'Sock Putting On' not an AAU sanctioned event
January 09, 2008
Let me explain right now, I'm beginning to feel the wear and tear of years afield. You know, like the time I tripped over a stump as I chased a pheasant, or fell in a hole as I attempted to stalk a whitetail.
One of the compensations of getting older (and I can only think of a couple) is that it forces you to replace the athletic skills you have lost with new interesting ones. For example, you learn the challenging art of putting on your socks and tying your shoes. Sock putting on and shoe tying are not AAU events, at least not yet.
"Now what are you doing?" my wife snarls as she looks up over the covers of bed early the other morning.
"Just putting on my socks," I whisper back to her.
"Well, it sounds like you're moving furniture. Can you let me get some rest without making so much noise?" she scolds.
When a man with an excess of midsection—such as myself—bends to put on his socks or tie his shoes, his reach is obstructed severely. He may even, if he's not careful, cut off his wind and find blood rushing to his head. It is a dangerous part of getting dressed.
This morning, I was feeling the effects of aging with all its aches and pains. Catching a glimpse of myself in the act of sock putting on was and wasn't funny all at the same time.
In a way, it reminded me of a Sumo wrestler preparing for a match, lifting one leg then the other, before it comes crashing down with a grunt. As I said, it was funny and not funny all at the same time, if you get what I mean.
Without a chair to rest my foot on this particular morning, putting on socks is participating in an event that requires split-second timing, hopping from one foot to the other, nearly falling down.
I do have a plan for mornings like this one, when the aging gods decide to be entertained. First I raise my leg as high as I can, and then for the second or two that my foot is quivering at its peak, I quickly bring the sock down over the toes. When my foot hits the floor, I finish pulling up the sock.
It's an interesting spectacle, although I wouldn't recommend it.
This time my wife throws back the covers and shouts, "For crying out loud, are you okay?"
"Yeah, halfway there," I tell her.
Since we are on the subject, another bit of comedy can be had from the acrobatics of a man my size buttoning his dress shirt. It too, is not an AAU sanctioned event yet.
Because my neck has kept pace with the rest of me, the top button prefers not to make the trip all the way to the buttonhole.
In a determined and gritty effort to close the top button, I've learned to lift my chin, and then begin to turn and bob my head. I call it my choke move.
Six or seven times I bring the button to the hole and manage to get it halfway in while making a variety of gurgling sounds. I'm generally light-headed by now, from a combination of air flow and holding my breath in some insane notion that it will make my neck smaller.
Eventually, of course, the acrobatics end and I'm ready for the day ahead.
So if you notice someday I'm wearing a t-shirt and no socks, I'm not a throwback to the Miami Vice TV show, I'm just in training for a new AAU sanctioned event, my specialty, 'Sock Putting On.'