by Bill Monson



I fell into the bathtub the other day. Not in – because I wasn’t in the tub when I started and I was also fully clothed.

You see, one of our two bathrooms was invaded by ants. Apparently, some explorers had discovered a new gargle my wife was using; and the whole colony came running to the sink where she spat it out in order to give it a try. It put them on such a high that they went marching around the walls just below the ceiling.

When I saw this, I immediately grabbed the ant spray and went into action. The sink was no problem; but unfortunately, the spray didn’t reach high enough up the walls to reach the ants there.

So – I climbed up on the lid of the toilet seat and put one foot on the flat rim of the tub and started dealing damnation to our unwelcome guests.

But – I was wearing bedroom slippers and the tub rim was slick with spray – and the toilet seat was a little loose – and suddenly I was sliding in two directions and falling in a third.

I managed to turn as I fell so I took the impact mostly in buttocks and shoulders – but I pulled a towel rack out of the wall, knocked my wife’s potted plant into the tub with me, lost a slipper, and somehow turned on the cold water.

I wound up sitting crossways in the tub, one leg under me, the other outside, my back against the far side of the tub, and cold water running up my keister.

For a minute, I didn’t move. My wife rushed in and anxiously asked, "Are you all right?"

I replied, "I’m still taking inventory."

Nothing grated, grinded or felt broken. I hadn’t banged my head or dislodged the new lens recently implanted in my left eye. Nothing particularly hurt – yet – so I asked my wife to turn off the water and help me get out and dry out.


How you respond to this narrative so far says a lot about your age and your sense of humor.

If you’re under 16, it probably seems hilarious. (There’s a lot of this type stuff in teenage movies these days.) The older you are over 16, the less funny it gets. Those above 60 probably started muttering when I climbed up on the toilet seat lid. "The idiot is asking for it," they were thinking. When "it" happened, they were torn between sympathy and "I told you so."

Any kind of fall over 50 is not funny. I’ve had my share – including some where I should have broken something. But I learned in my teens how to take a fall, and it has served me well.

By contrast, my wife never studied falling – but she’s survived some doozies herself – because of luck, she thinks, or a guardian angel maybe. Ironically, just three hours before my pratfall into the tub, she tripped over her golf bag and went over backward in our driveway. We both came out with bruised butts and egos, but thanks to our physical condition (she does water aerobics and I do ax handle tai chi) we escaped the broken bones our age is heir to.

Is there a moral here? Well, maybe. One is: keep yourself in good condition. Exercise. Walk, stretch, flex. Watch your diet so your bones don’t get brittle and your center of gravity doesn’t get too wide. Dancing is good. Swimming is better. You don’t have to pump iron or use a stair—climbing machine. The point is muscle tone, not muscle mass.

Sooner or later – particularly where there’s winter ice and snow – we’ll all take a tumble. It’s wise to be fit – especially if you do dumb things like stand on loose toilet seats!