Newspaper Flavor Tingle
By PM Smith AKA Phyllis Patterson
I pad barefoot across the bathroom floor. My eyes are filled with soap and I do not see
the puddle of water standing in my path on the tile floor. The fall hurts—or should I say
the landing hurts. It hurts a lot. After I utilize all of the curse words in my repertoire, I
lie on the cold floor waiting for the pain to subside enough to try and stand. My eyes are
watering and I cannot be certain whether it is still from the sting of the soap or tears of
My backside tingles and I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I
mean, what does a broken hip feel like? I have never broken any bones before so I am
clueless. Suddenly, the commercial of the old woman lying on the floor crying, “I have
fallen and I can’t get up!” pops into my mind. “Oh no!” I whisper. “I am that old woman
on the floor.” This painful thought abates the real pain slightly, but when I try to move
the real pain strikes once again, so I remain prone.
My next thought is to imagine the headlines of the local newspaper. “Elderly Woman
Found Dead on Bathroom Floor—Naked!”
When did I become an elderly woman? I didn’t feel elderly this morning when I
finished working in my garden. I didn’t feel elderly as I savored the wonderful flavor of
the expensive coffee; a delightful surprise gift from my children. I didn’t feel elderly as I
stripped off the soiled garden clothing and stepped into the shower. Oh, now I know the
exact moment when I became elderly—it was when I fell and couldn’t get up. “Wow!” I
think. “That’s how quick it happens.”
This realization sparks something and I feel anger rise in my chest. “I am not
elderly—yet!” I say firmly.
I take a deep breath and summon my reserve strength. I roll around until I manage to
sit up. “Boy my butt hurts!” I say between teeth clinched in pain.
After a moment or two to regroup, I wipe the sweat from the effort off my face with
the toilet tissue, which is thankfully, near enough to reach.
“Okay, old girl.” I say to myself. “Let’s see what you are made of?”
I hear a scream and am a little surprised to realize that it is coming from me. I feel
dizzy from the pain, but this is overcome by my excitement that I am now standing.
“Now what?” I ask myself—I am now having an ongoing conversation with myself
and add. “Why don’t you try to take a step?” I answer. “I am not sure that is such a good
idea, just yet.” My brave self is becoming a little miffed at my cowardly self and I speak
firmly. “Take the step, dammit!” “Okay, Okay!” I say and I push my foot forward. “Ow,
Ow, Ow!” comes out of my mouth from not only the cowardly self but also the brave
self. I slide the other foot forward, cursing, but find the pain easing. When I make it to the
bathroom door I congratulate my entire self for the accomplishment.
I must sit on a pillow for several days, but the x-ray shows nothing broken. I am so
happy that I don’t have to be elderly—just yet.