You Never Can Tell About Mulch, Hamstrings, and Retirement

I lost my hamstrings this weekend because of my wife, Sena, and her yard projects. If this is what my retirement is going to be like, I think I’ll look into the SEAK alternative careers for physicians. They have a conference every year at which they tell doctors about all the lucrative non-clinical careers out there for doctors who can’t afford to lose their hamstrings because of honey-do lists.

I used to have pretty nice hamstrings (see unretouched photo below). But when they started flopping over my calves, everyone at the gym started getting depressed and asking me for Prozac prescriptions. I had to quit because I couldn’t stand to watch them suffer.


Nowadays, my hamstrings are withered. Moving mulch is pretty much beyond me. But Sena wants river rock for her front garden bed instead of mulch–after all that mulch I got a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, mindful mulch removal is my specialty now. The instructions are pretty straightforward:

  • Stand comfortably with feet about shoulder width apart. Ensure your legs are attached to them…your feet, not your shoulders.
  • Grasp the rake or shovel firmly and first take a breath in through your nose.
  • Forcefully attempt to snort out the bumblebee which opportunistically shoots up your left nostril.
  • With your left hand slap your nostril, not hard enough to cause a nosebleed. Breathe out through your mouth.
  • When you are ready, shout the F*Bomb, contracting only your abdominal muscles and remembering to breathe as the bee scuttles further up your nostril.
  • Step backward with your right foot and snort forcefully, simultaneously reaching for your handkerchief (what do you mean, you don’t have a handkerchief?) to catch the huge gob of snot firing at approximately 500 kilometers per second into the window your wife just cleaned yesterday.
  • Focus on your breath as it provides a cool breeze for the bumblebee as you bear in mind it is a simple creature of nature as it heads for your cribriform plate.
  • Slip on the greasy mulch, pitching forward into the iron whirligig with the molded leaves your wife finds so clever, giving yourself a chop cut your neighbors will remark on for seasons to come because, do not forget there is a near-gale-force wind and those molded leaves are humming, boy.
  • Breathe in through your remaining nostril, which I believe is the right one, as you dive for the ground, which is where the mulch is, while the bee is waggle dancing the coordinates of your nasal wax.
  • Using your outstretched right hand, grab a bunch of mulch with what looks like chipmunk poop all over it and fling it toward the street…remember to breathe.
  • Using your flexed left hand, grab for your smartphone and attempt to dial 911, which will not happen as the phone flies out and cracks on the concrete window sill.
  • Ensure you land face first (remembering to breathe) in the Speckled Flame Spirea which did not make it through the winter and is now nothing but a bristling group of sharp, bare twigs…notice there is pain.
  • Now in the prone position, clap both hands to your nose, trapping the bumblebee which emerges from your right nostril and very frustrated by not finding any nectar in your basal forebrain.
  • Clearly yell the F*Bomb as the stinger enters your right thumb.
  • Breathing naturally, struggle to your feet, scattering mulch into the yard because that stuff is still pretty wet from last night’s rain.

This is the end of the first yoga movement.

Once you’ve practiced it a few times, it seems like one fluid gesture, right up to the moment the ambulance arrives. I was thinking of joining AARP. I might reconsider. But you never can tell.



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