Playing With Pain

Instead of calling my girls “the four year old” or “the six year old”,  I think I’ll call them “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”, like in the Dr. Seuss book.  Thing 1 (T1) for the six year old and Thing 2 (T2) for the four-year-old.   I just tweaked my back as I was putting T2 in time out.  How shameful.  My wife says that coffee weakens the support muscles around the lower back. I’m looking for another cause that doesn’t require sacrifice.  I still think of myself as a vibrant extreme athlete but my body is telling me to reference Joe Namath’s new HBO documentary and recalibrate my expectations. Non-sense! I start chanting my anti-aging mantra:

“You’re only as young as you feel”,
“kids keep you young”
(and my favorite quote from Billy Crystal imitating Ricardo Manitoban)
“ it’s better to look good than to feel good”

I decide to think of my body as a house rehab project.  First I’ll start with the foundation (core), then the kitchen (abs), followed by the wings (arms and legs) and end up with the HVAC system (cardio).  I plan to do all this in 30 minutes.  I’ll go to the gym downstairs, crank some U2 through the earbuds and try to snag a elliptical machine in the fitness rush hour. So many people here today.  Pregnant woman with trainers, former Lehman Brother’s broker without trainers, an effeminate guy with American Apparel neon-ball-hugger disco shorts….you name it.  Everybody’s here. What a party I’ll been missing out on. I should have brushed my teeth.  I find an empty stationary bike  and start pumping the peddles.  It’s hard to focus.  Two of the pregnant woman are talking about hemorrhoids or something.  I turn the iPhone volume up to 11 to drown them out as I plow ahead… well as much as you can plow ahead on a stationary bike. I close my eyes and pretend I’m Lance Armstrong scaling the Pyrenees mountains as the military beat of “Pride in int Name of Love” marches forward with a defiant homage to MLK.  I’m inspired and I start to invent different moves to enact a full body workout.  Touchback stomach crunches, handlebar-push-up-tricep-burners, Side-to-side-oblique-rhythmic-strengtheners.  Now I’m putting them all together in one glorious choreographed total fitness sequence. I’m sweeting, breathing, moving, ascending.  I open my eyes and several people are staring at me but not in a good way.  More like pity. The way you might look at someone having a seizure.  Thank god my face is already red.  I sit down from the climb and slowly start my warm down.  My Lance fantasy is in shambles, although think it might be a good time to get a testicular cancer screening.  Back home T2 has reset and back to her cheerful self.  She’s home from Montessori school today because Montessori school has more days off than the Vice President. I actually think they recognize Maldivian Independence Day.  I’m ready for work and T2 is at the door ready to give me a goodbye hug.  Very sweet.  I hold my core tight and get a good bend in my legs as I cautiously start to lift her. She knees my in the nuts on the way up. My back tweaks again as I react to the pain of being racked.  She mistakes my acute wince as a funny face and starts to laugh.  If I put her her in time out for that we’ll never break this cycle.

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