Every year, it's the same thing. Leading the six o'clock news, wild-eyed, sales-crazed, early bird Black Friday shoppers charge through department store doors like a thundering herd of Visa-carrying buffalo.
They push and shove - all in the pursuit of the season's "must-have" item at deeply discounted prices "from 6 to 10 a.m. only!"
Needless to say, I wasn't among them this year. Or any year, for that matter.
It's not that I don't enjoy a good, ol' fashioned, holiday bloodletting. I relish dog-eat-dog retail competition as much as the next cash-strapped consumer. I miss those Cabbage Patch melees of 1983. It's just that I bruise too easily to be in the game.
For as long as I can remember, my limbs have been peppered with unsightly lumps and bumps. Discolored knees and elbows were so much a part of my epidermal landscape, my mother used to buy me clothes that would complement my bruises. (Maybe that explains why my wardrobe still is dominated by black and blue.)
The problem was my fair complexion and my tendency to fall down. A lot.
I've written before about my proclivity for pratfalls. I'm not inclined to again drudge up painful memories from my accident-prone past. Besides, everyone goes through a stumblebum phase at some point in their lives. Mine was just a few decades longer than average.
Still, a klutz's capillaries always are at greater risk than the general population. And, these days, I'm a profusion of contusions. It's not a pretty sight.
Every morning, I get out of the shower, wrap myself in a towel and go to the mirror to dry my hair.
"Now, where in the heck did THAT one come from?" I'll say, as I spy yet another new blotch on my forearm.
"Did I run into the wall? Did somebody pinch me? Or did they just look at me the wrong way?"
It's a mystery, that's what it is! On rare occasions, I'll be able to trace the source of my injury. Like the time I acquired an enormous bruise on my upper thigh after climbing out of a pool without the ladder. OK, it probably was a bad move for a woman my age, and I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have to go to the bathroom so urgently. But, dear Lord, it's not like I fell down or anything!
Last summer, while on vacation, I subjected myself to a deep tissue massage.
"How much pressure can you stand?" asked the therapist (who had the physique of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger).
"Are you kidding? Pressure's my middle name." I said, confidently.
I cannot aptly describe what happened next but, suffice it to say, I later petitioned the state of California to have the man's fingers declared lethal weapons. Two days later, I had five perfectly formed fingerprints - in varying hues of purple - on the back of each of my calves. (Three days after that, I could walk again.)
Usually, though, I will have no earthly idea what I've done to deserve most of the lesions on my body.
"What in the world did you do to your leg?" a friend will ask, aghast at the abstract painting on my shin.
"Oh, that?" I'll reply. "I have no idea." The look on her face tells me she suspects spousal abuse, alcoholism or early Alzheimer's.
Even as I type this, I'm distracted by a expansive bluish-gray patch on the top of my hand, wondering if an anvil dropped on me from the sky - like in a Road Runner cartoon - when I was in a turkey coma.
My doctor (aka WebMD.com) says thinning skin, aging blood vessels and my daily baby aspirin therapy are to blame. Jeez! When I said I wanted to be a colorful old lady, this isn't exactly what I had in mind.
Soon, I'll have to live in a house of padded rooms. Child safety corner guards will be applied to all my furniture, safety cushions strewn all over the floor.
In the meantime, I'm going to steer clear of all thundering herds: buffalo, Blue Light shoppers and the rest.
It's the holiday season now, after all. I must look my best. And black and blue just doesn't work with red and green.