A well-earned hurt

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I’m sore this morning. I was sore last night, too. There’s a good chance I’ll still be sore tomorrow. My knees hurt. My elbows hurt. My neck hurts. My hips hurt. My chest hurts. Basically, I’m sore, and I hurt, but it’s a good hurt—one of those well-earned hurts.
Recently, I spent a couple of days under an old house a house jacking up the joists due to sagging floors. I had no idea how to do it, so I turned to Google. It didn’t look very difficult, but I wasn’t about to crawl under there on my own. I’m all about trial and error and learning the hard way but not when it comes to picking up a house, so I called my friend Stephen. He’s a jack of all trades; I’m a master of none.
When we opened the door to the crawl space, a colony of bats, a mischief of rats, and Jimmy Hoffa almost knocked us down in their effort to escape. Not really. In reality, due to the porch, which wraps half-way around the house, much of the crawl space was well-lit.
It was, however, very dirty. Think “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” kind of dirty. There was lot of dirt and spider webs and who knows what else, but it didn’t deter us. We each had a job to do, and my job was to lie there in the dirty dirt and hold the flashlight. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. I was that someone. I was just soaking it all in: the knowledge and the dirt.
The other part of my job was to crawl back out to retrieve whatever needed retrieving, whether it was cinder blocks, wood, or wedges. Ruby, my lab, has taught me well. I did a lot of crawling. In the army, we call it low-crawling. I’d thought my low-crawling days were over.
I crawled low many a day during my early days in the army. On one of the courses we did over and over, we had to crawl under barbed wire. It sounds simple enough, but when you factor in all the gear we wore, it made it more challenging because we were bound to get stuck on one of the barbs. On top of that, some of the sergeants were armed with garden hose nozzles and would make it a muddy mess.
One of my Air Force friends once told me how they were supposed to low-crawl in basic training; however, it rained, so they didn’t have to. I knew I should have joined he Air Force, but I digress.
I watched Stephen and asked him a lot of questions on day one, because on day two, he couldn’t be there, so it was all on me. I was confident in my abilities and didn’t fret one iota. Day two went off without a hitch, which had me all jacked up. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment. In doing so, I’ve learned that most things are fairly easy to do. We just need the right tools and for someone to show us how to do it.
I got so dirty on day two that Mike Rowe himself might have turned up his nose to me. I looked like I’d slid into home plate all the way from first base. I thought about taking my shirt off for the drive home, but since I wasn’t wearing a gold chain, I left the shirt on. When I got home, I jumped in the shower. I had dirt in places I didn’t even know existed. I could’ve planted potatoes in my tub after that cleansing.
I had a few cuts and scrapes and bumps and bruises. I was tired and was already sore from day one, but boy did I feel good! It was one of those good hurts—definitely well-earned.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

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