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"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck then it probably is a duck." There are at least a half-dozen iterations of this old idiom and at least as many folks who have been given credit for its creation. My vote goes to the Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, but I'll admit to being a bit biased on his behalf as he's always been a favorite of mine. Nevertheless, today I shall coin a somewhat similar phrase that no one is likely to twist around to claim as their own: "If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, rides a bike like a duck but looks like a middle-aged man, then it's probably me."
Once again, in an overzealous effort to be all things to all grown women living under my roof, I have laid myself low in the name of common housework. One might have thought I would have learned my lesson a few years ago when I ended up flat on the floor with a nuclear-level back spasm after I stooped to move the coffee table with one hand while pushing the vacuum cleaner with the other. That one landed me face down on the chiropractor's table for a good "bone crunching" and two successive days of electro-shock therapy. This time, I've found myself hunched and waddling as the victim of a crippling laundry room mishap.
The words of my father whispered clearly from the back of my brain as I stacked the laundry baskets three high to save myself two extra trips up and down the basement stairs. "You're a fool to carry a lazy man's load," Dad often would say if he saw me biting off more than I could chew.
In an undeniably idiotic compromise, I decided to use my very best "lift-with-your-legs" form to boost the baskets to carrying height before starting up the stairs. All was well until, after rounding the corner on the landing, I had to set the pile down in order to open the door. When I turned to pick them up again, my proper lifting form had gone to fly. I knew the second those baskets were off the ground I'd be alternately icing and heating my lumbar for the next week or two!
With an injury like this, one tends to settle into a posture that offers the greatest relief. The best I can do at this point is move through the world with my torso tilted forward, toes pointed outward and tail waddling awkwardly behind. I can still do all the things I want or need to do -- walk, swim, ride my bike -- I just look an awful lot like a duck while I'm doing them. If it walks like a duck ...