Big giant head


In Other News

The Outlaws

My mother-in-law is coming to visit for a week tomorrow. Oh boy.

I want to like her, really I do -- and in truth, I do, a little -- but she just makes it so damned difficult. She means well, she tried hard, she's got a good heart, but she ranks pretty high up on my list of really annoying people. She's one of those touchy-feely types, all huggy and kissy and... blech. I ain't like that. I'm like that Police song: Don't Stand So Close To Me. Cyndie (not a typo) obviously hasn't heard it.

Cyndie (or "Bubbe" now that she's a grandma) likes to hug you -- and won't let go. Where a normal hug lasts for, say, three seconds, hers last for ten. And nothing short of rudeness will cut it shorter. You give her the old "pat pat" on the back that normal people take to mean "Okay, we're done now," and she doesn't take the hint. You initiate separation and she just grips you tighter. You can even go limp and she'll just keep hugging you.

I was prepared to go on and on with a list of all the things I don't like about her, but as I was writing it I realized that, really, the main thing I don't like is the hugging (and the kissing, but I'm not even going into that). Well, and the trying too hard to be liked, but for me the touchy-feely is the big issue. If I can get past those things she's really pretty okay, and she loves Zoe to pieces so I gotta love her for that.

But still, she's coming to visit. For a week. Oh boy.

On the bright side, her visit finally gave us the impetus we needed to fix up the guest room. All the unpacked boxes we had stored in there are now out in the garage, we bought a new mattress for the bed (and that was fun to bring home with my bad back, lemme tell ya), and Beth got to go hog wild decorating it. She has instructed me to tell you that she finally got to decorate a room the way she wanted to without any input from me.

She's done quite a job on it. Frills as far as the eye can see. And now she's talking about painting it mint green, and putting a crackle finish on the dresser, and a flowery wallpaper border around the room, and matching Kleenex boxes, and on and on. If ever you've seen a girlie room, this is it.

Well, let me just say this: If Beth and I ever have a fight that ends with one of us sleeping in the guest room, you can be damned sure it won't be me. I'm secure enough with my masculinity to declare that there's no way in hell I'm sleeping in a girlie room like that.


Did Off Centered Nancy send ya? Go here.

Friday - 8/21/98
The Cracktopractor

The saga of the twitchy back continues. My visit to the cracktopractor didn't cure me, but it did help. I felt a little bit better after Wednesday's visit, briefly, but the pain was back with a vengeance by morning.

Getting cracked bordered on being a nerve-wracking experience. First of all, the waiting room was not, shall we say, plush. It was, in fact, a bit rundown, which doesn't tend to inspire confidence in whatever magic is spun in the nether regions. And for an office that specializes in adjusting one's back to optimum condition, I found the furniture extremely back un-friendly: a small, swaybacked loveseat with wilting cushions and a wicker chair in such a fragile state that I was afraid to sit on it. I opted for the loveseat and nearly threw my back out again getting out of it. The focal point of the room was a glass-front display case with a nervous-making array of circa 1950 medical implements: tonics, syringes, pamphlets, mallets, etc. I was concerned that perhaps it reflected the current state of the chiropractic field.

Then I got the usual first-visit stack of paperwork and found myself squarely in the 90's again. It was the standard boilerplate stuff you find in every doctor's office, with one disturbing exception. There was, buried deep within the medical history and financial information sheets, one question that leapt off the page and sapped my confidence even more: "Do you have an attorney?" What the hell kind of question is that when I'm about to have my neck twisted, my back assaulted, and generally surrender up my spinal column to someone who has a degree (I assume -- do they even have degrees?) in a science that's based on cracking your knuckles? Do I have a lawyer indeed. Why? Will I need one? But, pain being a great motivator, I threw caution to the winds and went ahead with the appointment.

To start with, they laid me out on a massage table with a heating pad that worked a roller up and down my spine for about ten minutes, and all I can say about that is: I gotta get me one of those. Then I was installed on a table/chair/couch/whatsit device that was disturbingly similar to the one in the movie Star 80, and the "doctor" proceeded to poke and prod at me and then, with no warning, damn near did a handstand on me. Pop-pop-pop! My spine crackled like a machine gun nest. She poked and prodded some more, did a bit more gymnastics, my spine rattled off a few more rounds, and she was done.

I got up gingerly, and damned if I didn't feel a bit better. My back still hurt, but it definitely felt a little looser, and the pain wasn't as intense as it had been. I wasn't sure it wasn't just a result of the heat and massage table, but getting cracked didn't seem to do any harm so I was inclined to think it did some good. I had second thoughts the next morning, when it was all I could do to stand up, let alone walk, but I had another appointment this afternoon that involved even more rigorous gymnastics and there's no question that I feel better now. It still aches a bit, and I can tell it's going to hurt again in the morning, but I think we can chalk up a win for the chiropractor anyway.

The proof is in the pudding: You're reading this, which means I'm working at the computer again.


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Copyright © 1998
Chuck Atkins