BRODY: When you find yourself in a tough spot, laugh through it

There is one thing I’m never afraid to do, and is to make fun of myself.

I do crazy stuff all the time.

The year that I had several serious surgeries on my spine, we bought a beautiful horse farm in Winchester, which meant selling our ocean-front condo and our Key Biscayne, Florida, business to move to Kentucky.

The hardest part of all was just months before moving, my precious daughter, Dede, died unexpectedly. I figure anybody would welcome laughter.

As I often do before I write a new column, I read through some things that I wrote 20 or 30 years ago. You would be surprised how that can spark my memory.

Just maybe the memory I get from going to another time and another incident is like opening a window and letting all kinds of things gently roll in.

It won’t be what I end up writing about, but the outside view carries the freedom to remember.

Well, this week: bingo!

The date was back in 1993. I wrote a column that painfully brought laughter, tears, frustration and cussing.

Let me set the stage for you.

Picture this. Here was this 63-year-old woman, Harrington rods in her back from neck to butt.

She was down on all fours with her head stuck pathetically under the trickle of hot water oozing from the bathtub faucet.

There is shampoo down in her eyes and mouth and her body has so many goose bumps in it, it looked like the measles. Isn’t that a sad picture?

I fully realize country living has its drawbacks and I accept that.

One of ours is that we did not have city water. We had a well and a pump to pressure it from the ground to my bathroom.

Washing my hair is one of the things I do in the bathroom, and I did this by using the shower head above the tub because the back rods make it difficult for me to get in and out of the tub. I depended up the pump like crazy.

At point, that pump was going through definite mood swings and this particular morning it really pulled a tantrum. 

The room was cold as I stepped under the shower. The hot water felt heavenly, so I immersed myself, head and all, in it’s spray.

Then I shampooed, and at that point, the pump just spit at me and quit.

The water spit and spewed and finally slowed to this line of dribble.

“Oh great!” I hissed. “Don’t you dare pull that on me right now.”

I shoved the handles back and forth as if I could trick it to work again.

“Come on!”

I pulled every trick in the book to make it work. Nothing.

I was furious, freezing with a head full of soap.

In desperation I almost yanked the handle right off the tub, and when I did this, my hand glazed the metal piece that sends the water up the pipe to reach the shower head.

It fell down in the water. Water came forth from the tub facet. Not much but a heck of a lot more than the shower head produced.

So, listen. I had no choice.

Hoping I would not mess up my spine anymore, down I went on all fours again in the tub, and I stuck my head under the only water available.

Holding onto the tub with one hand and running my other hand through my sticky head to spread the water around, I was letting four-letter words as loudly as I could in such a position.

It might have been quite a spectacle because Perry Fat Cat and Andy Brat Cat showed up to watch.

Perry kept his distance from just inside the doorway. On the other hand, Andy, who was new to our family, marched right up to the side of the tub, stood on his hind legs and began swatting my upraised bare behind. I could have killed him.

Well, the end of this sad tale was that I more or less rinsed most of the shampoo out and I did not rupture another disk in my back. And it only took half an hour for Andy to clean himself up from all of the water I threw all over him.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.