Tracy Beckerman column: Back in the saddle
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
It used to be that my biggest bathroom issue was sitting down and realizing there was no toilet paper. Or that the toilet paper was hung under instead of over. It certainly wasn’t that I might end on the floor with a midlife-induced, toilet-paper-related, back injury.
It’s not like the toilet paper was halfway across the room or necessitated some kind of Simone Biles-style gymnastic move like a front handspring, Arabian flip, with a half twist tear-a-square dismount. No, the toilet paper was hung directly next to the toilet. The only issue was it was hung on the left and I am a righty, so I had to turn ever-so-barely, ever-so-slightly to grab it with my right hand.
And that’s when it happened.
I felt a pull and a twinge in my back and the next thing I knew, I couldn’t stand up to finish the job.
Now, it’s one thing to throw out your back in an impressive way, like lifting a car off a trapped child or hurling yourself into the air in Pamplona to avoid getting gored by a running bull. But when you throw your back out reaching for toilet paper, it’s not something you really want to advertise.
And yet, here I am.
I should mention that I used to have back issues when I was younger and I was lugging kids around on my hip all the time. But I haven’t had a problem in a dozen years, so this really threw me, in more ways than one. Still, I wasn’t thinking about that when I found myself locked in the sitting position in a great deal of pain. My primary thought was, “OW!” My secondary thought was, “How the heck do I get up?”
Since my husband wasn’t home, I started to wonder if I would be stuck in this position until he got back at the end of the day or if I was going to have to suck it up and called 911 so a bunch of hunky firemen could arrive, bust down my bathroom door, and carry me off the toilet.
The husband option looked like it would probably be a better choice.
Still, there was one other person in the house who could help me. Well, not a person. A canine. I thought, if Lassie could rescue Timmy from a well, couldn’t Monty rescue me from the toilet?
I whistled for the dog and he dutifully came trotting into the bathroom, thinking, perhaps, there might somehow be a treat in it for him. I wasn’t sure how to enlist his help, since his vocabulary of commands consisted of “sit,” “come,” and “stay,” and did not include, “help mommy get off the toilet.” As he sat there waiting patiently, I silently cursed myself for not having the foresight to include this command in his training.
Then it hit me, maybe I could make it a game. The one thing he really liked to play was tug of war. And this dog had such a firm bite, he usually won. So, I grabbed a nearby hand towel and gave one end to the dog and held the other end in my hands. I pulled on it ever so slightly and the dog pulled back. I pulled harder and then he pulled in his direction backing up to get better traction. As he backed up and I held on, he pulled me into a standing position.
“Monty!” I yelled. “You did it! You saved me! You’re such a good boy.” I grabbed onto the shower ledge for support and continued to praise the dog.
He wagged his tag furiously and walked toward me. Then he walked around me to the toilet paper, and just to show me up, he grabbed a square.
And then he ate it.
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