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 things that 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. Kropotkin. 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. Kropotkin'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," Kropotkin offered casually. "Let's have a look at your back," said he, and I pulled off my shirt to comply.
"Extreme!" Kropotkin cried out.
If he was trying to ruin my weekend, Dr. Kropotkin 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.