Monday, May 24, 2010

The Silver Shuttlecock

Did you ever stub your toe while getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night? That's happened to me one too many times, and the other night, I think I broke my middle toe on my right foot. I hit the doorjamb to the bathroom and it really hurts and I'm limping like Walter Brennan on the Real McCoys. For some people this wouldn't be such a terrible injury, but for me it's critical as there are many picnics coming up and a broken toe will throw off my balance in several of the contests that go along with picnicking, especially the badminton tournament. I should have won it last year, but the oh-so-celebrated Lydia Leiderquist edged me out because a bug flew in my eye on the last point. She laughed and said I should carry a can of bug spray with me as she sashayed off the court with the much-coveted Silver Shuttlecock trophy.

Lydia's flippant laughter has echoed through my mind for an entire year. I often hear the sound of her voice mocking me as I go to sleep, and I've vowed to win the Silver Shuttlecock back at all costs. I saw her at Happy Foods around Christmas, and she brushed by me in the aisle and remarked how lovely the badminton trophy looked on her mantle. Then she pointed to the bug spray which happened to be stacked on the shelves near where we were standing. I mentioned that the stuff she was highlighting, with a Vanna White-like sweep of her arm, was for indoor bugs, and she said, "Who knows, maybe that bug flew out of your pants."

The big picnic is a few weeks away, and I'm doing everything possible to hasten the healing of my toe, including taking extra vitamins and placing my foot on a stool while watching television. I'm taking extra measures to protect my toe from being stepped on or bumped, even wrapping my right shoe with yellow caution tape when going to crowded places so as to alert the public to my precarious condition; I can't take any chances. And wouldn't you know it, who do I bump into at The Fudge Barn: Lydia Leiderquist, who took one look at my caution-taped shoe and asked why I wasn't wearing an orange safety vest and carrying a road flare. She's very smart-alecky and a constant reminder that I must walk away with that badminton trophy this year.

Perhaps the biggest cautionary step I've taken is to prevent a recurrence of the injury during the night. I get up once, sometimes twice, in total darkness, to use the bathroom and when doing so I'm half asleep. It's highly likely I'll re-injure my toe unless drastic measures are taken. So I've started wearing a sturdy pair of protective shoes to bed. I've been sleeping in socks for years, so this is just the next step. The shoes are clean and have passed a kick test against the bathroom doorjamb. They are good sturdy brogans I bought for a wedding years ago and haven't worn since. The soles are thick and the laces strong, and while the look is not fashionable, they do the job. They work as intended, like the armor a hockey goalie would require while doing his job and are not moccasins or other such house shoes where the possibility of them slipping off under the covers would render the night sleepless. In consideration of my wife's aesthetic senses, I make an extra effort to wear socks that compliment the shoes.

However, there is one problem. My lovely wife complains that every once in awhile I accidentally kick her in the middle of the night. These aren't hard kicks, and god knows she's endured many unintentional sock-footed kicks through the years, but the shoe-kicks have made her intensely question the need for my precautionary bedtime footwear. I wasn't sure of what to do. At first, asking her to wear shin guards seemed out of the question, but the more I thought about it, the more reasonable and considerate it seemed. So I bought a pair of shin guards for her (genuine little league issue) which should solve the problem. Oftentimes, a practical gift, no matter how thoughtful, comes alive with the presentation, so I'm going to have them gift-wrapped at the Party Store and tie a couple of fancy helium-filled balloons to the package.

I've already picked out a nice card and composed the following note: If Lydia wasn't so smart-alecky, none of this would be necessary.
With love, your thoughtful husband.