Just Ahead of the Backhoe

Posted on January 17, 2013 under Storytelling with 5 comments

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I paid a visit to the pharmacy today to pick up a prescription. It wasn’t for my lingering cold, or a “man cold” as some of my female friends call it. And it wasn’t for back pain. I coughed so frequently over the Christmas holiday that I actually threw my back out. While putting out the garbage this morning, my neighbour relayed a similar incident where he sneezed in his sleep and ended up in a physio clinic. The man beside him had fallen off a roof and was being treated for multiple injuries. My neighbour didn’t have the heart to tell this poor guy how he hurt his back.

Yes, it is complaint season again. The joy of Christmas is a distant memory. The credit card bills have arrived and the day of reckoning is at hand. Every second person you meet on the street has a flu story. They are hacking, coughing, snorting and sneezing.
“Awful flu that’s goin’ around”. “ My bones ache and I wish someone would put me out of my misery”. Now there’s an invitation worth acting on. Did you ever hear so much whining and complaining as you hear in January? There are no holidays. The weather is bitterly cold one day followed by two days of rain and fog. Your bank account is overdrawn. The kids have runny noses. You’ve already thrown the ill advised New Year’s resolutions out the window. The days are short and dark. The work week seems longer than normal.

All of these things crossed my mind during a fleeting exchange at the checkout of the pharmacy. I tendered my money and was having a chat with the clerk and someone checking their lottery tickets. You can add “lottery loser” to the list of complaints. Everyone is philosophical in public. When people ask you how you are, it sounds sincere and profound when you claim that you don’t have a care in the world. In private you know that the guy next to you in the checkout whines and complains as much as you do when he is in the safe confines of his home.

My standard refrain is that I am grateful to be alive or “ on the right side of the sod” as so many people opine. And of course, this was my response to the clerk on this day. Without lifting her head, she chirped in with this gem. “ You mean, you’re just ahead of the backhoe”. Now, I thought I had heard every expression about being alive but confess that this was a new one for me. It reminded me of the summer that I cut grass at the cemetery for $1.00 an hour. The only time that I could legitimately turn off the mower , besides lunch, was when a funeral procession arrived at the cemetery for a burial.

My New Year’s resolution is to try and stay one step ahead of the backhoe. This is one resolution I am hoping to keep until next year’s flu season comes around.

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Highland Hearing Clinic

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