Any of you reading this are lucky I wasn’t keeping a blog in late 2000 or early 2001 not only would you have to endure daily rants about the suck-assitude of That Internet Job, but I would have waxed philosophic about my back pain, which I raised to almost biblical metaphor. Before my injury, I used to think back pain was mostly bullshit, probably stemming from this one particular All in the Family episode where Archie fakes an old army injury in order to get out of a pool game. Suffice to say I learned my lesson on that one, having spent the better part of a year in unabating agony, trying everything from steroid pills to acupuncture in a futile quest for relief. Two things healed me: time, and a few Pilates exercises that Jessica Arinella showed me. But mostly time.
Occasionally, I’ll have a few bad days, and this is one of them I went on a bike ride with Tessa through Prospect Park, and spent the rest of the night wishing I could jab a fork in my kidney just to give me something else to think about. But in the bathroom, just before sitting down to write this, I had an epiphany.
One of our running jokes is my alter-ego High Maintenance Boy, a superhero who can’t get through the day without Afrin, lactose-intolerance pills, Celexa and a white-noise maker. He’s comes chock-full of prerequisites, to be sure, but he’s also a very good-mannered superhero that brings empathy to any crime situation. I think I’m closer to that joke than I had realized, and tonight I gave myself license to understand one thing: I have a lower tolerance for pain than most people. Now this is the kind of thing that brings easy judgement; nobody wants to be around a fucking whiner. But if you truly accept that you just feel shittier than most people most of the time, you can take an incredible amount of heat off yourself.
My heat? The fear that I will become complacent if I start acting old. I want to want to get drunk, but the fact is, it just makes me exhausted and gives me acid reflux. I’m only telling you, the blog, because we’re not out drinking (if we were, I’d be dancing and singing and whipping out bon mots by the basketful) but secretly, I’d be fucking tired and craving two Zantacs.
But if you accept that you are indeed High Maintenance Boy, then you can say “well, it’s obvious. I’m getting older and things hurt me now, and it’s okay to avoid them without losing my pissed-off youthful integrity.” It also means that you are free from deciding whether or not to exercise: you must, because growing old and fat and creaky is simply not an option. You HAVE to stay relatively skinny and limber, because life after 40 is one god-damned disease after another, and High Maintenance Boy will be on permanent duty.
So tonight, I accept my position in life and understand what is laid out before me. I will hurt all the time unless I take steps not to hurt. I am thankful for my many needs, as they release me from the burden of choice! God Bless You, High Maintenance Boy!