In Sidney Lumet’s classic “The Hill,” a sadistic sergeant at a British military prison forces inmates to repeatedly climb a massive mound of sand under the blazing North African sun.
I know just how those guys felt.
All right, perhaps I’m overdoing it a little bit, but my never-ending back trouble has warped my sense of proportion.
I went to see a new chiropractor on Monday in an effort to relieve this agony and she told me that I have to do a series of 10-minute walks every day with an ice pack pressed against my spine.
“Don’t lie down,” she said. “You have to walk.”
Ten minutes may not sound very long, but when every step is drop dead painful, time stands still, grabs its crotch, and blows raspberries in your face.
Don’t look at the clock, I tell myself, don’t look at the clock...
Well, of course I’m going to look at the goddamn clock. It’s impossible not to. And I still haven’t been able to go the distance as the anguish forces me to pull up a seat every few minutes. Ducks in a shooting gallery move faster than I do.
It seems ironic that while we celebrate our nation’s birth I’m limping around like one of the guys from The Spirit of ’76.
I wish I could report some improvement in my condition, but it still hurts like a bastard. If I had a dollar for every time I dropped the f-bomb in the last few days I could buy a new spine.
It’s gotten so bad I’ve taken to inventing my own obscenities. When I got back from the chiropractor I was in so much pain that I actually slid to the floor of my apartment the moment I got inside.
“Fuck!” I wailed up to the ceiling. “Fuck-a-nola!”
Fuck-a-nola? I have no absolutely no idea what that means. It sounds like a small town in Wisconsin or a college fight song. Only I don’t have much fight left in me.
It’s hard to believe that less than a week ago I was thinking about taking a bike tour on Long Island. I guess I should be thankful for holding off, since I would’ve been forced to pull the plug. But right now I’m not feeling the gratitude. I’m just pissed.
I keep hearing references on the radio to the High Line and Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, both of which I’d love to see and both of which are completely out of the question—along with just about everything else I’d like to see or do.
I’ve been working from home, but I honestly don’t like it. As much as I loathe commuting, I’d rather be at the office and talking with my co-workers face-to-face instead of shooting emails back and forth.
I feel like I’m under house arrest, except instead of having an electronic bracelet around my ankle I'm bound by pain. The weather reports keep talking about the humidity and warm temperatures, but there could be snowdrifts up to my windows for all I care.
I hear children playing out in the street, people greeting each other, actually doing things. Me? I’m the Mayor of Fuck-a-nola.
The chiropractor is actually open tomorrow, so while normal people are firing up their barbecues, I’ll be having my hips realigned in order to firm a more perfect union.
Now it’s time for another forced march.
Happy Independence Day…