I am not an athlete.
I fall down a lot.
My hands and eyes do not speak to each other, much less coordinate.
My life has been shaped by a free-floating fear of balls of all shapes and sizes. Today I might be a wealthy partner at an important law firm were it not for the fact that early in my career there I burst into tears when a senior partner insisted I play on the firm softball team. Trust me -- that's what's known in the legal world as a career-limiting gesture.
Yet strangely, it turns out that John Smoltz and I have something in common -- at least enough that if we ever find ourselves next to each other at a cocktail party, we will have something to talk about besides the weather.
Who is John Smoltz, you ask? What does he do? Here is a picture to help you out.
As you can see, Mr. Smoltz throws balls. (Just typing those words scares me.) Apparently, he has done this very, very well for a long, long time.
His shoulder is not happy about this. It's so unhappy, in fact, that Mr. Smoltz announced last week that tomorrow he will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder to figure out just why it is so pissed that it is making noises about ending his career.
Which brings me to our connection.
Some of you may recall that a couple of posts back I said I'd be having surgery on my own shoulder on June 5. That didn't happen, because on June 2, I finally saw the highly touted Rock Star surgeon, and decided he was The One. This was in no small part because Rock Star and the more senior physicians in his practice have become the orthopods of choice to people who tear up their knees, elbows, and shoulders the old-fashioned way -- by using them to earn millions of dollars as professional athletes.
Like John Smoltz.
Mr. Smoltz and I do not actually have the same surgeon, but we will sit in the same waiting room (although when i think about it, he probably doesn't have to wait long) and stand in front of the same X-ray machine and perhaps even lie upon the same examining table.
This is as close as I will ever come to athletic greatness.
Meanwhile, I am thinking of proposing to Rock Star that his practice get some new photographs for their examining rooms. Like the other orthopedic surgeons I've visited, Rock Star's rooms are decorated with photos of famous athletes. While I waited for Rock Star (who looks so young that I swear his Mom has to drive him to work each morning), I counted at least seven pitchers in mid-hurl (I was so afraid I was cowering on the floor). I have no doubt that once Mr. Smoltz's shoulder is healed, he will autograph an 11 x 14 of himself, which Rock Star's mom will have framed and which he and his colleagues will hang with pride in their lobby.
Frankly, this concerns me. "Do you ever operate on Regular People, or only professional athletes?" I asked Rock Star.
"Actually, the athletes are a minority," he said. "Most of the people I operate on are like you."
Well, if that's the case, Rock Star and Company need some new photos. I have some suggestions.
Since I tore up my shoulder by being clumsy, what about this:
(Work with me, people. Google assures me this is a photo of a person who's fallen forward. Since I tend to do this a lot, perhaps next time I could have myself photographed in mid-fall, autograph it, and present it to Rock Star as a token of my appreciation.)
Since I can't get my jacket on without help, how about this:
Ironing is not as enjoyable as it used to be, so he might also try this:
And it's nearly impossible to blow-dry your hair with a bum shoulder, so how about this?
(The fact that this woman is smiling proves that she does not have shoulder issues.)
And since my shoulder makes it completely impossible to show affection to anyone on my left, I'd also suggest this one:
I'll be thinking of Mr. Smoltz tomorrow. From what I hear, the week he's got in front of him will not be pleasant. Hell ... the summer he's got in front of him won't be much fun, either.
Which is why I've postponed my surgery until after we go to the beach in July. After all, here's another thing you can't do with a bum shoulder:
And every summer needs a little fun.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I am not an athlete.