If you're like me, then while you are at work you spend a lot of time in the bathroom.
Not always using the toilet, necessarily, but sometimes just admiring the spectacle of yourself in the bathroom mirror.
Oh yes, I know, I often present myself as frumpy, hunched; an infantile she-male left too long in the bath and now quite pruny.
But let me assure you, there are days when I look in the bathroom mirror at work and I think, yes, YES HA HA HA oh my hotness make a muscle now, quarter turn, do that thing where your buttocks jounce about independent of each other, undulate your pelvis in rough approximations of circles, you are positively leonine!!!
In those moments, my entirety could be summated in two words: "potent flanks."
I have to whisper those words into the crook of my arm to squelch my hysterical love for my own body. But that is my error.
For there in the bend where forearm abuts bicep, a crack appears.
Damn the desert trenches of my old man elbows. Damn them for betraying my advancing age and proximity to the grave.
My elbows have become two splats of rancid pancake batter, topped with seed warts.
From there, my preening in the bathroom mirror wobbles on its pommel horse and crashes spectacularly to the floor, leaving it's leotarded buttocks flopped skyward and it's dignity shredded by a score of straight 5.5's.
Ananias now slaps the fish scales from my eyes and shouts, "Dammit Saul, you're Fat Paul now, stop sucking in that bomb shelter of a belly and see yourself for what you really are!!" I know, I know it; a trembling saucer of white jelly. Striketh me no more, brother Ananias, mined eyes are yay verily opened.
When was the last time I was able to put on my socks without rolling back onto the bed and flinging my legs up to my chest like some fleshy expired beetle?
I have to take a giant breath before I do it, because there is no hope of breathing once my prodigious bottom half has been swung up above my top. My hands must work quickly. They scrabble at the cotton edges of my knee-highs and I think, I know what it is to drown. To grow old and inflexible, a hairy plank toppled across the years till death.
And if my beloved boys were to enter the bedroom at that moment and see their father, their surrogate for God on earth, all pretzled within himself and gasping for the last corner of sock, the albino blaze of his thighs lifted to the ceiling, how could they go on?
How could they ever look me in the eye when I showed them how to change a flat tire, or pump gas, or shoot a basketball without jumping and in a completely horizontal chuck?
"Aim for the painted square of the backboard, boys, and just whip that ball at it hard as you can. Swoosh!"
They only look down, sadly, wanting to have never seen, burning with the shameful knowledge of their father's debasement.
"Whatsa matter with you, anyways?" I say, awkwardly dribbling the ball with one tensed hand and heading for the basket. "Who's gonna stop me?!" I taunt, but no one moves.
Just shy of the hoop, the ball careens off the top of my foot and flies into the nearby poison ivy.
I make a noise as if to mimic the blow of a referee's whistle, but it comes out only as a fart of spitty air.
"Out of the bounds!" But they have moved off, one to hunt for pill bugs in the tall grass, the other to ride his tricycle in furious circles around the driveway, pedaling faster and faster so that his father, even at a full sprint, cannot hope to reach him.