May 02, 2007
My Aching Back
Unlike most people, I hate spring.
Most people feel rejuvenated after a cold winter spent primarily indoors. They want to get out in the fresh air and enjoy Mother Nature. They like to hike and bike and play tennis and even (gasp!) run. They dig and plant and row and skate. There is also a lot of work to do – hard work, like raking and planting and spring-cleaning.
Jeez, I really wish I could do all that stuff, because there is nothing like working yourself into a sweaty lather, blood rushing to your face, sweat pouring out of every pore until your clothes are drenched with moisture. Yeah, that sure is fun alright. Unfortunately for me, I have a bad back.
At least during the winter, I can relax – I mean, rest my back – in peace. Winter is heaven for me, especially during football season. Karen used to say football was like a drug to me, until I pointed out drugs are like a drug to me.
But after years of complaining she has accepted the fact that it is best for me to recline and watch endless hours of football. Part of it has to do with my little white lie – I told her football games are like soap operas, that you have to watch every game or you'll become hopelessly confused and won't know what's going on. Women relate to that kind of analogy.
The only chore that comes up with any regularity is shoveling snow. Unfortunately, I can't shovel snow because I have a bad back. Every time it snows Karen rushes outside, scarves and coats and gloves galore, straining her tiny body to remove the mountains of snow blocking our walkway and driveway lest I attempt to do it and hurt myself.
That's because I'm quick to point out should my back go out, I will be laid up for months, I will lose my job, we'll lose our house, they'll take back our trucks, and we'll end up living in a tent which I won't be able to help pitch because my back will hurt too much.
Karen loves to dance. When I was courting her I used to endure her passion but I eventually had to stop – my back, you know. The truth is, I hate dancing, especially at weddings. There seems to be a universal practice at weddings, no matter what culture or country, that as the party progresses, drunker and drunker people feel compelled to make complete fools of themselves by doing the same asinine dances. You know the ones: the YMCA, when you have to spell out the letters with your arms, the Macarena, and of course the bunny hop thing where-in lines of people hop around the room holding on to each other's waist from behind like a gaggle of freakazoids.
There's always the serious women who want to make all the right moves, there's always the grandma who gets all confused, there's always a little snot-nosed kid trying to upstage everyone by running under your legs.
Everyone is laughing hysterically like they are having fun or something (as if in fact making the letter "Y" with your arms is funny) and no one minds when you almost trip on Little Johnny (I used to try to step on his head).
Nowadays I sit back with a cocktail, which is good for my back, and smirk.
Anyhow, because of my injury I'm not helpful during spring-cleaning. Yard work is also out of the question, because if I pull my back out I will collapse on the lawn, be dragged into a cave by the huge raccoon who eats our garbage, and will be carved up into little man-pieces for the savages who lurk right behind our fence.
I am good at telling others what to do. This frees up my time to watch baseball games, which helps my back.
My little excuse comes in handy around the office. We have a water cooler, which I use all day long, but I've never actually picked up one of those giant bottles and loaded it into the cooler. Instead, I watch Carey London, who weighs about 82 pounds, labor under the crushing load. Do I feel guilty? Not at all. I wish she would do more manual labor around here.
When friends ask me to help with little chores, liking moving furniture or whatever, it hurts me – it hurts me deeply – to have to say no. "Jeez, Bob, I'd really like to help you move that freaking piano but I can't, because my back will go out, I'll lose my job, lose my house, and have to move in with you."
The truth is I hate to get out of bed in the morning. I feel lethargic all the time. For a long time I thought I was lazy, but now I realize the horrible truth. I have Lyme disease.
Think I'll take a long nap.
Winter is heaven for me, especially during football season. Karen used to say football was like a drug to me, until I pointed out drugs are like a drug to me.