One small step for man, one giant step ... back


I love summer.

I love sitting outside with friends and picking crabs and drinking cold beer on a hot day, or taking off camping for a few days and sitting by a campfire at night telling stories or simply enjoying the near-hypnotic vision of the embers glowing in the dark as the fire begins to die down. I love walking the dogs around the neighborhood at 9 p.m. and still having a little sunlight as we come to the end of our day together, and I love standing next to the grill with sunglasses on and flipping burgers and hot dogs while I hear kids playing the same game outside that we did as kids many years ago.

What I don’t love, besides the obvious and annoying complaints about traffic, is being confined to a couch for a major chunk of summer because I cannot manage to navigate my way from my bed to my bathroom in the middle of the night.

Perhaps I should go back and explain that last statement.

As is my standard practice, particularly since my 40th birthday, I got up from bed one night last week to use the bathroom. This is typically a fairly benign procedure, as I just follow the normal one-foot-in-front-of-the-other technique to transport myself from Point A to Point B, and it’s usually uneventful.

However, this time my balky knee proceeded to give out on me, I lost my balance, the heel of my foot landed on a quarter and I suddenly found myself in a battle against gravity that I learned very quickly was one I was unsufficiently prepared to take on at that specific time. There was almost a sense of peace as that reality dawned on me, and I remember things getting very quiet as my nose began its descent straight toward the linoleum bathroom floor.

Luckily, I was able to avoid the face-plant on the hard floor with a shift of my body weight. Unluckily, that body weight shifted somewhere else, and it all crumbled on top of my right foot, bending it into something more resembling a horseshoe than something a human being is supposed to walk on under ideal circumstances.

I broke my foot, and with that, also much of my summer.

Of course, I didn’t know for sure it was broken right away. The pain told me it was, but I’ve been fooled before, as those injuries ended up being a sprain or a bone bruise or just a nasty “ouchie” that made me want to shed a few tears and collapse into my mother’s arms.

I wish I could say that took place when I was a child, but it actually just happened a few months ago when I got a paper cut in my mother’s kitchen and felt the blinding pain course through my ...

But I digress.

The next morning I woke up and the pain was not as severe, so I got ready and hobbled into work, amusing our quite-evil advertising representative Susan Mutz with my painful steps, and annoying pretty much everyone else at the office since I couldn’t do anything by myself. As the day wore on, my foot hurt more and more, and the next morning I woke up to see what looked like an eggplant with toes attached to my ankle.

That led me to the Millville walk-in clinic, which led me to get X-rays, which led me to going to Lewes to get a cast put on my foot for the next month, which led me to believing the bulk of my summer enjoyment this year would be catching up on old episodes of “Saving Grace” on Netflix and seeing how far my “reaching stick” will, in fact, reach.

Do I know how to party, or what?

Basically, a big chunk of my summer has fallen apart more quickly than a foot with a fat bald man falling on top of it. But the more I think about it, the more I realize I still can do, even in my lessened state.

For instance, I am grateful I can still work, even if it means my co-workers are having to do more than normal to make up for my obvious shortcomings. I can still spend just as much time at the ocean as every summer (none) and just as much time jogging (again, none). I can’t play cornhole for a month, but it’s not like that will really hamper my skill much, so there’s that. Well, back to “Saving Grace.” It’s getting good now.