I remember that the most scandalous part of sixth grade was a day where the school counselor herded all the girls into the school cafeteria. We all had heard rumors from the older girls about this day and we knew we were going to hear about something *important*, something that obviously the boys couldn’t handle learning about. What followed was….prepubescent Fight Club. I can’t talk about it. Let’s just say I never knew the wonder of ___________ and how my body would _______ and even though there is pain ___________ there is also _______ and _______ and horseback riding and running on a beach! (edited for content. Penalties for sharing classified information is harsh).
While I appreciated this heads up on the
horror joy of womanhood that was coming my way, it also set me up for great disappointment that every major life change wasn’t preceded by a film starring “Karen” and “Karen’s mom”. It would have been nice of Karen’s mom to let me know that first kisses may feel like getting my face swallowed by a hyperactive octopus, or that I probably wouldn’t be getting a black Trans-Am OR Jake Ryan for my sixteenth birthday. But what I really needed was a warning that once you turn 35, your warranty runs out and you begin to visit doctors that you didn’t even know existed.
I recently went to a back doctor for some chronic lower back pain, and he sent me to a physical therapist. I’m not exactly sure what I thought would happen, but since most of my expectations come from Lifetime movies, I thought it would be much more exciting than it was. Quite frankly, it was kind of boring. First they hooked me up to some kind of machine and stuck these stickers to my back. I waited for them to scream “CLEAR!” and shock me, but she just calmly turned the machine on and walked away. I kept waiting…and waiting…thinking any second now I’m going to feel something, but after a while, she came back over and turned it off. After this, I sat on a table and she instructed me to do some crazy difficult exercises like “point your toes” and “touch your nose”. I looked around, expecting to see a former Olympian fighting to recover from running injuries, or someone learning to walk again after throwing themselves in front of a car to save a child. I thought I would hear shouts of “I can’t do it! I just can’t!” and “You MUST DO IT! Come on, WALK!” Instead I saw this old guy squatting and grunting.
The next time I went, they had me lie on this table that had rollers underneath it and it would roll up and down my back. Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, it would have been if there wasn’t another table three inches away with the squatting grunting man on it. He wasn’t squatting on the table. That would be weird. But old squatting grunting guy lying on a table was just as awkward.
Me-“So. Back pain, huh?”
Me- “Yeah. I hear you.” (awkward silence…then I turn my head to come face to extremely close face with him) “Well. This is a little awkward, right?”
After this I saw the doctor. Or “doctor” as I am not completely convinced it wasn’t some homeless guy dressing up in a white lab coat. His main advice to me was “Here’s some muscle relaxers. If you take them, they will knock you out, so instead of taking a pill, just crush them up and all day long, you can dip your finger in the powder and just take a little, as you need it.”
Do I look like Doc Holiday??
You have failed me, Karen’s mom. I’m kicking you out of the Fight Club.
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