June 5, 2016

I Have Become Fragile

I spent the majority of this lovely Sunday in a considerable amount of pain. I don’t mean the low-grade constant aching kind either, I had sharp shooting pain in my both my wrists, occasional spasms in my lower back, and the tendon or muscle or whatever it is that attaches my right wrist to the elbow was pretty painful too, not to mention the muscle just behind the elbow bone, we think it is called the tricep, but really what do we know.

The elbow pain was the most constant, especially when I opened drawers, started the car or even got off the couch- where coincidentally I spent a lot of time on today, inspite of Mairin's occasional glares and eye rolls. I tried to be useful and productive, but I felt like a marionette who had been split apart and haphazardly put back together- every joint tender and slightly askew.

What may you ask caused this level of discomfort? The answer to this question is the most painful aspect of this story. My body is quickly becoming older than my mind.

I spent so much of my youth taking my body for granted, and now that I am well into my fortieth decade, now that my mind and spirit are wise and nimble and eager for life, now that I am starting to understand and appreciate my own mortality, now that I might be thinking about the early stages of onset middle-life crisis, my body has chosen to become not the temple I was promised, but more like a geriatric ward of some decrepit and ignored hospital.

I have become fragile.

I went skating with Kaia this morning and while she was having her lesson, I was swimming in my own sweat in the bowl practicing pumping and carving up the low-grade sides of the pool. I was super careful not to push myself too hard or ride too fast or go too high. I skated like a timid old man who was afraid of getting hurt. Lots of slow repetitive up, turn and back down the ramp. Nothing fancy. Nothing reckless. Nothing stupid.

But even when you are skating like this you fall. I tumbled a few times. Nothing major. I had a helmet, elbow and knee pads and I landed on them each time I fell, which wasn’t too often and I was never going too fast. I don’t even remember a specific fall that could have caused the pain I am still feeling as I type these words twelve hours later.

I am hoping that my some miracle I wake up tomorrow and a night’s rest will have cured all my aches. That somehow in the night a better puppet master will put me back together properly, but the reality is that my body will only be getting worse and more frail and enfeebled. Now, that I am finally ready to use it to run half-marathons and do body pump and skate in a bowl, I have to be worried that the slightest mistake can cause serious injury.

All this talk of degradation has got me down. I know I am still young and I have time, but it’s a stark wake-up call to realize that forty years have passed and the time you have got left is less than time you have already had. You are on a downward slope. You have reached peak life. The realization that your life may have reached climax and your story is on the falling actin side of the plot line is a sobering fact.

I just hope the pain goes away by Wednesday because I want to get back to the park and practice my moves. I actually felt pretty good out there today.

The rest of the day, as I mentioned above, was pretty chill. We went for a swim. The girls did some baking. I read on the couch, fell in and out of a few naps and got take-away sushi for dinner. There were a few times when I thought that I should try and sneak in a few mentor comments, but then I convinced myself that it was Sunday, my day of rest and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for resting. Even now, as I type this and wait for Skye to fall asleep, I am in intense negotiation with myself to try and write at least three, two, one comment to give me a jump on the week, but did I mentioned the pain? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just crawl into bed and read some more? Early bed time? Ready for the week? Give my bones time to heal?

It will be a game time call whether or not I write a few or not. As of now, it is too close to make the call.

“Daddy, why are they called The X-Men? I mean shouldn’t they be called The X-People? There are lots of mutants that are girls or women. It just doesn’t make sense to call them all X-Men. And why do most of the women always have such big boobs? Why can’t they just be regular?” Kaia.

Looks like someone is already exploring sexist comic book tropes. I wonder if I should start preparing her for the abuse she will face if she ever makes these thoughts public, or just let her question and think without the glaring abuse of sad pathetic Internet trolls.

I didn’t say anything about Mohammad Ali yesterday, but he has been on my mind. What can I say that millions of people armed with his quotes and their memes won’t say in the coming weeks?

I was not a super fan, but I knew enough to know that he was one of the bravest revolutionaries this country has ever know. I saw the films and read the books and articles and pumped my fists at his quotes and quips and assaults on the hypocrisy of the American empire. He was not only a boxing champion, but a true champion of the people. There has never been and there will never be another person like Mohammad Ali.

I am sure he was and will be many thing for many people, but I hope in our enthusiasm to celebrate his life, we do not white-wash his brash, in-your-face, activist spirit. Kind of sad to think that while so many people in the media are celebrating his life, if he were a young, black, outspoken athlete in today’s Trump America, he would be just as hated if not more so than he was in the sixties.

Anyway…celebrate his life and his ideals. Post pictures of his victories, because he was so pretty, but do not forget that his biggest match was against the imperial systematic racist side of America, and this is a match that is still being fought by African-Americans today.

For you Ari. I know how deeply you loved him.

I jammed a lot in this one. Give it more than a like. Engage, leave a comment. Connect.


  1. I know that "my body is failing me shall I order a coffin soon" feeling. Aches of things that never ached. Maybe turn it around, it's not that your body package is getting less fragile, it's than in the past it had an over abundance of ability to absorb and ignore its limitations. Now it's communicating to you to be smarter. They very stuff you are doing- running, skating are things, that if done regularly rather than eating junk food on the couch, will give you a long life run.

    Denial is easier than acceptance. When I ran, I was surprised to learn that coach Dave, who had a body ripped out of a runners catalog, did not even start marathons til he retired.

    But hey, if you need help digging the grave, I have a shovel ;-)

    It might not be the same, but I started getting the shooting wrist pan, numb hands, mostly after doing work like painting/sanding or digging graves-- I mean digging in the garden. A few people suggested it as nerves getting punched. It will jolt me awake at 4am, always 4 bleeping AM. I have found ibuprofen and ice helps, as well as trying to shift the side I sleep on.

    Even with body pain, you are on the death slide only if you act like it. My recent questionable insight while walking and mulling something similar is that people die when they stop living. Duh right? But don't stop living (or writing) ok?

  2. Fear not Alan, no one is stopping living. Just doing some moaning and reflecting. I will be back in that bowl as soon as I can, and there is a half-marathon to try and run in around 2 hours.

    Thanks for your constant support, reading and commenting.