Monday, March 3, 2014


There used to be a line from a television infomercial, "Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up." The plea was from an elderly woman or man, and the ad for a wearable emergency alert device.

Some people extrapolated the line into what, to them, passed as humour. For example, a beer drinker who had too many.

After yesterday, I don't see how anyone could consider the line to be funny.

As I was walking home from the library parking lot, an elderly woman, perhaps 40 feet in front of me, walking with a cane, tried to transition from the sidewalk to cross the street. She must have inadvertently planted her foot awkwardly on the curb because she lost her balance. I heard her cry out, then watched as she fell backwards, almost as if in slow motion. The momentum of the fall caused her to bump the back of her head on the sidewalk, and I'd wished I'd been close enough to somewhat cushion her fall.

I was the first to reach her, and set my packages down so I could help her up. Very quickly there were others; two teenage girls who had been chatting near the cinema across the street, two or three men and boys who were down the street toward the newstand store. Together we got the woman to her feet, still a bit unsteady. I tried to explain, with gestures, lacking language skills, that she had also bumped her head.

The woman appeared to be okay, at least said she was, and there was no visible blood. A couple of the men helped walk her up the hill past the cinema. She told them she lived just up that street.

(The photo above is not the woman who fell; it is generic. I would not be so crass as to take a photo of someone in distress before or instead of helping them.)

There are quite a few elderly in the village. Someday, hopefully not soon, I may be one of them. 

It's not easy to get around when you're arthritic, when hips and knees need replacement, when cobblestone or broken pavements catch your shoes ... even a couple of steps can seem a mountain.

The elderly around you have contributed to society and to the life you enjoy today in countless untold ways. They may need a helping hand from time to time. Certainly they deserve your respect.

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