My Aches and Pains

1531756184Uff da…

It is how Minnesotans express bafflement, surprise or dismay.

It is what we say when life hauls off and boots us in the rear. In those instances, it roughly translates to ‘ouch’.

It is also what we say when life hauls off and boots someone else in the rear, then it loosely translates to ‘glad it wasn’t me’.

But this morning it was me.

I could hardly get out of bed. It felt like I had been hit by a cattle truck then the cattle got out and trampled me. Maybe that is what happened. Every muscle said so. Every joint joined the choir that backed them up, but my brain disagreed. It claimed the truck was hauling concrete.

What did I do to deserve this?

Granted, I have done many, many things to earn pain, some foolish, others not.

When I did stupid things, pain always showed up with his buddy, humiliation and the two left together. Other times, after pain took his leave, reward came sauntering slowly behind.

The last time I hurt this bad, I had just started working in a steel foundry. A ten hour shift of shoveling sand will do that to you. But after a while, I didn’t hurt as much and I soon discovered more strength than I thought possible.

It seems every time I tried something new like that, something new hurt and every time I tried to do more than I had been doing, it hurt more.

But then came the rewards.

So in that sense pain was a good thing. A sign of progress. The only thing that really hurt, was hurting without a sense of progress. That was discouraging.

And discouragement hurts the worst of all.

It took years to work up the strength up to run a marathon and it took years to learn to write with some degree of confidence – but there was always the distant promise of the reward to keep me going.

But today, I had to ask, what did I do to earn such pain and what could I expect as a reward for not being able to get out of bed?

The answer was discouraging.

I had done nothing to earn anguish and therefore had no hope of future gain.

It just plain hurt.

More than anything, it is the downside of aging. When you are young, you hurt to gain, when you are old, you hurt to lose.

Uff da…

“What’s the matter with you?” my wife asked.

“I hurt,” I told her.

“I have absolutely no sympathy,” she replied.

That hurt even more. After all the pain of putting up with her, the least I could expect was a bit of sympathy.

“How much did you drink at The Pit last night.”

“I only had my usual two pints,” I told her.

“Well,” she said, “maybe your age is telling you that two pints is more than you can handle.”

Uff-dah.

Now that REALLY hurt.