My butt is killing me. I am sitting on a soft, throw pillow on my favorite easy chair, and, nevertheless, my butt is the primary source of my pain, a throbbing thump pulsating up and down my backside no matter how I angle my body. This is not good, believe me, and this is not supposed to happen when I’m on my favorite, overstuffed chair — what the hell is going on!
— Wait, give me a second…
…Ah, thank goodness for ibuprofen; the last round is wearing off… too soon, too soon…
My daughter, Helen, had her wisdom teeth pulled over the holidays. This fact, made in passing, has nothing to do with my badly-abused butt, but now, because of the pain in my posterior, I am contemplating slugging down her remaining oxycodone. The two tablets of ibuprofen I took a few minutes ago better kick in soon or it’s on to the heavier stuff.
— But, what if the oxycodone numbs my mouth rather than the ‘offending-object-of-my-attention’? I would hate to have my lips numb and my tongue lolling around, banging against my chin, while at the same time my butt is shooting electrical sparks up and down my back and side-to-side from cheek-to-cheek. “Can you tell me what’s wrong, son?” my old doctor would ask.
Listen, I’m not seeking sympathy, believe me, and this pain in my backside is not nearly the level of craziness requiring an ambulance crew running in to wheel me out in my easy chair, or, for that matter, undergoing major, extractive surgery with a team of surgeons removing my gluteus maximus, say, for a smaller (hopefully) and less painful gluteus maximus from a warm (I feel no pain) cadaver. No, my throbbing arse, I’m afraid, is purely the result of a running-thing, and this thing is killing me as surely as my wife’s arsenic snuck into my breakfast every morning.
Several months ago I decided to attempt a half-marathon… or so I said. Sometimes when I’m out on the road training, I think, I am not running at all, but emptying whatever fumes I have left in my old, rusted tank-of-a-chest. It’s like I’m composed of crumbling clay — if I glance back behind me, I will spot bits and pieces of me, like large clumps of dried mud, cluttered along my route. If I ran any slower, drivers passing by would think I am a living statue, a poorly-designed monument to weary, old men who get crazy notions of lost youth lodged in their heads. If I was on a theatrical stage, people would think I am a pantomime playing out the physical characteristics of a dubious long-distance runner, moving deliberately in the slow motion of exaggerated drudgery while remaining depressingly, forever, in one place. (Okay, got it, enough with the alliterations!)
Needless-to-say, this is not good. Not when the race I signed up for (and paid way too much money to participate in) has a fifteen-hour time-limit…
— ‘Wait a minute!’ you are saying probably. ‘What’s going on here? Have I missed something? Where’s our buddy, ‘Pudgy Me’? When did ‘The Pudge-Man’ start running and… and, when are you going to tell us how you lost all that weight?’
To be honest, I never set out to lose any weight. Then, again, once you learn more about the kind of guy I am, you will discover I never set out to do anything.
I was on my easy chair — yes, the very same, overstuffed, easy chair in which I now am suffering in agony. About two-or-so years ago I went out and purchased my chair at a second-hand store (much to my wife’s dismay), jammed it on its side into the back of my old jeep, and drove home, carrying it into the house by myself, grunting and groaning every inch of the way, precisely so I could sit on it with my blossoming posterior, precisely so I could watch the channels on tv I wanted to watch, and, most importantly, precisely so I could sleep in peace.
Until then, if I was on the couch in the other room, and I fell asleep while watching the evening news, say, my wife would lean over and poke me hard in the side, admonishing me, “Hey, wake up, you old kook, you’re missing the news!” Her finger knew every time exactly where to find my diaphragm!
— ‘Ugh! I can’t breathe! What’s going on? Where am I? Have the British landed?’
Almost immediately upon bringing my chair into the house, it became a marriage savior and, ultimately, kept you-know-who from being strapped down onto another chair. My chair had the one essential feature necessary to become a beloved member of my house — a foot rest! Pull back the bar by the side of the chair and an-ever-so-cool footpad plops up with a soft thump to nestle under my woefully- inadequate, well-worn, run-damaged feet. It’s heaven, I swear! I can be asleep in seconds, and, just as significantly, I’m not gasping for breath minutes later for missing, of all things, the evening news! Since I bought my chair and brought it into my life, we have become true-blue, bosom buddies.
My dastardly daughter — what a pain she can be — pulled me up and out of my restful roost.
Nearly two years ago in June, Helen came home from college to work for the summer. The job she found required that she sit at a computer all day and enter data. It wasn’t long before this exercise-in-adulthood started driving her crazy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my fate was sealed when I signed her up at our gym so she could work-out after work. If truth be told, we never should have mentioned our gym to her! In fact, actually joining that damn gym, to begin with, was a stupid idea; I don’t think my wife, Karen, and I ever went enough to get our money’s worth. However, the facility was nearby and exercise was one of those things we did when Karen decided we simply needed to do something, once and for all, about our weight. She would get all antsy and, soon enough, we both would suffer. After a couple of visits — me walking along on a ridiculous treadmill that, it turned out, went nowhere (!) and Karen struggling on an elliptical thing-a-ma-jig — our enthusiasm would wane, and we would return to the endless nights of tv news and the too-close-for-comfort embrace of our confining couch.
‘Sputtering’ I guess, is how you would describe it. We were sputtering along, fat as whales — and me, now that I could hear my new easy chair welcoming me the moment I entered the house (‘Hey, big fella! You’re home!’), I was in complete denial. I truly felt I had solved my one-and-only immediate problem: gaining separation from my wife and her diabolical finger. I put a stool next to my new chair, plopped a beer on top it, grabbed the tv gun, and was good to go! Asleep in seconds! Had I gone to the doctor, say, for a physical, I am sure, I would have discovered I was experiencing all the health issues that come with age — obesity, diabetes, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol levels — you know, the things we expect to experience as we get older and, if truth be told, are oh-so boring.
I guess, I never really thought about the implications, or, rather, in this age of media overkill, I guess, I was sleeping when these particular health segments came on the news. Of course, none of our friends bothered to mention our burgeoning weight, and, to be honest, Karen and I simply didn’t talk to each other about our deteriorating health. I suppose, looking back, I was heading for a heart attack, stroke, or some strange, debilitating disease as a result of my unwholesome weight. But, so what. Wasn’t this the badge of honor for being nearly sixty, middle class, and experiencing all the joys life has to offer?