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The Slice: Bad shoulder? Still easy to throw in towel

Tue., April 24, 2012

Paul Turner, Spokesman-Review columnist. (The Spokesman-Review)
Paul Turner, Spokesman-Review columnist. (The Spokesman-Review)

It could be argued that writing about growing older is one sure sign that a man is not aging gracefully.

But sometimes events force you to wonder if others have had similar experiences. So I would ask for your indulgence here.

Earlier this month, I got to wondering about some guys I worked with long ago and far away. So I Googled them and did a little one-sided catching up.

It was impossible to tell much from the limited information available, of course. Most seemed to be doing well, though. All had significantly more gray hair than when I knew them. But the smiles were recognizable.

A few days after this online stumble down memory lane, one of my current colleagues approached me. He mentioned that sometime in the near future several guys in the newsroom were going to throw a baseball around during lunch hour. He invited me to bring my glove from home and join them.

I had to explain that a chronic stiffness in my throwing shoulder would prevent me from doing so.

Not long after that, I found myself thinking about one of the fellows I had Googled. He might have enjoyed hearing that I was on the disabled list.

Kirk is maybe five or six years older than I am. It’s not that much in the greater scheme of things. But when we were co-workers long ago, it made a difference when guys from the office gathered to play basketball or touch football.

Though he was never ugly about it, Kirk did not disguise his frustration with the fact that a whippersnapper, as he called me, consistently outplayed him.

I can’t claim to recall any exact quotes. Still, I remember him muttering that one day I would understand how he felt.

Maybe I should send him an email: “Kirk: You were right.”

The S-R baseball-tossing guys are not all younger. But most are, by more than 10 years. So maybe it is just as well that my screwed-up shoulder keeps me out of the game.

I would hate to be the guy lobbing rainbows and saying “I used to have a decent arm.”

Or worse. I could wind up being the one warning colleagues that age will catch up with them.

It will, of course. But there’s no sense obsessing about it.

Today’s Slice question: Who around here deserves groupies?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email What’s the loudest sound you have heard?

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