When I think back on some of the things I did to my body when I was younger — alcoholic binges, all-night poker games — I probably shouldn't be surprised that it's taking its revenge on me now when I'm most defenseless. Here are seven problems with my body that really make middle age a challenge.
After The Laughter Is Gone. There’s nothing more delightful than finding something so hilarious that you just descend into an uncontrollable paroxysm of laughter. Every so often, my wife and I will start dishing on someone or something and just fall into a state of uproariousness that won’t stop. The problem now is that, instead of laughing uncontrollably, I always end up coughing uncontrollably. That just hacks.
Back When My Back Was Young. I am astonished at how the slightest twist in the wrong direction can make my back not only twinge, but turn into some sort of spasm-inducing fiend bent on crumbling my evolutionary right to walk erect. When I was a teen-ager, there was a movie called Hot Rods To Hell. In it, Dana Andrews (on the downside of his career) played a man on a driving vacation with his family who was tormented by hot-rodders on the same highway. Whenever Andrews tried to take on the hoodlums, his back would go out. I thought it was a way-too-inconvenient device to keep the movie going; now I'm convinced it's just sadly true-to-life.
Overwhelming Underarms. Is it just me, or is my body odor worse now than when I was a teen-ager?
Midnight Runs. It's not getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom that bothers me; I actually find the preceding dreams about unsuccessfully searching for a urinal rather humorous in retrospect. No, it's the occasional inability to go back to sleep afterwards that I hate. At least now there are 100 DirecTV channels to entertain me, as opposed to test patterns and all-night talk radio when I was a kid.
Food, Wonderful Food. It is a cruel trick of nature that, once you reach the point where you can pretty much afford to eat whatever you want, there sits a roadblock. Whether it’s the threat of heartburn or the peril of prescription drug interaction (I want my grapefruit back, Lipitor!), I now have to be careful about what I eat and when I eat it.
No More Marathon Drives. After I graduated from college, I lived in Seattle for three years, but frequently visited friends in San Francisco. It was anywhere from an 18- to a 22-hour drive, and I used to be able to do that in one shot, only stopping for Coca-Cola, fast food, and gasoline. (Though this was after Starbucks was founded, it was before I had discovered coffee.) Now my stamina for long drives is so low (translation: my butt begins to hurt), I can’t even get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in one shot. If there were still double features at movie theatres, I wouldn’t be able to sit through them either.
To Caption It All Off. And speaking of movies, it’s all but impossible for me to go to movie theatres anymore. It's not just the idea of showing up on the movie theatre's schedule, listening to other people's conversations during the movie, not being able to pause it the way I can with a DVD or a DVR, or paying more for snacks that the actual admission. It's that I have become so accustomed to watching movies with the subtitles on to catch all the dialogue that I really can’t understand what the heck the characters are saying most of the time.
The really sad part is that I checked and found that none of the foregoing body parts are candidates for transplant surgery.