my tail between my crutches. My appetite for a hearty breakfast lost to a heaping helping of humble pie. At least my humiliation was over if I avoided the cafe for a week or two.

Or so I thought, until I reached the sidewalk in front of my other neighbor, Cameron. As I lurched past his sun-room, I could hear the window slide open.

“Hey, Chris!” he called in his noticeable Maritime accent with a slight whiff of mischief always present. “I saw that! Earle kicked your butt! HAHAHAHAHA.

Cam began chanting like some kind of twisted European soccer hooligan gearing up for a riot.“Earle kicked your butt! Earle kicked your butt!”

I stoically crutched my way to my yard, my nose in air, trying to regain the last of my rapidly evaporating dignity. I was certain even Cam, as disgustingly fit as he is, would lose to the speedy octogenarian if he matched Earle's four wheels against an extra set of legs as I had. Horses may find four on the floor work for them, but for me, additional legs get in the way more than a herd of buffalo in the living room when you're watching TV. Having legs attached to your armpits may be the issue.

Back home I licked the wounds to my psyche, until Cupcake threatened to put a plastic dog cone around my neck. She pointed out that the crutches were just one short stopover on my journey to recovery and it beat being house-bound as I have been.

“You're right, Hon.” I was visibly cheered. “I'm going to work hard on my exercises and when I chuck these crutches, Earle and I are going to have a little rematch.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think I heard her mumble, “I've got five bucks on Earle.”














































































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