Sunday, June 16, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on September 3rd, 2008, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 9, Issue 25 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 9, Issue 25

Back inaction

Rob enjoys the benefits of a bad back


In my mind, I’m still a young, hip, cool guy, an assessment I’m sure both of my kids would quickly disagree with. Nowadays, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see my laid-back, good-looking, surfer self (another non-factual self assessment). I see some other dude, some dude with lines near his eyes and hair growing from strange places on his face. It’s not the end of the world—a quick and painful yank of some ear hair, throw on some sunglasses, and I’m back in my 20s again. However, age recently began affecting me in ways I have never experienced. I recently joined a new club (no it wasn’t the AARP—I’m not 50!).

I joined the bad back club.

I wish I had some macho story to tell about how I hurt my back in a racecar accident or maybe while protecting the honor of my wife, whom I love, in a bar fight. Nope, I’m pretty sure I hurt my back when I reached down into the dishwasher and tried to fish out a travel coffee cup lid which had slipped past the wire rack and was stuck at the bottom of the washer. I was leaning way into the machine when my back said, “Whoa, hold it old man, you can’t bend over like this!” My back threw a penalty flag: “Ten days laying down for excessive bending.”

When you have a bad back, all kinds of things in life are suddenly painful and difficult—things like standing, sitting, walking, and sleeping. I can’t even sleep in my own bed anymore, my back hurts so bad. The only place in my house that I have found to be remotely comfortable is a futon in our office. At night, my wife says, “Goodnight, I’m going to bed.” I give her a kiss and then say, “Goodnight Sweetie, I’m going to futon.”

Finding a comfortable position to be in when you have a bad back can be a challenge. I have found that I am most comfortable when I am on my hands and knees with my head tilted at a perfect 15 degree angle to the left. I may look like I’m impersonating a dog, but I don’t care, I just want the pain to go away. I’ve also found the pain subsides while I’m watching women's beach volleyball on TV, a claim my wife believes is a total falsehood.

You might think I’m being ridiculous, but ask anyone who has a bad back and they will tell you there is an awkward activity or position that each person’s body seems to find somewhat painless. My friend has one of those space-age turntables that suspends him by his feet upside down. Sure, all the blood rushes directly to his head and his face looks like a tomato, but he doesn’t care. That’s the position for him where there is no pain. To keep himself entertained, he has turned his television upside down (yes, he likes women's beach volleyball, too). He’s currently working on a complex anti-gravity beer can solution, but I can’t talk about it. Patents are pending.

I’ve personally found that the most painless position to be in is actually any position at all, as long as it is in combination with a heavy dose of pharmaceuticals. I’ve found that prescription drugs are the only actual benefits of a bad back. The doctors give you the good stuff, and lots of it. They hand that stuff out like candy, and in return I eat it like candy, too. My new favorite thing to do is to stare at the clock and wait for six hours to have gone by so I can reward myself with another magic little happy pill. I can’t wait for the clocks to change this fall and we drop back an hour so I can earn myself an early dose.

Eventually, being part of the bad back club means having to go to physical therapy, also known as PT: Perpetual Torture. It’s like work without getting paid. They bend me like a pretzel and try to make me smell my own feet. They do things to my body that are under the guise of “therapy,” but I have found feel more like “injury.” Obviously, I’m not a fan. When it comes to my rehabilitation, I’m very good about taking the drugs but bad about going to therapy.

I’ve missed so many appointments that the physical therapy doctor’s office calls me the day before to remind me, and then they call me in the morning of my appointment to remind me again. They even call me a third time. My cell phone usually rings while I’m in their waiting room. I don’t even answer it, I just yell out, “Yes, I’m here. Let’s get to the twisting torture so I can earn my next bottle of joyous little pills.” The doctors have been holding the meds over me to force me to attend physical therapy. Whoever said that bribing doesn’t work? I use it on my kids with Skittles; the doctor uses it on me with Vicodin.

I will admit that I am a bit of an opportunist regarding when my back is acting up or not. It seems to always be a problem when my wife wants me to take out the trash, “Sorry, Honey, my back. You know physical activity is forbidden. Doctor’s orders.”

Of course, a couple of hours later, when I’m looking for a little intimacy, suddenly my back doesn’t hurt at all. This is when my wife reminds me of my previous declaration: “I thought your back was too sore to take out the trash. I’d hate to exert any physical activity on you. After all, just like you said: ‘Doctor’s orders.’”

Damn my wife and her elephant memory! I try to explain that certain forms of intimacy are a form of physical therapy in Asia. She’s not having any of that. You see, some women prefer back rubs, but at my house, foreplay is taking the garbage cans out to the curb.

Rob gave his son a bag of Skittles to take out the trash for him, but he still slept on the futon alone.

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

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