Chapter 32, Blog 3
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
I couldn’t blame the guy. No 20-something wants to admit a man old enough to be his dad had kicked his ass in a foot race. I won’t lie. I was exhilarated I beat him and those other babies. It made me feel powerful and vibrant and young …
And leave it to Melinda, my wife, to keep me grounded.
“Charles, are you going to decide about Depends or not?”
“I’m not wearing diapers today, tomorrow …”
“We’ll get $10,000 if you wear them for a 30-second commercial. Thirty stupid seconds. You know how long it takes me to make $10,000?”
“No, I don’t know.”
“Almost four months, Charles,” my agent said. “Tell me you cannot wear them for 30 seconds.”
Powerful or not, I gave in. If they want to pay me $10,000 to stand naked on my head in the driveway, I guess I would do that, too, although I could already hear Ralphie.
“Hey, moron, jist give me da ol’ cloth ones any day.”
The real deal was my legs still hurt on Day 11 after Des Moines. They refused to loosen. My angst needle climbed, but I didn’t dare tell anyone. Of course, Harry wasn’t just anyone.
“What’s wrong, Princess?” asked my coach. “You’re not getting enough Chi, are you?”
“Nuthin’.” I said, toweling off the sweat.
“Well, you are either hiding something or you are pregnant,” said my coach. “Which is it? Go ahead. At this point, we have no secrets.”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Good enough,” said Harry. “Tell me when you are ready.”
He pivoted on his walker and started to roll away.
“However,” he added. “Do not wait until it is too late.”
I hobbled after him like a three-legged giraffe. Harry turned and saw. I’ll never forget the look on his face.
“Why in the name of Moses did you not tell me, Son?”
“Pride,” I answered. “I may be old, but I still have my pride. You know that.”
“Really, Harry, I’m not that old, am I?”
“Sounds more like vanity to me. Simply amazing. An athlete gets a modicum of success, and it goes straight to his brain,” my coach said. “What we need here is a teachable moment. Do you think we have a teachable moment here?”
“I’m not sure.”
“I will accept that as a ‘no.’”
I admitted my legs ached ever since Iowa. For all his years of training, Harry was baffled. Eleven days after a race was plenty for a normal recovery. What to do? His healing tricks usually worked on someone half my age. Would they work on the abused legs of a 49-year-old?
Harry said we did not have a minute to lose.
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang