It was a sunny and warm New England Sunday in October, warm enough for summer running gear. After poking my head out the front door at about 9:10 AM and figuring that the general population was either eating breakfast at some homespun restaurant or sitting in a church in some quaint country village, I decided to go for a run. The world was at peace.
My mind was on the previous night. Appearing as Bottom from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” I had participated in a presentation of some of the play’s scenes before a charity auction. At one point, my character was trying to convince a director that he could play a woman. The director watches my impromptu audition and declines. The lines where I spoke in a high-pitched voice were a problem for me. The challenges of playing a woman were going through my mind as I ran. My feet were developing problems also. But I was too busy to notice. At one point my left foot got caught in a large shoelace loop on my right shoe. I crash landed.
After a fall, I usually jump up as quickly as possible because I figure someone somewhere is laughing at my misfortune. This time though, I rolled into a sitting position and started rubbing my scraped knee. My imagination went back to an earlier time. I remembered when a female Olympic skater was assaulted by a rival’s hired stooge. The bizarre assault took place before a live television audience and caused the usual media frenzy.
Remembering the skater’s anguish, I suddenly blurted out ”Why me? Why me? ”
Delivering these words with proper Shakespearian authority, I realized I could play a woman. It was a positively ludicrous performance and I sighed deeply.
“Can I help you?”
I turned around upon hearing an unfamiliar voice.
“No, I’m fine,” I said to the caring motorist.
The Good Samaritan motored on. I got up and decided not to grace the world with my acting talents for the rest of my run.
About one mile later, I came to the top of a hill. Bicyclists, out in force, were traveling down the hill. Watching them enjoy the hill, I was unaware that I had a recurring shoelace problem. My left foot slipped into the large loop on my right shoe and I headed once again for the pavement. Declining to perform this time, I sat and concentrated on fixing my shoelaces.
A lady stopped, “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” replied I, unaware of the blood that was appearing from under my running shorts.
“Let me have a look at your wound.”
“No way,” says I, noticing the blood beneath me.
“It’s okay, I’m a nurse.”
“Well, I’m not, and I don’t bare my backside in public unless it’s for a proper humanitarian cause.”
Stopping his bike a man said, “I think we better have a look.”
This crowd was getting too caring for my taste, so I darted off into the woods. I was starting to enjoy myself as I ran down a path. Reaching runner’s high, I could run forever. A brook appeared before me. I decided to leap over this obstacle. I positioned myself without noticing a stick that was entangled in my shoelaces. I tripped and fell in the brook.
At least the water washed off some of the blood. I pulled myself forward and placed my head in my left hand and just let the water soak my battered body.
“Sir, are you all right?” I hear from above.
An old gentleman holding some yard tool was looking down at me.
“Shouldn’t you be in church?”
I dragged my beaten, lacerated body out of the brook and headed home.
I set foot on the family estate, overwhelmed by the compassion that can only be found on Sunday morning. Upon entering the house, I could see my wife on the computer playing solitaire. Daughter number two was on the couch reading her phone. I heard the shower running so I figured daughter number one was in there. The family dog, lying next to my wife, did manage to lift her head but seeing no crumbs being dropped went back to sleep.
I dragged my carcass around the corner into the kitchen, grabbed a couple of cheese Danish from the counter figuring they might plug the holes from the inside and headed down cellar, wounded, unnoticed and glad to be home