‘Lift with your legs, not your back,’ my Dad told me. I was helping him carry in some garden furniture, the first garden furniture we ever owned. It wasn’t new. Something someone no longer had a use for. Like all of our furniture. Like my school books. Like my clothes that some other kid had grown out of.
Anyway, I lifted with my legs as instructed and it was all in the distant past. I forgot. Why wouldn’t I? I’ve been sitting behind a desk for three decades, growing fat. The heaviest thing I’ve had to lift is my stapler.
His words should have come to mind when that nice young woman from next door asked me to help her move a couch.
‘It was my brother’s,’ she told me. ‘He got a new one and I thought this would look nice on the porch.’
What could I do? I rolled up my sleeves and pretended that I was a younger, fitter man.
I lifted with my back.
That was a week ago, I’ve been in bed ever since.
‘Pulled a muscle,’ the doctor said. ‘Could have been worse.’
But it needn’t have happened.