This is yet another one of those weeks where I had very different plans for the column. But then something happened yesterday that changed everything. There are certain stories that don’t necessarily need to be shared and probably shouldn’t. Stories that most normal people would keep to themselves and hope that no one else ever finds out. Well I am neither normal, nor have I ever been one to deny people a chuckle, especially when it’s at my own expense. This is such a story, enjoy.

Ever since I turned 40, both my body and mind have been giving me daily, constant reminders that not only am I aging, but that I’m not doing it well. Many of these signs I wasn’t expecting for at least another decade. It could be that I’m just an overachiever, or it could be that I spent a large portion of my my life treating my body more like an amusement park than a temple. Whatever the reason, I now find myself in many ways aging in dog years. Before I get into what happened yesterday, I’m going to give you several examples of what I mean about my post-40 life.

I made it most of my life without needing ear hair, but suddenly I find it growing at the rate of bamboo stalks. I have to maintain this follicular foliage at least twice a week or it will look like I have Disney World like topiaries on either side of my head. This wouldn’t be quite so bad except for the fact that the Princess Leia look is not a good fit for a 45-year-old man. I’m also afraid of walking too close to open flames, and I’ve had to fend off near sighted pandas on more than one occasion.

Keeping with the hair theme, I now find rogue hairs popping up on parts of my body that never had hair. This happens with no rhyme or reason, and sometimes overnight. I’ll wake some mornings to find that while I slept, a troupe of sadistic fairies have drilled 4-inch strands of black and white hairs into random spots on my back. I can’t see these, but my family has absolutely no shame or reticence in pointing them out to me. My 10-year-old has made a game out of plucking them for me. Sometimes, just for fun, when she yanks one I’ll throw an arm in the air or bark like a dog and say to her; “What did you do?!”

Thirty-plus years of working in the restaurant and bar business, and being on my feet anywhere from 8 to 20 hours a day has taken its toll as well. I have varicose veins that make my lower extremities look like a pair of relief maps of the Himalayas.

I require reading glasses now and actually purchase them by the six pack. Sometimes when I’m carding people over the bar I realize that evidently my arms have gotten shorter as well.

The section of my wallet that once housed nothing but courtesy and VIP cards for all of the local bars and nightclubs is now occupied by business cards from various doctors with a laundry list of specializations.

I have body parts that can predict the weather better than any seasoned veteran meteorologist. I often walk with a limp and don’t even notice it until someone calls attention to it. I can’t pick anything thing up from below waist level without making an involuntary, audible grunt sound. And the worst part of everyday for me is when I have to put on my own socks.

The top shelf of my medicine cabinet now looks like the jelly bean section of a candy store encased in a platoon of tiny cylindrical amber colored soldiers with white helmets on. My morning regimen entails me opening several child proof caps and eating a fistful of what appears to be Skittles and washing them down with a fiber supplement stirred into my coffee.

I can’t go anywhere that doesn’t have a bathroom within 100 yards of its’ proximity. I can’t travel from one room to the next without forgetting why I’m there. My wife sent me to the grocery store the other day which is less than a mile from my house. I had to get four things, and she wrote a list for me. I got halfway to the store and she texted me the list again in case I forgot which pocket I put it in.

I sit down to pee every time now. This is primarily because I live in a house full of females and I pick my battles. But it’s partially because I’m never 100 percent sure what’s going to happen.

There are countless more examples, but I think that’s enough to set up this segment. So now I’ll tell you what happened yesterday.

In recent weeks, my wife and I have converted the guest room on the second floor into a bedroom for our 3-year old and 4-year old. This was primarily to prepare for our baby that will be arriving sometime in the next four weeks. But our pair of mischievous toddlers love sharing a room together and now spend much of their time on the second floor. We also realized that we no longer require a guest room because we have so many children that who the hell would want to come visit us, let alone stay overnight.

And now, yesterday. My wife was at her doctor’s appointment which are now weekly since we are in the home stretch preparing for the 2015 model of our spawn. My three precious angels were on the second floor playing unusually peacefully together. I decided to take advantage of this rare scenario to get some of my domestic duties done. I started a load of laundry, did the dishes, and started traversing the first floor picking up toys from the floor. Any veteran parent will confirm that waking from a dead sleep in the middle of the night, running barefoot in pitch darkness through the house to get to a sick or crying child is treacherous. You’ll step on a plethora of inverted Lego pieces, naked Barbies, hair matted My Little Ponies, and a host of other dangerous obstacles. If you arrive at your troubled child without bleeding feet it’s a miracle. You’re like a blind kangaroo navigating a minefield.

I bent over from the waist to pick up a stuffed animal. Just as I made contact with the furry purple hippo, I farted. I didn’t see, hear, or feel it coming. I immediately felt as if I had been stabbed in my lower back with a Samurai sword. I dropped to all fours on the living room floor in excruciating pain. I wasn’t sure what had just happened, but I thought I was dying. It was among the top three worst pain levels I’d ever experienced. I stayed in that position for several minutes. Given the timing and coincidence of events, I actually looked behind me on the carpet to ensure that none of my internal organs had escaped. The way it felt, I was genuinely concerned that my colon had exited through the service bay.

I’ve missed 4 days of work in 32 years, and yet, I was seriously contemplating calling out of my shift tonight. Then I started thinking of how that conversation might go. I knew that if I said it was a mishap at the gym they’d know I was lying since the last time I was in a gym was during the Reagan administration. And I refused to divulge that I sustained a serious injury during a flatulence incident. There was absolutely no way that I was going to tell my boss and coworkers that I had just completely thrown out my back with a huge fart.

After several minutes, I was able to climb to my feet. I had to suck it up and power through the pain. I managed to get to work and lumber through my shift despite how much pain I was in. So if you happened to be in the bar last night and saw me gimping about and grimacing with agony, now you know why. I was the tragic victim of the aftershock from my own ass blast.

Thanks for playing along. Until next week, Syd Nichols
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