Ah, low back pain. Probably brought on by watching too much television news while slouching, or a dozen other stupid things I’ve done over the years.
I’m trying very hard to keep my back straight while writing this but, I’m not Mike Ovca. Mike was the guy you love to hate in the eighth-grade who finished the math assignments and everything else weeks ahead of the rest of us while sitting perfectly upright in his perfectly organized wooden desk in the middle of his perfect world.
When I think of perfection I think of Mike, a brilliant student, athlete, straight-sitter and University of Florida catcher for four years. He went on to become a scientist and I supposed is retired now in some gated community in Florida, doing yoga with his perfectly straight back. If I had only learned how to sit up straight from watching him I wouldn’t be in the fix I’m in now -- lousy grades in math notwithstanding. But I digress.
This back problem has gotten my attention recently. My tolerance for pain is not very high anyway and my limit was reached a few days ago when I decided not to move any more. Not moving seems to help, as does not bending over. And I’ve found that if I insist on not moving, I won’t be bending. Bending brings on the god of pain. I refer to it as “Him” or “He” and a level of pain only imaginable by an expert in the field. The guy makes waterboarding look like a day at the beach.
But, back to bending which, when I’ve done it, I realize it’s too late and “He” will visit, seeing the bend as a summons of some sort. But, “He” makes me wait a few seconds so I can anticipate what’s coming and appreciate no pain while I wait for “Him” to reintroduce me to the art of torturing oneself.
Right now, “He” has all my attention, devotion and respect as I try my best to understand why “He” seems to survive on causing me pain. I never realized how many activities require bending in this life until I met “Him.” You bend to get up. You bend to get down and you bend to feed the dogs, pick up the baby and your clothes. You bend to sit on the toilet and you bend to get off. I’ve decided that if I don’t eat it will give “Him” one less opportunity to pay me a visit. We shall see.
Yes, bending is a major activity that “He” enjoys as well as the slouch, which I can be doing any old time. “He” asks, “Uh, ‘scuse me old-timer, is that a slouch I see? Are you slouching now? Oh, I think you are. Let me show you what I can do for that lower back of yours with the slouch.” And there it comes. Slow and steady as though he was Mozart in that 25th “symphony in major pain” with a crescendo that reminds me of that old spiritual, “Oh bless my soul that hurts so good!” Or Toni Tennille’s, “Do it to me one more time.”
I looked up some yoga sites in desperation the other day, got down on the rug, somehow, turned on the computer and there she was, the most beautiful, flexible, yoga instructor on this rock. She looked right into the camera at me and said, “Now, you can do this even if you’re very old.” Well, I got kind of excited when I heard that. Then she said, “All you have to do is grab your right leg and put it behind your head.” Pause.
I hit the pause button in amazement after she did just that and actually put her leg behind her head. About that time one of the dogs licked me right in the mouth. My back pain is sort of like that old Jerry Clower joke about the coon dogs that treed a coon. John went into the tree to get the thing down. As it turned out, that coon was no coon, but a mountain lion. John called down to Mr. Barron, who was standing below with a shotgun, saying, “Shoot up here amongst us, one of us has got to have some relief!”
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.