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 messed up things about my existence on Earth have interfered with my love life. But as I’ve aged something has changed.
That is, I'm getting shorter. A lot shorter.
It began eight years ago when people started telling me to stand up straight.
"I am standing up straight!" I would protest.
"I don't know," they’d respond, "but I don't think standing up straight involves your chin getting up close and personal with your belt buckle.”
Then I began to hear something even more disturbing.
"Perry, are you getting shorter?" people would ask. "Because I’ve been noticing you're no higher than my coffee table."
Though I hoped they owned a coffee table so tall that LeBron James would bump his head on it, I suspected that this was not the case. So I finally went to see Dr. Simpkin, the orthopedist.
The office assistant took my height and weight.
"Five foot seven," she announced.
"Five foot seven! Wait a minute. 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 curves like the Indianapolis Speedway, your posture will get worse and you will get way shorter," he said casually.
If he was trying to ruin my weekend, there’s no question that he succeeded.
"Let's have a look at your back,” he said. I pulled off my shirt.
"Extreme!" he exclaimed.
The good doctor sent me off to Tiffany, the physical therapist. "May I check the curvature of your spine?" she asked.
I nodded. She ran her hand down my back.
"Extreme!" shouted Tiffany.
Apparently my spinal column has been designed by Zorro.
After Tiffany calmed down, she recommended physical therapy and yoga.
I have also developed a few techniques of my own. I imagine I’m walking with a book on my head, imagine I'm reading the book if it’s about posture, and practice my own patented Jack Benny walk.
None of this will straighten my backbone nor make me taller, but they may halt or at least slow the condition’s progression.
So I will do it all religiously because I do not want a back shaped like the world’s largest question mark and I don’t look forward to the day when pint-sized comedian Kevin Hart starts calling me "squirt."
Ah, yes, the joys of aging. Whereas I'm not melting, Perry, everything else is succumbing to gravity. Great post, Perry.
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!
Good one, Perry! Nice Jethro Tull reference.
Thanks, Gary. Will it be okay to eye little girls with bad intent when I've shrunk to their size?
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.
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!
Isn't it awful the way doctors can ruin your day with those pesky truthful remarks about your condition?
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!
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