“Are you OK?” I asked.
“Nope,” she shook her head.
“Were you in a car accident?”
“Did you fall on ice?”
Another shake of the head.
“So …” I held the door open as she slowly shuffled inside. “I give up on the guessing game. How did you get hurt?”
“Hooping,” my friend said while slowly sitting down and punctuating the movement with a loud groan.
What was she talking about?
From my view I didn’t want anything to do with hooping if it meant that you got beat up.
“I was hula hooping,” she said.
“I haven’t seen a hula hoop since my training bra days,” I said. “But I really don’t remember that it was dangerous.”
“I am serious about my hooping,” my friend said sharply.
“How serious do you have to be to get injured?” I asked.
“I’m exercising with it,” she shouted.
“But I don’t understand how a hula hoop can kick your hind end,” I said.
“I’ve lost 20 pounds,” my friend said proudly.
“What? Are you kidding me?”
“I’m sick of treadmills,” she said. “And you know how much I hate jogging and weightlifting.”
“I still don’t understand how a plastic circle can hurt you so much that you can barely move,” I said.
“My hula hoop is weighted so it is more of a workout,” she said. “Yesterday I pulled a muscle in my back. …”
Then she raised her shirt to show off a big blob of bruises on her back.
“That looks terrible!”
“Yeah, but it is totally worth it,” my friend said. “I have whittled away so much fat that I now have a waist again!”
As she showed off her hourglass figure, you know I did the girl thing.
I compared my friend’s new waistline to my box-shaped torso.
Of course I imagined myself with a waist like hers, no back fat and a firm butt.
I practically ran to the store to buy a hula hoop. But not an evil weighted hoop like hers. I got a tame hoop, a bright pink one. Just an innocent hoop with some glitter on it.
The moment I slipped it over my head, my mind raced backward to my little girl days. I expected to see posters of Donny Osmond and David Cassidy in front of me.
“Just move with the hoop,” I whispered. But the hoop repeatedly dropped to the floor.
My temper got the best of me. “What’s wrong with you?” I yelled as I wiped a river of sweat from my face. “Are your hips dead? Don’t they move anymore?”
Again and again, I tried and failed. That hoop was beating me up.
I decided music would help me conquer the situation.
“Just keep trying,” I said to myself as I blasted some Motown. “At least you won’t get hurt with this kind of hoop. You’ll just be exhausted.”
At that moment I suddenly caught onto hooping. I became one with my hoop. Happily, I turned in a fast circle to keep the hoop moving above my hips. And my face went splat against the wall.
My friend is still nursing her back injury, walking around like a jumbo shrimp with her new waist.
I don’t have a waist. But I do have a plop of purple on my forehead.
I need a helmet when I hoop.
Sherri Coner is an award-winning journalist and humor writer who speaks to women’s groups. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com.