I played a round of golf last week with an old friend, joined by an elderly veteran, playing with his son; Joe and Jay. Joe, probably around my own age;) was in some pain, and during the front nine, he shared that he was struggling with sciatica. I’d gone thru my own bout with sciatica, back in December and empathized with his condition. Walking down the 10 fairway, Joe no longer able to complete his swing, I finally pushed thru my shyness and suggested that he watch me. I lay down in the fairway, crossed and bent my knees and showed him how to stretch out his lower back. Joe then lay down…but had no concept of the apposition needed to release his spine, so I assisted him. I crossed his knees, gently brought them to his chest and held his chest steady as he slowly rotated his lower body. The sounds of his spine crackling were audible, as were his sighs of relief. He stood back up, momentarily free of pain and thanked me.
We continued down the fairway and I enjoyed a moment of pleasure, grateful to have served another, thanks to my own learning curve. And then I had a chilling insight…just how badly that could have ended. Joe might not have had sciatica. He might have had a fracture or organ problem or just about anything else…and things might have gone south for us both.
I realized, “Tucker, he could have sued you for everything you have!” And quite possibly have won. Now that would be tragic, losing all security in life, just for having tried to help a fellow golfer. But the reality is, in today’s litigious culture, trying to be a Good Samaritan, while a worthy impulse, can lead to an awful outcome.
On the plus side, I did birdie the 11th;)
March 27, 2010