Opinion: Avoiding a blood bath


Mary Ellen and I just returned from a trip to San Francisco with our friends the Murphys. The last time we were in California was 40 years ago on our honeymoon, but we weren’t going to let one bad experience prevent us from giving the Golden State another try. 

On this vacation, we stayed at a very old hotel, which you would think would be a good choice for four kinda old people. We got a senior discount on the room and senior dinner specials. Why, then, I wondered, did we end up with a bathtub that would be a challenge for a 20-year-old Olympic pole vaulter? 

The tub was probably in that bathroom since the early 1900s, a time in our history when the average lifespan was 47 years, unless someone never bathed or showered and then could maybe make it to 60 without breaking his neck. 

This claw-foot tub’s sides were 3 feet high, with no railings or rubber bathmats to reduce the chance of slipping when entering or exiting the combination tub/shower. This freaked out my wife, who said, “You can’t step into something that high above your knees. Not at your age.”

“That’s what you said the last time I put on a pair of shorts.”

“Dick, promise me you will not get into that bathtub unless I am standing here holding you and watching your every move.”

“You know, Mary Ellen, 40 years ago that would have been a really seductive thing to say. Now, it just sounds kind of creepy.”

“As for me, Dick, I can’t go another day without washing my hair.” 

“Well, it’s either dirty hair or a broken neck.”

There was a long pause. “I’m thinking it over,” my wife said. “I’m thinking it over.”

Thankfully, we both managed to bathe and shampoo safely before we packed for our return home. On our flight, we assessed our vacation.

“Let’s see,” Mary Ellen said. “We saw Alcatraz and enjoyed hiking Yosemite, bwe risked life and limb in the bathroom.”

“Tell you what, Mary Ellen, let’s just call it a wash.”