I have reached that stage in life where I have to submit to a Wellness Check once every year.

At this point, many of the questions/instructions insult my intelligence, such as: What year is it? What day is it? Repeat these numbers. Say this series of numbers backward, etc.

However, recently one of the questions gave me pause.

Do I tell the truth and drag my dignity through the mud?

Do I lie?

What’s the question? “Have you fallen in the last year?”

If you have faced that question recently, you may connect with these few lines.

There I was, flat on my back,

Gazing up into the tree,

Wondering what had happened.

It certainly wasn’t foreseen.

The moment before I was sawing

On a branch that was hanging too low.

I’d cut through the limb, but the bark resisted.

It stubbornly wouldn’t let go.

As I pondered on what my next move would be,

I decided to give the branch a yank.

So that’s what I did; then just for a moment,

My mind went totally blank.

I say that because there I was,

On my back and wondering how

I had been completely defeated

By that old elm tree bough.

The only good part of this story

Is that the branch came down with me.

For there it was, in my hands.

Did I hear laughing coming from the tree?

I wish I could say that occurrence

Is a once-in-a-lifetime blunder.

But icy sidewalks and competitive sports’

Mishaps have caused me to wonder.

Where is the guy who skateboarded

With his buddies at Highland Park School,

Trying to separate my friends from their boards,

And success brought ridicule.

And what about the guy who rode horses

And liked to water ski?

Now he’s hopping around with his underwear

Only halfway up to his knees.

Now the worst part about all this

Is the yearly wellness check,

When the doctor asks the question,

“When did you last hit the deck?”

I consider myself an honest man,

But it’s just so hard to admit

That my balance isn’t what it used to be,

And that bothers me quite a bit.

John Pryor is a C.E. Donart High School graduate. He can be reached at p29jpryor@ gmail.com.

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