Sunday, March 20, 2016

I'm Melting!

Don't want to say I'm shorter than I was, 
but I did enjoy this reunion with an old girl friend.

Contrary to popular belief, Scoliosis is not the general who stood up to Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon, but a condition I've had most of my life, more commonly known as curvature of the spine.

For the most part my Scoliosis never bothered me. It wasn't painful, didn't hinder my posture, and didn’t interfere with my love life any more than any of the other countless fucked up things about my existence on Earth have interfered with my love life. But in the era of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute, something has changed.

That is, I'm getting shorter.  Lots shorter.

It began some years ago when people started admonishing me to "Stand up straight." 

"I am standing up straight!" I would protest.

"I don't know" said just about everyone I encountered in the course of a day including total strangers in a hurry, "but I don't think standing up straight involves your chin getting up close and personal with your crotch."

Then I began to hear something even more disturbing.

"Perry, are you getting shorter?" they would ask. "Because I notice you're no longer as tall as my coffee table at home."

Though I hoped they owned a coffee table so extraordinarily large that Andre the Giant might bump his head on it, I thought to check out the status of my condition with an orthopedic specialist named Dr. Simpkin. The office assistant took my height and weight.

"5 foot 7," she said casually.

"Five Foot Seven!  I'm supposed to be five ten!"

"Actually it's closer to five six."

Stunned, I entered Dr. Simpkin's office.

"As the Scoliosis progresses and your spine continues to curve like the Indianapolis Speedway, you will naturally get shorter and your posture will get worse," Simpkin offered casually. "Let's have a look at your back," said he, and I pulled off my shirt to comply.

"Extreme!" Simpkin cried out.

If he was trying to ruin my weekend, Dr. Simpkin had succeeded swimmingly. 
So the good doctor sent me off for some physical therapy. The therapist, a nice young woman named Tiffany, began to assess my condition.

"May I check the curvature of your spin?" she asked, and I said yes. 

"Extreme!" shouted Tiffany.

Apparently my spinal column has been designed by Zorro.

Tiffany gave me some exercises to do and I’ll have additional appointments with her for a few weeks. I will also employ a number of techniques for standing up straight, including imagining I’m walking with a book on my head, imagining I'm reading the book if it’s about posture, and practicing my own patented stand-up straight technique, the Jack Benny walk.

Physical therapy will not make my backbone straighter or make me taller, but it may halt or at least slow the progression.  So I will do the exercises religiously because I do not want to have posture like some guy sitting on a park bench eyeing little girls with bad intent, and I'm not looking forward to the day when comedian Kevin Hart decides it's cool to call me "squirt."

So until further notice, folks, I guess it's true.

I'm melting!



Tom Zumwalt said...

Ah, yes, the joys of aging. Whereas I'm not melting, Perry, everything else is succumbing to gravity. Great post, Perry.

Perry Block said...

I find that every force of nature is working negative upon me. Wind, rain, and Acts of God, as well as gravity. And what's even more fun is the unpredictability. You never know what part of you is going to go next. Good luck, Tom!

Gary Cohn said...

Good one, Perry! Nice Jethro Tull reference.

Perry Block said...

Thanks, Gary. Will it be okay to eye little girls with bad intent when I've shrunk to their size?

Russell said...

Maybe you'll be the Danny DeVito of Philadelphia.

I too have lost an inch or so. And no, I'm not talking about in the groin area. I wouldn't say I'm shrinking, rather gravity is pulling everything to my midsection. For every inch I lose in height, I gain five around the belly.

It's so depressing it makes me want to have another beer.

Perry Block said...

If I'd only lost an inch I'd still be a towering 5'9" and able to dunk a basketball into my trash can outside. But with my backbone turning into a hula hoop, I'll be looking up at Danny Devito before long and by then, it will decidedly not be sunny in Philadelphia!

RozWarren said...

Isn't it awful the way doctors can ruin your day with those pesky truthful remarks about your condition?

Perry Block said...

It really is true; there are many doctors who have no sense of propriety. I was once in an automobile accident in which my toe was broken (among other injuries). The doctor said to me "that's as smashed a toe as I have ever seen." Even my current physical therapist, a very nice young girl, said upon seeing my backbone "look at that!" And this doesn't even get into what the psychologists and therapists have said!