In every life there comes a moment of stark realization that, despite what your brain may tell you, your body has limits.
For some people, this moment comes when attempting, perhaps failing but struggling onward nonetheless, a dramatic feat such as scaling Mount Everest or running a marathon.
My moment came trying to carry a television set.
This simple action might not sound very life-defining, but I'd never hit that wall of realization before, mainly because any of my physical attempts have been, let us say, more on the pedestrian scale. I've never scaled a mountain or run a marathon, but I have my talents.
I've always prided myself on my ability to lift heavy objects and to find a way to get a physical job done.
When I was younger and wanted to hang my Bobby Sherman posters in a line from floor to ceiling, I stacked a chair on a trunk and pulled a stepladder on top. I got the posters pinned to the wall and made it down safely. It was not the first or last time I would do that.
As an adult, my ego swelled with the knowledge I could lift heavy bags of potting soil and compost without breaking a sweat.
I developed my strength through hard work on the farm, where I grew up tossing bales of hay and straw.
My brother and I had several cows that we showed in the county and state fairs. Tim used to back the old truck up to the fence and toss down 50-pound bags of feed that he expected me to catch. And I did, because not catching them meant trying to rake up 50 pounds of something called beet pulp.
My muscles may not show beneath my layers of plump, but they are there. If you need something heavy lifted, then I'm your gal. Or I was until this past weekend, when I achieved failure to lift.
Many years ago I purchased a television set for my bedroom. I don't remember now how I got it home and up the stairs, but I'm certain that I did it by myself. The thing wasn't huge, but being of the time, it was bulky and heavy. The depth was equal to the width, making it a square-shaped, boulder-sized block of entertainment.
My old set chugged along through many generations of new technology, and I never saw a reason to change. But one evening, the television gave up the ghost. The sound was still there, but the image collapsed to a single thin horizontal line across the center.
Instead of mourning, I began comparison shopping and was a confident I could find a nice LED set for about $200. I just needed to get the old set out of the way.
I unplugged it and hefted it up. Man, it was heavier than I remembered. I took one step toward the door, already calculating the angles I would need to maneuver it through the door and down the stairs, when the unthinkable happened. In an instant, I realized that I couldn't carry it. It was too heavy.
The set slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor, breaking a picture frame, knocking over some knickknacks and bouncing off my foot.
The trip to the minor injury clinic was humiliating. I felt I had a big "injured while lifting" stamp on my forehead.
The doctor made me feel less defeated, however. After showing me the X-ray and pointing out where I had cleanly broken off a chunk of bone in my big toe and cracked the toe next to it, he smiled and told me that these injuries seem to come in phases, like the moon.
"I don't know if it's because people are moving or what," he said, "but we go through periods where we see a lot of people in here who've dropped televisions on their feet."
Perhaps I'm not such a failure after all. I am a trend.