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Reflections September 2013

Agelessly Yours

Encounter with the ‘Wailing Wall’

By Karen White-Walker

All I could envision was the embarrassing headline in the newspaper's obituary column: local semi-elderly nut case dies from shark bite. Footnote to this death notice: There wasn't any shark-infested water and the shark was stone dead.

Indirectly this is a fishing tale. Well, it's not a tale because as outlandish and preposterous as it will sound, it’s absolutely, positively true. Don't think I enjoy exposing such stupidity, but I have to write something readers will identify with. Whoops, that didn't come out at all the way I wanted it to. And to think, people call me a writer and I actually have a following. I just want to convey that we've all been at the wrong place at the wrong time and lucky are we who have survived to even tell about it.

My husband is an avid angler, and while fishing off the shores of Montauk, Long Island, he snagged a shark and, as a testimonial to his fishing expertise, he yanked out the shark's jagged, razor- sharp teeth, mounted them on a weather-beaten oval board, framed it with heavy hemp rope and hung it in our hallway — the big show-off.

But there wouldn't be any more to the story if I wasn't into exercise. One day I removed the hemp rope, swung it over my tired head, then under my sore feet and sang the little ditty:

Cinderella dressed in yeller,
Went upstairs to kiss a feller.
Made a mistake and kissed a snake.
How many doctors will it take?

Doctors – what an omen –  because I hadn't jumped roped in over 50 years, so I became extremely lightheaded and, with my equilibrium so off-kilter, I staggered down the hall like a drunken sailor.

I had a 50 percent chance of falling against the “good” wall, but no, I had to fall against the “killer” wall –  the one with the shark's razor-sharp, hungry teeth. It felt like a million needles invading my temple, and my hands could hold back the gushing blood about as much as one can stifle their laughter when they look into a mirror and see his or her naked chubby body.

A normal person seeing all that blood would have been terrified, but I said normal, so I began laughing like a hyena – maybe a manifestation of nerves. All I could envision was the embarrassing headline in the newspaper's obituary column: local semi-elderly nut case dies from shark bite. Footnote to this death notice: There wasn't any shark-infested water and the shark was stone dead.

There wouldn't be anymore to this story if I hadn't ended up in the emergency room. "Listen doctor," I stammered, "they say in your profession you've seen and heard just about everything, so I shouldn't be embarrassed, right?"

"No more embarrassed than the two lulus who limped in here about a month ago," he grunted. "Their legs were all lacerated, the skin sliced to ribbons. Must confess I couldn't muster up a hell of a lot of compassion after they explained what happened. Seems they had met while ice-skating, so to recapture the magic they went to bed and made love with their skates on. The guy's lucky he still has all his equipment!"

How ridiculous that I, a semi-elderly nut case blushed at that, but the doctor said he found my reaction refreshing.

"Guess I'm lucky I didn't meet my husband ice skating, huh, Doc? I mean, it's unrealistic to try and recapture the magic."

"Forget magic," he barked. "It's a miracle that people can stay alive in their very own homes. That's where most accidents happen, you know."

Suddenly I thought of my four, deeply loved children. Guess real lovemaking is nothing more than an accident waiting to happen, and that's both magic and a miracle!

 

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