Thursday, March 1, 2007

Back Aches & Anna Nicole

Back Aches - Here's a new one for me. My back hurts. I don’t know how or where it came from, but for the past week I’m experiencing something I’ve only heard about but never had myself. My first hunch is it’s the rapid increase in driving time. After living in the city for so long, I’ve only had the chance to drive in short spurts. Things like day trips or weekends in Florida to see my folks and family. But three and four hour treks are another story. I went to Target this morning and picked up one of those lumbar support thigamajigs. The same ones my folks have that I’ve managed to always throw into the back seat whenever I drive their car. Isn't that funny? As I wandered Super Target, looking for a back support, I thought about, yes ... Eldercation. I’m going to be 50 this coming December 28. You know what that means? I will then be able to qualify next year's Senior Games. I’m there. And it doesn't feel all that bad, I have to say. Except, of course, for my back at the moment.

And when it comes to my gray hair, which I've had since my senior year at BU, my old friend Michael Feit always said, "You know, Harry, Better gray, than nay.” Sure, people have suggested the "Just For Men" approach and how a treatment every now and then would take off about 10 years and I’d look great. But, how can I do that? I mean, even if I wanted to do it, what would that be saying? I really do believe it’s good to just be oneself and accept whatever age brings to you. At least that’s what works for me. I do my best to never sit in judgment of others. Sure, I know what’s going on with all the Botox injections, cosmetic surgeries and wrinkle reducing cremes and techniques. Sure, I know most of our culture is doing their very best to push off the inevitable - aging and, yes, then death. I choose another approach. And I admire those who are taking the same route. The ones who seem to be at such ease with their age. It seems to me like it's a more relaxed approach to aging. More authentic.

Sorry for the short sermon. Having said that. My back is still killing me. I’m going to try a long hot bath later and we’ll see how the back support works. I may even put the bedding on the carpet tonight and try sleeping on the hard floor. Is the yoga hurting it? Helping it? One never knows. I just want it to make the turn and start to ease up. I don’t need this kind of thing barking at me the entire trip.

Oh, yes. It’s also time to stop the so-called ChickFil-A and barbecue rewards diet. Every once in awhile you’ll see me writing about it. I wouldn’t pass up another opportunity to eat the best Chicken fried Steak in Texas with Hollis and Alice at the Hobo Depot. But, those “gastric getaways,” I’ll call them – they're going to be fewer and farther in between. It’s time to take control again. At least that’s how I feel tonight. We’ll see how it goes when I pass the next sign for finger-lickin' ribs.

The Anna Nicole Effect? - Here’s something to ponder: And I’ll only mention her name this once. It seems my back started to ache just about the same time the whole Anna Nicole Smith drama started to unfold. Now, I’m pretty sure the pain isn’t being caused by the grief about her loss. What it might be, though, is the sickening amount of time people are spending on the whole scene surrounding her death. Can you believe this crap? I mean, I don’t want to sound insensitive but, really, at this point … who cares?

Okay, so, unfortunately, I know the answer to that question. Apparently, a lot of people care. I suppose we really are a nation of rubberneckers, so to speak. It’s funny. The people I’m meeting on the road don’t seem to care. My friends don’t seem to care. The waitress at the IHOP this morning certainly didn't care at all. I’m convinced the more I see of what’s going on – the only people who appear to care about the whole ordeal, are the news people. These folks always need something to cover so … they cover it. And they do it all the time. I mean, would people like Nancy Grace even have jobs were it not for the Anna Nicole Smith’s of the world? These talking heads break down every sentence, peek into every nook and cranny of the situation, they dissect the story, then dissect it another ten times an hour ... over and over again. And the video footage - Do you notice how the same footage loops with the same shots over and over and over again when they report the story?

Now, my good friend Howard knows how I’m struggling with the TV thing. I’ve been working at watching less and less, heeding Stephen King's words in "On Writing" about television and good writers. Certainly, the news and political shows (I used to be that type of junkie), have taken a back seat to sports for me. And now that the baseball season is heating up - (“Let’s Go, Mets” I’m looking forward to following them from the road. Thank God for and Gameday) – I’ve gotten so tired of listening to people yelling at one another, all the time. Tim Russert is one of the few people I can actually pay attention to. He doesn’t yell like the rest of them. Charlie Rose is another one with the softer voice. Oprah's like that, too. These people seem to be “scenic route” types. I like that approach.

But back to the Anna Nicole thing.

On second thought, guess what. I’ve said enough.

You see how that works? I actually know when to stop. When will the TV people learn the same skill?

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