As the worst year in recent memory closed out, my wife and I differed about how bad things had actually been during 2020.
She said it wasn’t so bad. I insisted that it was awful. I ran through a short list of all the misery we had been through — family deaths, disease, high winds, shortages, earthquakes, riots, bombings, politics, shootings, etc.
I demanded to know exactly what made 2020 not so bad in her eyes. Her answer hurt my meager feelings.
“You fell off the ladder in the garage and broke your wrist in March. Then a few months later, you tripped in the dark and broke it again. And after you swore to me that you wouldn’t climb any more ladders, you fell off another one, knocked yourself out, and had to have shots in your Army shoulder.”
Note: I have an “Army” shoulder that I broke years ago jumping out of an airplane, and a “police” shoulder that got twisted out of joint during a bar fight. I can’t always keep right and left straight, so that’s how I identify which one hurts.
In my defense, I pointed out that the second fall was from a mere step stool rather than a ladder, and therefore technically not a breach of promise.
Exactly how me getting hurt made 2020 so great for her seemed a bit insensitive. But she explained that it wasn’t great that I was hurt, but merely less troublesome and expensive as a matter of practicality.
Being on the injured list meant that I was unable to spend so much time in the desert blowing up stuff with Sonny. I couldn’t lift cannons into a truck. My shoulders couldn’t take the recoil of high-caliber rifles, and my wrist made it so I couldn’t slice myself (or someone else) while sharpening knives.
I suppose that’s how some people look on the bright side of perilous times. It’s true that 2020 had been less expensive for us. We didn’t take any long trips, buy anything frivolous, or get divorced. And I hadn’t broken anything other than myself.
As years go, 2020 was the first year in a long time that I haven’t required surgery. I can’t say that about 2021 because I’m getting a new wrist from Dr. William Gowski on Tuesday.
I’m not worried because I’ve had lots of surgery to fix things. Also, Dr. Gowski comes highly recommended by other doctors who have cut me open before.
Plus — and you can’t tell anyone about this — he promised to install a set of Wolverine claws in my wrist if at all possible.
But then, just when we thought 2020 hadn’t been all that bad, it took a parting shot at us.
With fewer than 48 hours to go before year’s end, we awoke to a dead furnace. The temperature in the house was 50 degrees and required $14,000 to fix before we all froze to death in time for, hopefully, a warmer, more welcoming 2021.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.